Akhona Makalima Biography: Age, Profile, Parents, Child, Pictures

Akhona Makalima
Akhona Makalima is the first female soccer referee in South Africa.


Akhona Makalima (born March 27, 1988) is a South African football referee, model, and events manager. She’s been a listed international referee for the international governing body FIFA since 2014.

The gutsy sportswoman officiates for the FIFA, PSL, SAFA, and SASOL Women’s League. She is among the few South African female referees.

On the football pitch, she focuses on the business at hand. She officiated the Premier’s Cup clash between Chippa United and Kaizer Chiefs at Sisa Dukashe Stadium near East London. The sportswoman red-carded Sibusiso Khumalo for a professional foul.

Akhona Makalima
Akhona Makalima biography
Akhona officiates for FIFA, the Premier Soccer League (PSL), the SASOL Women’s League, and the South African Football Association (SAFA).
Quick Facts
Full Name:Akhona Zennith Makalima
Other names:Babes Wempempe
Born:March 27, 1988 (age 35 years)
Place of birth:South Africa
Parents: Mbuyisa Dalasile (stepfather)
Vuyokazi (mother)
Nationality:South African
Education:Human resources
Alma mater:King Hintsa FET College
Occupation:Referee, model, event manager
Years active:2011-date
Relative:Robert Makalima

Early Life

Akhona Makalima was born on March 27, 1988, in South Africa. Her stepfather, Mbuyisa Dalasile, and mother, Vuyokazi, were always working. She grew up shepherding sheep in a rural part of the Eastern Cape under her grandfather, Robert Makalima.

Sports had always been what she loved doing. She has an elder sibling and four younger siblings in a family of five girls and one boy.


Akhona Makalima studied at Msobomvu Secondary School, Butterworth. She engaged in many sports in school – softball, volleyball, and athletics to soccer.

After matriculating in 2007, she enrolled to study human resources management at King Hintsa FET College.


Akhona Makalima profile

Makalima qualified for the FET provincial team, and shortly after, she became the assistant captain. Though, her career as a football player was short-lived.

After her diploma programs, she returned home and played for Ilitha FC. For the first, she saw a talented female referee Yonela Mahamba, which inspired her.

Eventually, the referees’ development officer in Chris Hani District, Bongani Mngese, introduced Makalima to officiating games. She blew her first whistle in August 2011 at the Chris Hani memorial tournament in Eziphunzana in East London. She bagged her first trophy as the best referee.

Her first official game was at the 2011/2012 SAB league in Lukhanji District. She attended more refereeing courses in the same year. Eventually, she started to officiate the former Vodacom League for the 2012/13 season.

At first, she wasn’t promoted to the Premier Soccer League (PSL) because she failed the men’s fitness test, among others. The following year, she returned, passed the test, and became the first South African woman.

In 2015, she officiated her first international game – an Olympic qualifier between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Her first PSL match was between the University of Pretoria (Tuks) and Mpumalanga Black Aces at Tuks stadium in February 2015.

Personal Life

Akhona is a single parent and is not ready for any romantic relationship. For her, sport is the only company she needs. She had a child before marriage as a teenage girl of 17.

Social Profiles

Akhona has continued to post her progress as a female referee across several social media platforms. She is on: