“A healthy mind needing a healthy body”, received a much needed boost when the UKZN Tennis Club received a donation of tennis equipment and coaching funding to the value of R25 000 from the KwaZulu-Natal Tennis Association. The official handover was held at the renovated courts on the Howard College campus.
Executive President of the KZN Tennis association, Mr Leonard Morgas, said it was the first donation the body had made to a Higher Education Institution, adding that the plan is to extend support to other universities.
According to Morgas, ‘The current trend is that people play tennis while at school and then disappear from the sport until they are in their 30s’. He further added that donations such as the one to UKZN, were aimed at helping bridge that gap and enable university students to feature regularly in the eThekwini Tennis Association (ETA) and university leagues.
The donation which was facilitated by Dr Rudi Kimmie, Manager of the Hub for the African City of the Future (AfriHub), aims to promote sport as part of a healthy student lifestyle. Kimmie thanked the KZN Tennis Association, expressing his gratitude ‘to finally get to a stage where a stronger partnership can be forged between UKZN and the KZN Tennis Association.’ Kimmie said it had been a long journey and the partnership would try to address a number of objectives that UKZN wants to achieve such as social cohesion, discipline, promoting a healthy lifestyle, encouraging UKZN students to be competitive and to help them develop critical life skills to use in their professional and personal lives.’
UKZN Tennis Club Chairman, Ms Lebo Nchabeleng and UKZN Sports Union President, Ms Nomandla Mabaso, said they were grateful for the assistance. Nchabeleng, who was introduced to tennis at University, said the donations would assist the club enormously.
UKZN Sports Administrator, Ms Nomkhosi Ndlovu, said getting involved in tennis was a huge challenge for students from disadvantaged communities as equipment was too expensive. She said the donation would thus go a long way to assist in that area.
Morgas wished students well and thanked UKZN for giving his association an opportunity to contribute to the promotion of tennis at the University, appealing to students to not only play tennis at University, but to take the sport to their communities and form their own clubs as this would attract more young people to join clubs.
Giving the vote of thanks, UKZN Senior Sports Officer, Mr Mvuyisi Sigila, said the University’s Tennis Club would take up the challenge of recruiting more players.
Words and photograph: Sithembile Shabangu