Nine interesting facts about South Africa superfan 'Mama Joy'

Nine interesting facts about South Africa superfan 'Mama Joy'

Kickstarting her spectator career more than 30 years ago as South Africa’s most famous and diehard sports fan, Joy ‘Mama Joy’ Chauke has become one of the prominent voices for women in sport.

Always clad in flamboyant attire while representing the national or local South African teams at various sporting events with fierce dedication, the 47-year-old Limpopo-born superfan has garnered love from all corners of the globe. 

Here, SABC Sport details some interesting facts you didn’t know about the spectator superstar. 

Attendance at three World Cups in four countries in the past year

Mama Joy has been spotted supporting the national team in an impressive number of three World Cups in less than a year. 

These include the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, and the most recent 2023 Rugby World Cup in France. 

READ MOREHow can I watch the Springboks v France at the 2023 Rugby World Cup?

Face of the Braai Army in France 

The sports fanatic has recently been crowned the face of the Braai Army, which is South Africa’s largest sports supporter group in the world, while in France.

The group boasts 50,000 followers all over the world who continue to show support for the Springboks in the Rugby World Cup. 

Crowned Sports Fan of the Year 

Compounding her shining list of achievements, Mama Joy was awarded Sports Fan of the Year at the 2023 Momentum GSports Awards. 

The ceremony celebrates women who have made their mark in South African and international sport, honouring them for their accomplishments in the male-dominated landscape. 

2022 FIFA fan ambassador 

The super fan’s fame soared to new heights when she was chosen by FIFA as one of the fan ambassadors at the 2022 Soccer World Cup in Qatar to represent Africa.

Mama Joy was chosen among many other global candidates who stood a chance for this exciting role. 

Although Bafana Bafana failed to qualify for the tournament, Mama Joy’s presence at the Qatar World Cup was a source of excitement and celebration as she waved the South African flag high and proud. 

Switch from Orlando Pirates to Royal AM support

Her 32-year long stint as superfan of the South African soccer team Orlando Pirates came to a surprising halt when Mama Joy announced her new alliance with PSL newcomers Royal AM in 2021. 

Her newfound allegiance garnered mixed reactions from soccer fans, ranging from disappointment and shock, to support of her decision. 

After much speculation, she has revealed that her decision was marked by a desire to support her fellow woman in sport, Royal AM owner and business woman Shaun ‘Mamkhize’ Mkhize. 

Check out all the latest PSL fixtures and results in SABC Sport's soccer score centre

Access denied to Orlando Stadium

Mama Joy was denied entry to the 2023 DsTV Premiership match between Orlando Pirates and Royal AM at the Orlando Stadium. 

This was due to security at the stadium being instructed to deny her access.

After much deliberation and police intervention, the superfan was later allowed to enter and resume her passionate support for soccer at the event. 

Allegations about funding

Recently, Mama Joy has come under fire for allegations of being funded by the government to attend local and international games.  

This was sparked by Democratic Alliance (DA) councillor Renaldo Gouws’ tweets which suggested Mama Joy’s superfan career has been funded by the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture. 

Mama Joy denied the councillor’s claims, and the state came to her rescue by saying it has only paid for flight and accommodation expenses in France for the 2023 Rugby World Cup. 

READ MOREHow can I watch the Springboks' matches at Rugby World Cup 2023?

gsport Ambassador 

Her work as an avid sports fan has earned Mama Joy another prestigious title as Ambassador for The Year of Women’s Sport for gsport.

gsport is one of South Africa’s most prominent advocates for women in sport, aligning perfectly with Mama Joy’s burning passion for women’s sports teams such as Banyana Banyana.

Mama Joy’s rise to fame

Mama Joy entered the sports limelight when she stole the attention of cameras during her attendance of almost every Orlando Pirates match for the past 20 years. 

Her cheers of support and eye-catching attire were bound to turn heads, as she was embellished head to toe with the soccer team’s signature black and white apparel.

By Shameeka Voyiya