Naylor, who was one of five women to be honoured with a Minister’s Recognition of Excellence Award, was among three physiotherapists who played a vital role in Springboks’ success at the 2019 Rugby World Cup. She was one four women on the Springbok management team at the international extravaganza.
Ndawonde, a firefighter by profession and a hard-running centre on the rugby field, meanwhile, received recognition for her elegance off the field, which saw her winning the Estee Lauder Style Star award.
Naylor was delighted about her award and took the opportunity to encourage young girls to follow their dreams, while calling on the corporate sector to assist in allowing their dreams to become a reality.
“I am so humbled by this award, it means so much to me,” said Naylor.
“I hope it inspires young girls in South Africa, especially in the townships, to believe in themselves and achieve their dreams, and also that it challenges corporates to invest in young girls because we cannot just rely on their dreams.
“We need to invest in them to help them achieve it because many of them will face obstacles that are bigger than themselves.”
Naylor added: “I am so proud to be part of the Springbok team and to be one of four females that were part of the 2019 Rugby World Cup management team, and I am challenging the Springboks to continue to be at the forefront of diversity and inclusion, particularly in terms of gender because no other World Cup team had four females in their squad.”
Ndawonde was equally excited about her award and said: “I am thrilled and overwhelmed because I was surprised to be nominated in the first place.
“gsport is doing great work in giving women a platform to earn recognition, and it is great because it makes them feel appreciated,” said Ndawonde, who also had advice for young sportswomen in South Africa.
“This award is a message to all women that you can play a tough sport and still be a stylish girl, and that you can create your own brand.
“To those young girls who have no faith that they can make something of their lives because of their challenging backgrounds, similarly to how I felt some time back, I hope this inspires you to be anything you want to be.”