Sunday 16 April 2017

Does Transformation have a place in esports?

There a a few gamers that have questioned whether transformation has a place in esports. The arguments largely revolve around esports being a 'new' sport that has only really developed in the post 1994 South Africa.

Such arguments do not take into account the legacy left by the Apartheid state which has an effect on current, and possibly even, future generations.

It is difficult for people who were born into advantaged and entitled families to truly understand the damage that Apartheid did.

Apartheid was in itself the ultimate expression of entitlement.

Transformation refers to each and every component element of South African society, including sport and all its sub structures.

According to the Province of KwaZulu-Natal Department of Sport and Recreation, "There are three categories of people in the South African society that have to be recognised, acknowledged and brought on board in the transformation process: 

  • Those with both feet positioned in the past and who view current processes to change and adapt South African society as intrusive, unproductive and discriminatory in nature.
  • Those who have one foot in the past and another hesitantly positioned in the future. They are generally uncertain, unsure, apprehensive and sometimes perplexed about the shape of the country’s longer term future.
  • Those who have both feet firmly planted in the future some of whom who are actively engaged in dealing with the problems challenging South African society. A momentous task considering some of the structural deficiencies, relatively inexperienced and untested human resource base and sometimes deficient support structures in place."
It is true that transformation in every sporting code is a subject that has been debated at length ever since South Africa became a democracy in 1994. 

Change has to take place from the ground up for there to be any meaningful changes at the top, and that means that it has to start at school level. 

Since 1994 efforts to ‘transform’ in various sports has been largely unsuccessful. In its attempts to ‘transform’ and re-invent itself the concept of ‘transformation’ and the motivations for and against the need thereof have been oversimplified, often emotional, not clear and sometimes misunderstood.

What is clear though, is that transformation is needed in order to unlock the full potential in South African gaming. 

Federations like Mind Sports South Africa have taken a very different approach. The MSSA is active in enabling the formation of clubs (especially at school level) that will cater for the majority of South Africa's population, and have active policies to promote a more sustainable form of development. The MSSA too has come out strongly against the imposition of quotas in the belief that the attempt to force quotas is actually illegal.

After all, 
transformation in sport is dependent on transformation in the economy.

It is not possible to get volunteers where people do not have enough money to feed themselves. Nor is it possible to get people to play games when they lack the basic infrastructure, and also lack the equipment that they need to play.

Unfortunately, most South Africans are born into poverty. 

With high figures of unemployment, transformation requires an active mentor system by ALL.

Every clan and club should be concerned with transformation. Of course it can all be funded at club level by the National Lottery.

The biggest problem is, quite frankly, that if we do not see it as all of our duty, it may not be long before the rules change, and a form of transformation is thrust upon the gaming community.

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