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Getting to Know … Zola Starke

In the next of our “Getting To Know Your SASCA Sports Coaches” series, we chat to netball’s Zola Starke who celebrates her birthday on 6 September. Here she tells us a little more about herself.

Who are your role model(s) in the sport? Have you ever met him/her?
Anneline Lewis, Director for Coaches in Netball South Africa. I met Anneline in 2012 and she changed my life and those of many netball coaches that I know in South Africa. 

What is your most memorable personal sporting moment?
When I officially launched the Lady Starke Academy in 2014. It was the best day of my life and having the support of KZN Netball, NSA and my community has been a huge blessing. The Academy continues to influence so many people’s lives. It is very dear to me. ALSO … When I was selected to be the Assistant Coach for the North West Flames and got to work alongside Dr Elsje Jordaan. I have a lot of respect for Dr J. She proved to me that not everything you see and hear about people should be taken at face value. 

What is your most memorable other sporting moment that doesn’t involve you?
Watching Bafana Bafana win the match against France in 2010 and watching the Springboks win the Rugby World Cup in 2019 and watching our Spar Proteas tackle the Netball World Cup like true professionals in 2019. Those moments make me so proud to be a South African. I cry every single time South Africans bond in that special way.

In terms of your travels, what has been your favourite city and why?
I enjoyed my UK tour because in London I got to visit the Copper Box Arena where the London 2012 Olympic Netball Games were staged and also Chichester because I attended a brilliant conference for Women in Sport and got to hang out with the most outstanding female change-makers in sport from across the globe. I also met Dr Anita White. An institution when it comes to advocacy for women in sport. A true blessing. 

Where in South Africa do you live?
I live in Eshowe. It’s a small rural town in Zululand, North of KwaZulu-Natal. I love it there.

What is your favourite app on your phone?
I’m not an app fan but Sign Easy has been very useful recently. 

What is your favourite TV show?
I have never owned a TV but I watch stuff on other devices and I laughed out loud so many times when watching some episodes of Steve Harvey’s Family Feud in South Africa. Hilarious. I want to laugh like that all the time!

What else do you do outside of sports coaching, ie, what’s your “day job”?
I am a Life Orientation specialist … and I also teach English. I absolutely love being a High School teacher. It is all of the emotions every single day. But you never know which emotion will hit you first so there’s that…

Is there anything that you’ve done in lockdown that you will continue doing permanently from now on?
Yes. Learning to use my smart device more. It is a daunting task for many people my age and older but I’m happy to report, it can be done! As Mary J Blige would sing. “I’m the living proof!”

Finish the sentence. My sport is the best because …
It makes me absolutely HAPPY!

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