Against All Odds - The Story of Rosina Sedibane Modiba

July 2, 2019


Book title: Against All Odds – The Story of Rosina Sedibane Modiba
Author: Lorato Trok
Genre: Non-fiction
ISBN: 978-0-620-84282-2


Against All Odds – The Story of Rosina Sedibane Modiba tells the heroic story of one of South Africa’s most talented track-and-field athlete, Rosina Sedibane Modiba. Modiba is a woman from the township who dared to dream, despite the odds. And with the persecution of another female African athelete; Caster Semenya; this book is even more relevant.

Modiba is a pioneer because as a black African woman athlete, she competed in multi-racial championships in 1976; at the height of apartheid and when it was illegal to compete against whites. Also this was during one of the most historic and volatile periods in South African history. She made history when she became the first black South African woman athlete to win a gold medal in 1500m during the multi-racial provincial championships at Pilditch Stadium in Pretoria in March 1977. Rosina astonished everyone when she beat the current record holder and favorite in the white federation, Sonja Laxton.

Rosina was a dominant force in athletics in the country, dominating in both the black federation and in multiracial meets. This at a time when even the stadiums where Rosina competed in multi-racial races were in designated white areas. The pass laws were still in place and blacks needed permission to get to the stadiums. That prevented a majority of black people who wanted to see Rosina run from going.

Rosina’s victories were more than running the races, they were also about dignifying black lives amid the brutality of apartheid. The apartheid laws denied Rosina the highest athletic achievement for a South African athlete: the green jacket, or the Springbok colours. Her efforts and indelible mark in history was finally recognised nationally, when Gauteng Department of Education re-named a top school development academy in Laudium, west of Pretoria, after her. Rosina Sedibane Modiba Sport Academy is one of the City of Tshwane’s top sports schools.

“Rosina’s story is one of the many stories of the erasure of black women’s stories and achievements in history the world over. Black women have attained history making feats since the beginning of time but overlooked and underrepresented in the history books and in the political narrative” says author and biographer Lorato Trok. Written primarily for “young people who do not know and understand the history of this country, the story of Rosina Modiba shows that history does not have to be political and people like Rosina are hidden figures whose stories need to be told to young people”.

“At the moment we are poised to write women’s stories. There is a bigger space for women’s voices and stories to come to the fore and be heard” Lorato Trok concluded. This book will have a wide appeal and will also be of interest to historians and people writing about black sports history in South Africa. Elinor Sisulu wrote the foreword for the book, emphasising Modiba’s contribution to athletics in South Africa and of Trok’s importance to South African literature.

The book is published by Lorraine Sithole for Geko Publishing and it will be available in the middle of 2019. Pre-orders are on

About the Author

Lorato Trok was born and raised in a small Northern Cape town of Kuruman. She is a published author of numerous children’s books in Setswana and English. She is also a creative writing facilitator and has facilitated creative writing workshops in South Africa, Zambia, Lesotho and Kenya. In 2017 she was one of the Association of  Non-Fiction and Academic Authors of South Africa (ANFASA) writing grant recipient. This is her first biography for young people, the first in her series of unsung heroes and heroines in the townships and rural heartlands of South Africa. Lorato Trok is currently a Managing Editor at Puku Children’s Literature Foundation and consults for a variety of early literacy organisations in South Africa, including South Africa’s largest literacy promotion project, Nal’ibali.

About Publisher – Lorraine Sithole

Lorraine Sithole is a consulting publisher at Geko Publishing. She is an influential figure in literary spaces in South Africa. She is passionate about African stories and has devoted the past 10 years to promoting Afrocentric literature. A student in the dissertation stage of her MBA, Lorraine is the founder of the 8-year old BookWorms Book Club based in Gauteng and has been part of the South African Book Fair (SABF) programming team for two years running. Lorraine has facilitated literature discussion panels across various literary initiatives such as the Franschhoek Literature Festival, Jozi Book Fair and The Northern Cape Writers’ Festival. Lorraine Sithole was longlisted for the Sol Plaatjie European Union Poetry Anthology 2017. She is also a board member of the African Book Trust.

About Geko Publishing

Geko Publishing (Pty) Ltd is a 100% black-owned independent and seasoned publisher based in Johannesburg. Geko Publishing was started in 2007 and registered in 2014. It has been recognised for publishing cutting-edge literature that is relevant to modern South Africa. In a period spanning over a decade, the company has published South African (English and vernacular) literature including fiction, poetry and biographies by some of the country’s multi-award-winning writers and academics. Geko Publishing is also the patron of the global Geko Mofolo Prize for Outstanding Fiction in Sesotho, administered and awarded in South Africa.

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