History was made during the AFL’s Sir Doug Nicholls Round in Darwin on Saturday night, with Sylvia Nulpinditj becoming the first woman to commentate an AFL match in an Indigenous language.
- Ms Nulpinditj commentated the match in Yolngu Matha alongside Baykali Ganambarr and William Gumbula
- Veteran broadcaster Charlie King wants the rest of the country to take note of the success
- He wants more Indigenous nations to get involved and follow the Yolngu example
Ms Nulpinditj, a Yolngu woman from the remote north-east Arnhem Land community of Millingimbi, said the significance was not lost on her.
“This has been a long time coming, especially for someone who’s a Yolngu and a miyalk, a woman,” she said.
Ms Nulpinditj was not alone in the commentary box — she was joined by Yolngu men Baykali Ganambarr and William Gumbula.
The trio’s call was broadcast on Yolngu Radio, one of the Northern Territory’s major Indigenous broadcasters.
The broadcaster is popular across north-east Arnhem Land, where the Yolngu Matha language is most prolific.
Ms Nulpinditj said although Saturday’s match was her first time commentating AFL, she embraced the opportunity and knew it would be something fellow Yolngu would love.
“I like challenging things … the fellas will have my back,” she said.
“They will be having the time of their life.
Indigenous people to ‘seize’ this moment
Gurindji man and veteran sports broadcaster Charlie King said the rest of the country could take note of the success.
“That celebration of Aboriginal involvement with Australian rules footy, they could learn from doing it the way we do it up here … we just need to keep doing it,” Mr King said.
He also wants more Indigenous nations to get involved and follow the Yolngu example.
“Gurindji in particular, I’d like to see my people calling it,” Mr King said.
“I don’t see why not, the stage has been set.
“The sky’s the limit and the opportunity is immense.
Darwin-born Malcolm Rosas Jnr, who plays for the Gold Coast Suns, also wanted to hear more Indigenous voices commentating AFL games.
“There’s a lot of kids that grow up in communities that don’t speak much English,” Rosas said.
“There’s a lot of talent out there as well. Kind of hearing that and watching the game they love, especially in their own language [would be] really good.”
And although Ms Nulpinditj may have been the first woman to do this, she doesn’t want to be the last.
“I’m hoping that many of the Yolngu women, Yolngu mums, young mums, young girls and not just Yolngu — every woman in all walks of life — I hope that they can see me,” she said.
Source: AFL NEWS ABC