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Rachel Kolisi stands by Caster Semenya: ‘Every woman has the right to live unapologetically'

19 May 2021 - 13:00 By unathi nkanjeni
Rachel Kolisi stands with Caster Semenya in her ongoing fight against the International Association of Athletics Federations.
Rachel Kolisi stands with Caster Semenya in her ongoing fight against the International Association of Athletics Federations.
Image: Oupa Bopape/Gallo Images

Businesswoman and wife of Springbok captain Rachel Kolisi has pledged her support for Caster Semenya after the athlete was banned from any track event between 400m and 1,500m unless she takes medication to reduce her naturally high testosterone levels.

In 2019, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court banned the double Olympic 800m champion from competing while her lawsuit against the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) over regulation of her testosterone levels continued.

She lost her appeal last year but vowed to continue fighting the ruling. 

Taking to Instagram this week, Kolisi said she was standing with Semenya in her ongoing battle with the IAAF. 

“Every woman has the right to fully embrace her beauty and live unapologetically in the world she finds herself in, without having that questioned,” she said. 

“We as women should express our beauty unapologetically and I think Caster is an incredible example of this. We should use our beauty as a source of strength and not as a source of judgment for one another.” 

Beauty brand LUX started a petition to overturn the ruling, saying no woman should be “stripped of being a woman” or “judged for how they look”.

“Many super athletes are born with extraordinary biology. Like them, Caster Semenya was born this way. So why ban her? We believe no woman should be stripped of being a woman,” said LUX. 

Other famous faces who have lend their names to the campaign include former Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi, Somizi, Unathi and sports presenter Mpho Letsholonyane. 

“The policing over women’s bodies, the boxing us and stripping away of our autonomy has become a norm. It seems like everyone wants to tell us who we are or who we should be. Women are not just one thing. We are multifaceted. We come in all shapes, shades and sizes.

“It breaks my heart that Caster Semenya has been banned from competing in the 800m race at the 2021 Olympics because someone else has decided her womanhood for her. I want to play my part rallying behind not only Caster, but other women who are to come after her,” Tunzi said. 


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