Wednesday 29 January 2014

Racism in SA gaming

In a recent article on “Lazygamer” titled “Racism continues in the local DOTA 2 scene” (, the real issues of South African gaming are becoming more and more evident.

When going to LANs and watching games streamed online, it is apparent that very few PC gamers in South Africa represent the majority of the population.

It is a country that had its first free-and-fair elections in 1994. SA has a total population of 51 million where less than 5 million inhabitants are of European descent. (

Also, it is rumoured that less than 10% of all South Africans actually have access to a computer.

So when you look at it, very few South Africans even have the ability to play online computer games.

Yet, when I wrote an article on transformation in eSports, I get insulted by a number of so-called gamers.

Then there is this article on “Lazygamer”. It is really disgusting that such a small minority can still have such entrenched racist ideas against the majority of South Africans.

While the article suggests that the gamers in question should be named and shamed, the article does not say who should do it.

Also, can we actually rely on people to actually do this? After all, these people are playing already, so are not all of the people who play with them also complicit?

To rid ourselves of the problem, there has to be a total transformation of gaming in South Africa, and for some, it seems that it should be forced...

Monday 27 January 2014

Sport and the SA elections!

Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Helen Zille revealed a surprise in Ricardo McKenzie, Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula's private secretary, as a candidate.

Of course the Minister of Sport and Recreation (Fikile Mbabula) publicly attacked him on television by labelling him all sort of names and thus trying to cast doubt onto his abilities.

Of course, Fikile Mbabula is also the Minister, who so harshly and publicly, criticised the South African national football team (Bafana Bafana).

It is well known in sporting circles that Ricardo McKenzie is indeed a more than efficient administrator.
Certainly, Ricardo was instrumental, from what I am lead to believe, in sorting out the difficulties that existed between Mind Sports South Africa and the Department of Sport and Recreation.

It thus seems then, that the Minister's objections are solely based on the fact that Ricardo McKenzie dared to affiliate himself to a political party other than the ANC.

Eish! How dare McKenzie do such a thing!

I wonder if the Minister has heard of the concept of Freedom of Association?

Tuesday 21 January 2014

"A bunch of losers"

The South African Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula has branded the national football team as "a bunch of losers" following their first round exit in the CAF African Nations Championship. (source –

To me this seems to be a little petulant, and in my opinion the Minister only has himself to blame.

For years the Ministry has poured monies into football – even at times when South Africa can least afford it. As a result SA hosted the 2010 World Cup, the African Cup of Nations, and now the CAF African Nations Championship.

To host these events, SA has often had to improve national infrastructure such as roads and TV.

What has that got us? The upgrading of the roads for 2010 is what brought about e-tolling! Great!

Thus billions have been spent on football with very little return.

Instead of pumping just a fraction of the money spent on football, it could have been put into upgrading the internet which would have had far greater long-term benefits as well as creating greater coverage than ever received by football.

Sunday 19 January 2014

PandaTank quits professional gaming

Sadly we have all seen the posts where Robert 'PandaTank' Botha has stated his resignation from gaming.

Who will ever forget PandaTank's stellar performances as part of the MSSA's official Protea eSports Team at the 2011 and 2012 IeSF World Championships as well as at the Test match between Silviu 'NightEnd' Lazar and himself in March 2013 in Johannesburg? PandaTank did much to inspire many gamers, but his star did seem to wane a little in 2013.

Seemingly the main reason given on his page is “being a professional gamer in South Africa isn't a sustainable career.” (

But let us look at this statement, how true is it?

Is it that South African gamers have expectations that do not meet reality?

Is it that South African gamers are not prepared to put in the work that makes a professional gamer?

Certainly to be a professional gamer you need to be absolutely dedicated to the game, practice every single day, and play in as many LAN championships as possible.

Yes, you read right, you have to play as many LAN championships as possible.

With the major international competitions being LAN's gamers have to leave the confort of playing online in their comfortable bedrooms to play in the busy, noisy, hectic LANs where schedules of play override the gamer, and every gamer is just another competitor.

But more than that, the professional has to learn time management. The professional becomes a spokesperson for the company sponsoring him/her, and has to be available at all times to promote the company and to further enhance the face of gaming. Thus being a professional means that the gamer becomes a mini celebrity, signs autographs, does public appearances and must be available to the masses when in public.

In other words, a professional gamer is no different toa professional in any other sport!

So then, is professional gaming really not a sustainable career?

The answer is simply that it can be sustainable, but with conditions.

The most important condition is that gaming is NOT a long term career. The gaming career is very short, and must be used as a stepping-stone to other careers that are more long-term.

Many gamers in Europe go from being players through to team managers and may even end up as team owners.

Not only that, but sponsorships are vital.

The only way that a company is going to sponsor is if they are getting a return. All companies are looking for increased sales. If the sponsorship will not lead to greater brand awareness, there will be no sponsorship.

But, this all needs to be properly managed.
And how is this done?

Simply, there are many professional sports agents – go to them. The sports agents understand the marketplace and the value of cold, hard cash. Although the sports agent will take a cut, the agent will help the gamer get the best possible deal.

So, in conclusion, professional gaming can be sustainable.

It must be remembered that PandaTank was a trailblazer. He was the first true professional gamer in South Africa. Because he did not maintain a long sustainable professional gaming career in South Africa does not mean that other will not!

We should all learn from PandaTank's experiences to see what should be done, what can be done, and what must be done....

Maybe PandaTank should arrange some lectures on the ins-and-outs of professional gaming.

I know that I would pay to hear him speak!

Thursday 2 January 2014

Simphiwe Maphumulo elected as MSSA president!

Incredibly only after 19 years of democracy in South Africa, has the MSSA elected in its first black president at its Annual general Meeting held on Sunday, 8 December 2013.

The funny thing is that there are bloggers out there that consider the election of Simphiwe Maphumulo as president to be less than democratic..... One can only laugh!

But who is Simphiwe, and what is his pedigree?

Simphiwe, who comes from Pietermaritzburg, has been a continuously registered player since 2001. Not only that, but Simphiwe has won many Provincial and National Championships in the game of Morabaraba.

But Simphiwe is not just a local champion. According to the MSSA's facebook page (, Simphiwe has also won the following international championships:
  • 2003 Junior World Championships
  • 2003 Senior World Championships
  • 2012 Senior World Championships
  • 2013 Senior World Championships

Simphiwe was too awarded the S A Sports Awards Indigenous Sports Star of the Year Award, and reputedly walked away with a substantial cheque. The award was given by the Hon. Fikile Mbabula (Minister of Sport and Recreation). (

It also seems as though SASCOC is happy with the choice that the MSSA's member clubs have made. In a recent posting made on the MSSA facebook page, it is reported that SASCOC president, Mr Gideon Sam stated:

"Please pass on to Simphiwe my personal congratulations on his election to be the president of MSSA. I look forward to a strong and lengthy relationship with him."

SASCOC is of course THE governing body for sport in South Africa. It is the body that selects teams for the Olympic Games, Paralympic Games, Commonwealth Games, African Games and others.

Thus, it seems as though the MSSA will have a great 2014!