How can we learn from Caster Semenya? Imagine the possibility of taking a sneak peek through the looking glass of your little girl’s future… not to see what she might become, what career path she may choose to follow, or who she may choose to love and share life with… but to anticipate some of the struggles and challenges she will face, some of the criticism she will endure, some of the opposition she will confront.
Now take that little girl, with all her fanciful dreams and unbridled aspirations, and tell her about these struggles, challenges, criticism and opposition you’ve seen (for these things will surely come!). But what would you want her to leave that conversation with? What would you as a parent tell your little girl at the end of such a conversation? In my opinion, one name: Mokgadi Caster Semenya.
I would tell her about this beautiful and strong woman who grew up in a small Limpopo village and dreamed of becoming a soccer star, but discovered along the way that she was a good runner…a great runner!
I would tell my little girl To Be Brave like Caster; who dared to challenge the position of the most
powerful institution in her chosen world of athletics – the mighty IAAF. She stood her ground. Sure,
Caster may have lost her most recent battle in the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but she had the
courage to face an opposition with much more political clout and financial resource than herself. And she’s still standing!
I would tell my little girl To Be True To Herself like Caster; who knows her identity and claims it with grace, regardless of what others might tell her. Emerging from the clamouring noise of experts and scientists and lawyers arguing about what she is, Caster speaks with an unquivering voice of who she is. She is woman, beautiful and strong (and perhaps that’s what frightens some the most?).
I would tell my little girl To Run Hard And Fast like Caster; who did not allow others to shame her
into being a lesser version of herself. The louder the voices began to scream that she shouldn’t run, the faster she ran, and the further those voices fell behind. She has stood bravely at the starting line of every race and given 100 per cent of herself. She has held her head high and continued to excel.
When opposition comes, as it will, I want my little girls to learn from a woman who has faced
opposition with courage and grace, stayed true to herself, and run as hard and fast as she could. Thank you, Caster, for showing my little girls how to face struggle and opposition.