Emmanuel Ngema is a rising star in the tennis coaching and development circles, he has been instrumental in transforming and taking tennis to the townships in and around Durban. When Ngema started back in 2015, he had 20 black players, today he boasts more than 150 players and has a national champion in his stable to boot. Some of his star players have received bursaries to study at Durban Preparatory High School.
Ngema, has been involved in tennis for more than 30 years and shares his remarkable story on how he got involved in a sport more often associated with the affluent.
“When I first arrived here there was no tennis in the black community, it was only white people who played it. I changed that by channeling my focus on this kids, fetching them from their homes.In May this year my development programme was visited by Tennis South Africa and we were awarded the best development in South Africa," explains Ngema.
Ngema was introduced to tennis by his former boss, Mr McMillan whom he worked for in the early 70s. Although reluctant at first because he used to play soccer, but because of his believe in God, Ngema says he thought it was God’s way of communicating with him and saying here is a gift, you can use to change your future. After that epiphany, he decided to open his heart and gave it his all.
"So seeing this boy going abroad to represent South Africa, it was already predicted by Tennis SA, that the country’s next tennis ace, will come from KZN, as they are seeing how these kids are progressing. When I started training them, they knew nothing about tennis and how to hold a racket. Today I am so proud of these kids. Some of them if they were not play tennis, there would be no future to speak of. Some will even tell you that their brothers are into drugs but because they are now involved in tennis, their lives have improved.They compete in tournaments, they win and that makes me happy,”said Ngema.