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28 July 2020 | in FISU, Education, FISU Volunteer Leaders Academy, FISU Student Ambassadors

FISU Student Ambassador earns Master’s degree from RIOU and has high ambitions

Shoni Masutha chairing a FVLA sessionShoni Masutha hosting a session at the FISU Volunteer Leaders AcademyFrom Limpopo, South Africa to Sochi, Russia, FISU Student Ambassador Shoni Masutha has certainly gone places! A very active and visible member of the FISU Student Ambassadors community, Masutha recently graduated with a Master’s degree in Sport Administration from the reputed Russian International Olympic University (RIOU) and raised the South African flag high by doing so.


Having wanted to pursue dance and performing arts after high school, Masutha’s journey in sport started through heartbreak. After taking a professional dancing course, she was offered a position as a professional dancer. However, Masutha’s mother wanted her to attend university which she agreed to. She enrolled at the University of Venda (UNIVEN) and began studying for a Bachelor's in Social Work, while she also joined a Ballroom and Latin dance team.


Shoni Masutha after graduating at RIOU with her Master's in Sport AdministrationShoni Masutha after graduating from RIOU with her Master's in Sport Administration degree“I stuck it out for four years and with just six months standing between me and my happiness (becoming a professional dancer) together with the UNIVEN dance team, I had a head-on collision car accident and broke my femur into two. This time around, not my mother but the universe disagreed with my dream. I could not do any dance sport anymore, let alone run, hop or even jump. It took me six months to learn how to walk again,” says the resilient Masutha.


But things were about to look up for the Sowetan-born dancer, “UNIVEN’s Sport Administrator Thaba Patrick gradually taught me sport administration. He would take me to University Sport South Africa’s (USSA) meetings and encouraged me to participate. Long story short, I ended up serving in various executive positions in USSA, Confederation of University and College Sport Association (CUCSA), Federation of Africa University Sport (FASU); and now volunteering at the International University Sport Federation (FISU),” says the FISU Student Ambassador.


Four degrees later, Masutha’s commitment to education and sport has never wavered: “I view education and sport as a transformation catalyst for both, society and an individual. Both equip one with the ability to develop oneself and one's surroundings. Both are fields that interlink and impact greatly on numerous other fields, such as information technology, finance and economics, business, personal and societal development, eradicating poverty etc."


"I am passionate about the transformation and development of my people and their ability to compete and thrive in both local and international platforms; thus my commitment to sport and education. The two are tools I consider most effective in achieving this vision.”


Shoni Masutha at a RIOU eventShoni Masutha at a RIOU eventUSSA was the first national executive committee which Masutha served in, and she reiterates that, “This experience enabled me to ascend and effectively contribute to regional, continental and international structures. I grew from being a national representative to becoming a proactive international ambassador, team leader, mentor and interview host."


"With over 8 years experience in sport volunteering and management, it was critical for me to substantiate my sport background further and thus the decision to pursue my Master of Sport Administration with RIOU whose intensive programme is rated number 2 in Europe,” she adds.


As a former participant, Masutha also recently participated in the 2020 FISU Volunteer Leadership Academy (FVLA) seminar which was hosted online and was a first of its kind: “All communication, techniques, activities and coordination were entirely different compared to previous FVLA sessions. It required us to efficiently and effectively intensify the use of technology, while coordinating a connection of participants from over 91 countries. It also provided us with an opportunity to plan and make projections on a foreseeable future where technology and sport are co-drivers,” says the 30-year-old.


As a FISU Student Ambassador Masutha is responsible for promoting the University Sport Movement, implementing numerous sport activities, networking and collaborating with fellow Student Ambassadors, National University Sports Federations and the sport community in general.


Shoni MasuthaThe multi-faceted and talented Shoni MasuthaShe is currently involved in the following projects: hosting monthly live webinars on Instagram where she engages and converses with game changers in sport, hosting Zoom webinars on behalf of FVLA and lastly, assisting with the organisation of both the June and September sessions of FVLA. The South African states that: “FISU taught me to be proactive, creative and build and nurture a strong work ethic. Key lessons include learning how to establish and manage a volunteer base in sport, manage numerous sport related projects, interact with people of various nationalities, status and expertise,” she reflects.


Masutha embodies the notion of South Africa being a country where student leaders in sport need to become leaders of advancement, “While inspired by a vision to position South African and African sport to claim, lead and equal prestige among first world countries, we are not only constantly adapting to but also proactively initiating relations and projects that foster such development."


"As much as every generation must find its mission and fulfil it, it is equally crucial for future generations of student sport leaders in South Africa to build on where we left off. I wish for a future generation of South African student sport leaders that is so impactful, innovative and creative that other countries would have to constantly emulate it and benchmark from it,” says Masutha, with a vision of the future.


Shoni Masutha hopes to find a mentor who is at the centre of one of the following aspects of sport in South Africa; mega sport events, international sport bodies, commercial aspect of sport and eSport. “I also plan on pursuing my doctoral studies and continuously adding to the sport knowledge base through publications and sport research,” she concludes with characteristic ambition.