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South African Esports
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Morizane Boyes enters the great MSSA debate

Update (19/07/2018): Morizane Boyes eventually stepped down from her role at MSSA citing “time restrictions”. None of the stuff we discussed or she said she planned to implement ever happened. More than a year on and the MSSA continues to garner disrespect and unhappiness from the broader South African esports community with some members publicly leaving and publishing their views that align with much of the negative press currently in circulation.

For as long as I’ve been apart of the Esports community (which, granted, isn’t very long), I’ve given the MSSA a very wide birth. For someone reading unfamiliar with the MSSA (Mind Sports South Africa) you could argue that the conversation regarding the organisation is a dark cesspool of scum that we should stay away from. There seems to be more lawyers letters flying around those four letters than I’d like to add to so I usually just stay away.

I’m a unicorns and rainbows kind of girl you know.

But then a press release landed in my inbox and, for reasons I can’t explain, I opened it. In it the mail introduced Morizane Boyes, the new President of the MSSA. Browsing through the trillion sentences of things that don’t matter to me, I suddenly saw this quote and, I’m not sure why, but it suddenly caught my attention. Boyes was quoted as saying:

“I would love to be given the opportunity to converse with the gamers who have concerns, so that we can start creating a better gaming community.”

South African Esports
Morizane Boyes – the new President of the MSSA

So I skyped Morizane. Mainly because for some strange reason, something about her words made me think (or at least hope) that this might be the turning point the local scene needs. You see if you speak to any of the “old” guard (respected gents, mostly running MGOs now or doing awesome things for South African Esports in general) they’ll tell you that fundamentally what the MSSA is built to do is bloody brilliant. The idea of bringing gaming to schools is so important to build it in SA but also to destroy the stigma that parents put on gaming. It actually has a host of benefits to youngsters. So, we agree that fundamentally what the MSSA is meant to do is a good thing and potentially needed in the scene.

But then ask them why they haven’t formed clubs and joined…

South African Esports
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You’ll get a host of stories, allegations and stuff that would be good enough for me to start a soap opera with. These were the things I wanted to chat to Morizane about and so, I did. My first question to her was the name that comes up every time someone brings up the MSSA. This person’s name and the organisation are synonymously linked and, this person tends to be the alleged reason most steer clear of the MSSA. The name is one of an ex MSSA president who still finds himself constantly ‘elected’ on to the boards. Most you speak to will allege a dictatorship and, as spokesperson for the organisation, rumoured blogger under another name and the reason many have left the organisation in distain (or never joined in the first place) this individual tends elicit (look Collin I changed it) a considerable amount of anger in the community. Morizane told me she was well aware that this individual allegedly rubbed people up the wrong way with his outspoken views and “passion” as she described it.

I did ask her straight away if, surely, the goal was to unite the scene then it would be best interests of the MSSA and Esports for this person to step down. In a diplomatic answer fit for a President, Morizane explained how everyone was elected. So I then asked her if, enough of us formed clubs and paid the R99 or whatever it costs to join the MSSA, could said person be voted out. She said yes but my gut tells me it won’t be that easy. The solution to the issue seems simple and, yet, we cannot seem to solve it.

The thing about Morizane that I picked up in our conversation is that she does actually give a damn about the community. We chatted about Bravado Gaming, about having the best players represent South Africa and, by best, the BEST. She realises that some of the more archaic principles employed in selections such as players residing in the same physcial regions etc may hamper growth and she wants to try rectify this. I asked her what her goals for Esports in SA was and she did not hesitate:

Send the best players overseas to represent South Africa and ensure they come back and give back to the rest of the community to help grow the sport at ground level.

South African Esports
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Morizane gets it and, she I think she also realises that the best Esports players in SA are not affiliated with the MSSA. She wants to try change that and said she doesn’t want to be seen as a puppet but rather as a person that can be conversed with and who is open to dialogue. I’ve already seen her actively engaging with the gaming community and much of her hopes and dreams for SA Esports are ones I share.

She was extremely open and honest with me about the current affiliation of the MSSA to SASCOC. Yes, they are suspended members. However, they can still award colours. Yes, she realises that we have years of distrust and bad blood with an us versus them mentality growing. Despite that she wants to desperately bridge the gigantic gap we now see. With the MSSA actively campaigning in schools around the country it makes Esports accessible to far more girls which really hits home with me. As a gamer herself Morizane is passionate about this too.

During my conversation with Morizane I couldn’t help but feel a kinship to the woman. I really do believe she really just wants to do her best by Esports and try direct the MSSA into something we all want it to be.

But is that desperate need or unwavering passion enough?

The truth is I’m not sure it will do the job to convert the masses. In my opinion, until the individual I mentioned steps down and distances himself from the organisation the giant chasm forming between the MSSA and the rest of South African Esports is only going to widen until one falls into it. Alternatively, the rest of the industry needs to invest in education efforts at school level to further highlight the three gazillion jazillion competitions happening this year. I’ve sat pondering this now for almost a week and find myself flip flopping to either side of the fence and circling back to a familiar thought. So I’m putting this out to you:

Does the MSSA have a role to play in developing Esports in South Africa?

 

 

          1. No that’s your liberal use of the word lie.. the case I discussed was a civil one and I used a word that meant criminal.. technicality :)..

            Is that post the highlight of your life? Just wondering as you seem to covet it over all else

          2. Nice, thanks Sam for deleting the link to the article wherein Gavin Mannion admitted to have not stated the truth.

            Also, no-one that I know has ever written under the name of “Motheo”.

          3. Apologies I meant Matatheni Mosotho not Motheo… I deeply regret getting the name of your black male pseudonym wrong. It’s just that I still struggle to see how you think it’s a good idea to create a fake persona, link it to a fake Google+ and FB account and then write about yourself in the third person?

            Again, I do humbly apologise for insinuating you wrote under the pseudonym Motheo instead of Mosotho. You are free to screencap and post this apology for getting some details wrong on your blob.

            The core fact is still true and will haunt you for the rest of your miserable life though.. so there’s that 😉

            (Edit: Oh god you’re friends with yourself on FB… this is the saddest thing I’ve seen in quite some time https://www.facebook.com/matatheni.mosotho/friends?pnref=lhc)

            Also you may want to advise your buddy Mr Holliday that it’s possibly not the best look being a lawyer AND being friends with your best friends made up persona.. that’s just some friendly advice… toodles

    1. I really doubt an interview will solve anything. MSSA will only cause more politics in South African eSports. Just like any other sporting body has already done in every other form of SA sport.

      You can also clearly see with how vocal (and petty) Mr. Webster still is, nothing has changed. A new president doesn’t mean anything. Neither does someone’s “passion” or beautiful words, like that of Morizane, unless their actions actually carry through the positive growth of eSports in South Africa. With Mr Webster still on the board, it feels like Morizane is just a new face but ultimately a puppet that can only operate within certain parameters.

      The rest of the world has already shown that the current eSports model works. Selling our souls for a government paycheck, just so they can have a say in who’s in what team? No thanks. There’s no place for their (government) racist, political, and corrupt agendas. We don’t need government to interfere with team selection and limiting rules. eSports, especially in SA, is the only true sport where you’re included in a team because of your raw talent and skill. Not skin colour (read quotas), looks, sex, charm etc. Pure talent!

      That’s why it’s so entertaining to watch! That’s what draws viewers/supporters, sponsors, and further international opportunities.

      eSports is for the people and should be controlled by the people. Not a disconnected government body!

      1. Agreed fully! My chats with Morizane make me believe she fundamentally shares the same ideas and sees the MSSA as a breeding ground to nurture future talent. Which I support. However, as can already be seen by the comments – at every opportunity Mr Webster attempts to make it about him and thus derails positive conversation.

        This article went up this week and we’ve already seen MGO leaders agreeing to chat to Morizane as well as she agreeing to chat to Gavin. Bridges being built. In all of 3 comments on a Facebook group those get destroyed. So disappointing.

  1. I am not a gamer at all and most of this sounded like french to me…lol, but still an interesting read 🙂 I want to get my husband to start reading your blog…I’m sure he’d enjoy it.

  2. Glad to hear there is new blood at the MSSA, but yes – with so many years of bad blood, it’s hard to imagine that it will be enough. All the previous people who have risen within the association were eventually just puppets to that person who refuses to step down. Here’s hoping Morizane can avoid that same fate.

  3. Why do we need a body to run esports? South Africa along with many other countries does just fine without some overlord telling us what to do. The Mssa is an outdated concept that in its current form provides nothing to anyone other than the grassroots level of esports. Even that is debatable.

  4. Dear Sam

    Do you understand the difference between the words ‘illicit’ and ‘elicit’?

    Please correct asap.

    Please too note that Registration Fees are R5.00 per annum if a scholar in a school club, and R95.00 per player per annum if not in a school club.

    Since MSSA is the recognised federation, as per Act of Parliament, MSSA does have a role.

    1. *sigh* in less than a week this post went up and people started agreeing to talk. Started agreeing to try see if there was space to work together and to mend issues. But anyone who was even slightly anti the idea comes on to this post, sees the aggressive comments from you and back away.

      Also, the truth is, Esports doesn’t need a federation. It doesn’t need national colours. As it develops and grows people will begin to realise this and simply put the MSSA on mute. My understanding is the DGL has a far more active database of gamers anyway.

      I wrote this post because I really feel strongly that Morizane wants to make a difference and I want to offer her my support in this climb she has to make. However, I do stand with the majority of the Esports community who believe you need to step down and away from the organisation Colin.

  5. Hey Sam. I picked up a bug on your site.

    Your “previous” and “next” story section creates an overlay in the background, which causes a user to not be able to click on anything between the two sections. As they are pretty much at the centre of your screen, that’s pretty much everything.

    I know you’re running wordpress, and this is a plugin, but if you could move the html it outputs (the class name on the div is “entry-nav”) to be a direct child of your div with the ID “content” (that means outside the .container but still inside #content), then this will solve your problem.

    If you’re not sure what gibberish I’m talking about, please just tell your dev guys to have a look at this. Cheers.

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