Psychology student who “fell in love instantly” with basketball in grade five, wants the official structures to do more for women’s basketball. 

A Wits master’s student, who has experience playing and coaching basketball at the university, is hoping to grow women’s basketball in the country through an organisation launched in 2020.  

Nompumelelo “Mpumi” Ramatsoga (33) briefly played basketball for Wits and was the men’s first team assistant coach from 2013 to 2017. In 2020 she was one of the founding members of the South African Women’s Basketball Association (Sawba), an organisation that promotes women’s basketball, and is currently the organisation’s chairperson.  

Her journey at Wits started as an occasional student doing psychology modules from 2016 to 2017 followed by an honours in 2019. In 2020 she started a master’s in psychology, researching homophobia in women’s basketball in South Africa.  

She has enjoyed her learning experience at Wits saying the “lecturers are of a high calibre”. Ramatsoga said the master’s course in community psychology and social justice moulded her and helped her “engage with communities”. This essentially laid the foundations for her to start Sawba. 


Mpumi Ramatsoga (standing second from the left), the assistant coach for the Wits Bucks (men’s first team), celebrating with the team when they won Varsity Cup in 2018. Photo: Supplied by Mpumi Ramatsoga 

Furthermore, Ramatsoga was frustrated with women’s basketball in South Africa because of the lack of attention and promotion it got from Basketball South Africa (BSA). “There are not enough women’s voices in the sport,” she said. Various women in basketball formed Sawba to hopefully make an impact for “the next generation” of women as well as those playing now. 

The organisation, which has roughly 500 members across the country, now hosts regular 3×3 ladies tournaments (three players per team as opposed to the standard five) consisting of basketball clubs from around Johannesburg and an under-18 girls basketball camp in the Western Cape.  

Ramatsoga says one of her greatest achievements is officially having Sawba up and running and “creating [basketball] spaces for women”.  

FEATURED IMAGE: Nompumelelo “Mpumi” Ramatsoga, the chairperson of the South African Women’s Basketball Association. Photo supplied by Mpumi Ramatsoga