Bongiwe Msomi is a 34-year-old netball player from South Africa, who has had an incredibly successful international career, even though netball wasn’t even on her radar until she was 16.
Now Netball Manager and Coach at University of Johannesburg, Bongiwe grew up with her seven siblings in Hammarsdale. Her childhood home didn’t have running water or electricity so, along with her brothers and sisters, she would walk every day to collect water and firewood for cooking, washing, and cleaning.
Her netball journey began in 2004. She watched from the side-lines as her friends trained, until one day, they were a player short. Bongiwe filled the space so her friends could play a proper game. After the practise, the coach, Sithembiso Mncwabe, asked her to return to train the following week; he also provided a kit for her as she didn’t have anything suitable.
The following year, Bongiwe was chosen to represent the eThekwini Region at the Salga KZN-DSR Games. She then officially joined the team and even went on to captain the under 19 team at the World Youth Netball Championships in the Cook Islands! As captain, she regularly took part in interviews and had to talk to her team in English. At the time, this was a challenge for her as she spoke Zulu.
Her national career was born in 2011 when she made her debut on the Proteas in the World Netball Championships in Singapore. She progressed through the team ranks, becoming deputy in 2013 and eventually captain in 2016. Following her performance at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, Bongiwe was offered a contract to play for the Surrey Storm by the coach, Tamsin Greenway. She then followed Tamsin to the Wasps. In both years, the teams won the league. Bongiwe spent two years in Australia playing for the Adelaide Thunderbirds before returning to England to play for the Wasps.
Now, Bongiwe is inspiring the next generation through her Bongi Msomi Netball Project, which focuses on the holistic development of coaches, athletes, and children to help improve overall netball performance.