Julia Robson gave up her studies in March last year to become a professional gamer and "eSports" personality — and she’s by no means the only South African making a living that way. Robson, who was studying to become an oral hygienist when Taiwanese gaming company MSI offered her a job, is one of many electronic sports professionals in SA. Teams like Goliath Gaming now offer salaries to players who compete at the highest level. Others, such as Energy Esports, pay their players with sponsorships and prize money from tournaments. "You can rely solely on esports in SA, but it takes years of hard work, community interaction, dedication to the industry and countless hours perfecting your niche," says Robson, 22, who has also become a social media marketer. Getting to the top requires a lot of practice — she says gamers train for 50 to 80 hours a week ahead of tournaments. And the stakes are high. Last year, the prize pool for the international Dota 2 tournament — an online battle-arena v...

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