Uganda’s female slum boxers

Meet the female boxers fighting for their future in a Kampala slum.

Kampala, Uganda – They live impoverished lives in one of the largest slums in the Ugandan capital, Kampala. Without permanent shelter or jobs, 23-year-old Morine Nakilyowa, 17-year-old Lydia Nantale, 24-year-old Hellen Baleke and 20-year-old Diana Tulyanabo have resorted to boxing as a way to survive the harsh conditions of the crime-ridden Katanga slum.

Over the past few years, they have featured prominently in local tournaments, representing the Katanga-based Rhino Boxing Club. But the women have yet to get the recognition afforded to their male counterparts.

The closest these female boxers have come to career-defining moments was a potential debut at the International Boxing Association’s World Amateur Boxing Championships in China in 2012 – only to be let down by a lack of funding from their government.

Since then, the boxers have had to contend with the absence of a functioning amateur boxing body and a limited number of credible opponents as they struggle to make their mark. To keep active, they seek out boxers from across the border – in Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania – and feature on the undercards of locally-arranged professional fights. In extreme circumstances, they take each other on at catch-weights.

But, despite the setbacks, the foursome still harbours big dreams of representing Uganda at major international tournaments.


This article first appeared in the Al Jazeera Magazine.

The post Uganda’s female slum boxers appeared first on African Media Agency.


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