HISTORY OF CHEERLEADING IN SA

While Cheerleading started in Minnesota, USA in 1898 by a student named Johnny Campbell, it didn’t reach South Africa until 1992.

It was at a competition in Gauteng (formerly known as the Transvaal) hosted by the Premier League of Show Majorettes (PLSM) that Florida Park High School decided to enter the first ever South African Cheerleading display in the category known as Show.
While Florida Park High School was a majorette team at the time, a few members of the display team quickly expressed their interest in continuing on with the sport of cheerleading, either as a separate or additional division to the sport of majorettes.

With limited resources and no access to the internet, the members were left watching VHS video tapes sent to them by an acquaintance in the USA as training material. It is due to the diligent efforts and hardcore dedication of these members that the sport of cheerleading has blossomed into what it is today.
At the end of 1993 the sport was finally making progress as more and more people wanted the cheerleaders to perform at shopping centres and festivals. And so the first South African Cheerleading Consortium was established with founding members Candia Lonsdale, Kim Daly, Justene Kretschmar and Craig Stembridge.

The Consortium lead to the cheerleaders travelling to Europe to partake in various parades, including the London Parade and Paris Festival. While in the UK in 1994 the members attended 3 cheerleading coursed with Cheer Across Britain and the British Cheerleading Association.


Soon after the cheerleaders were hired by the Spartans Basketball Team to cheer at all their local and international competitions that took place within South Africa. The Cheerleading Consortium also signed on with the Paraplegic Basketball Association and cheered at all their games with the sole intent of keep the crowd motivated and the excitement up.

The hard work done by the Consortium in 1993 and 1994 lead to the PLSM formally accepting Cheerleading a a formal competitive section separate from majorettes. In 1995 the cheerleaders enjoyed the first season of their very own section at competitions.

Between 1994 and 1996 all the majorette leagues in South Africa, on directive from the South African Sport Confederation and Olympic Committee, combined together to form the South African Drum Majorette Association (SADMA) with cheerleading as a section at all competitions.

In 1997 Candia Lonsdale, Cameron Nash, Kim Daly and Michelle Malan became the first Cheerleaders to be awarded Provincial Colours. This was followed up in 1998 with the awarding of the first Provincial Coaches Colours and the first SADMA Coach Colours being awarded to cheerleading coaches.

In 2003 the first cheerleaders attended the SADMA National Team Trials, held in Pietermaritzburg over December. Eight cheerleaders were awarded the first SADMA National Cheerleading Team Colours at the trials.

By 2008 SADMA had formally joined the International Cheer Union (ICU) and sent Allan Donaldson (the National Team Director at the time) and Candia Lonsdale to the ICU Championships held in Orlando, Florida to establish whether it would be feasible to send a team representing South Arica to participate.

Upon request by the ICU to assist them in their bid to obtain Olympic recognition, SADMA in 2010 formally changed its name to the South African Majorette and Cheerleading Association, or SAMCA as it has come to be know as today. This was a phenomenal achievement for the sport of cheerleading in their long journey to become a fully fledged sport within South Africa.

In the same year Allan Donaldson and Candia Lonsdale became the first adjudicators from Africa to judge at an ICU Championship. Since then the ICU has selected Tina Du Plessis, Hylton Graham, Allan Donaldson and Candia Lonsdale in various years to adjudicate at the ICU Championships.
Since SAMCA affiliated to the ICU the following teams have been sent to represent South Africa at the ICU Championships:

2011 - The First South African National Cheerleading Team: Co-ed
2013 - South African National Cheerleading Team: Co-ed
2015 - South African National Cheerleading Team: Co-ed
2017 - South African National Cheerleading Team: Co-ed
South African National Cheerleading Team: All Girl
2019: - South African National Cheerleading Team: Co-ed
- South African National Cheerleading Team: All Girl
- South African National Cheerleading Team: Junior