Share this article

The late Rita Oosthuizen who passed away on Thursday at age 88, made a significant impact on South African netball. One simply has to cast an eye over her CV to see what massive contribution she made over a span of almost five decades.

Most notably is how she served the games in every possible field. Oosthuizen also contributed to a couple of firsts in SA netball.

After playing the game (she represented the South African team in 1959), she served as an umpire, coach, team manager, selector (for 25 years) and administrator.

She was the head coach of the national team in 1970 and 1973 and acted as president of the SA netball for 17 years between 1979 and 1995.

Amongst the firsts include being a founder member of the South African Women’s Netball Association in 1951 and the African Women’s Netball Association in 1976 and she was a founder member and the first president of the SA High School’s Netball Association in 1957. She coached the very first SA Schools team who toured England in 1965-’66 in which they didn’t lose a single match in 58 encounters.

Oosthuizen was honoured several times in her career. In 1999 she received the NSA’s honorary life membership award.

She was on four occasions named as the Coach of the Year in South Africa. That was in 1966 as the successful coach of the SA Schools team, in 1970 as the winning coach of Southern Transvaal, 1973 as co-coach of Northern Transvaal and in 1982 as coach of Southern Transvaal.

To cap off her remarkable contribution to the game, she documented the history of South African netball in the book ‘A Century of Netball” in 2005.

One of her daughters, Tessa Halgryn, also represented the Proteas between 1995 and 1997, making them one of only a couple of mother-daugher combinations to represent the senior national team.