After years toiling for recognition, Botswana Cheerleading Federation (BCF) is now an affiliate of both the Botswana National Sporting Commission (BNSC) and Botswana National Olympic Commission (BNOC). Since its formation in 2014, the BCF successfully registered with register of societies in 2018 and the International Cheer Union (ICU) in 2016 when the latter was formed.
All this was done while the BCF was waiting to affiliate with sport mother bodies in Botswana.
In November 2020, BCF successfully affiliated with BNOC and in March of this year, they successfully affiliated with BNSC.
As one of the primary requirements in the federations process of affiliating with both BNOC and BNSC, they had to host their first ever national championships which was hosted in 2020 and was a great success.
According to the BCF President Neo Selwe, the journey to affiliate with both the mother bodies was not really difficult but challenging due to a lot of things needed.
“The good thing is that BNSC held our hand and walked us through the whole process until we had accomplished our task to affiliate,” she explained.
While they have received numerous invites to perform at the world championships, the BCF turned them down as it focused on growing the sport in Botswana before going out.
As a result, Selwe said the BCF managed to increase their clubs from 5 to 14 by the time they affiliated.
“BNSC wanted a minimum of 10 clubs to be part of our federation. Secondly our annual return books had to be up to date even with annual bank statements. They also looked thoroughly into the constitution and our five-year plan. It was a back-and-forth process, not to difficult yet challenging,” the BCF president explained.
The only major challenges, according to Selwe, were lack of funds as well as the fact that the code is run by volunteers.
“Due to the lack of funds, we sometimes failed to attend trainings and championships. Potential sponsors also notified us that they want us as affiliates to BNSC and BNOC before they could come on board. So, we had to fight with all we had to be affiliated,” she said.
“Another problem was that some people got tired along the way. For some, this was not their dream and they dropped out. Some just helped us because it was our dream and vision to see cheerleading as a sport in Botswana but not theirs,” she elaborated.
Given all the challenges faced during the affiliation process, the official recognition by the BNSC and BNOC was a sweet reward.
Selwe however believes this could not have been achieved without the help they acquired from the community throughout the past 17 years.
“We are grateful for community clubs as they have been our back bone. And now that we have managed to affiliate, our work as a federation will be easier,” she explained.
Meanwhile, the BCF president said they harbour ambitions of starting the cheerleading sport in schools.
“Unfortunately for now we cannot branch into schools; the time we wanted to introduce cheerleading to schools was the time when sports came to a halt and also covid-19 emerged,” she highlighted.
As it stands, the federation is still in the process of affiliating with World Majorrettes Federation (WMF), a body that regulates the majorettes.