Tennis in South Africa has a long history, both on the mainstream and local level; it also has a large number of female participants.
Kwa-Thema’s Sparks tennis club is one of the sporting clubs that the township has and it’s a sport that people in the township are not familiar with. In a nutshell women and girls involved in tennis are subjected to the same challenges that continue to realm the society, especially the patriarchal structure that enables gender discrimination and stereotyping.
The sport is overshadowed by obstacles such as poor and insufficient facilities, and it lacks coaches.
“We are trying to resurrect the sporting code but it’s a real challenge. The most troublesome part is that it’s easy to get a football or a ruby ball, but the equipment of the unfamiliar sporting code are expensive so there’s a lot of work to be done,” Said Sibusiso.
“The struggles we face as a team is security because It’s not only man who play tennis even girls participate in the sporting code, so we also need assistance in terms of new facilities and we hope will have better tennis courts and restrooms in the future,” Lerato disclosed.
“If we can at least get funding so we can fix the tennis court because we envisaged hosting tournaments but we can’t with dilapidated courts like this one we have,” Said Mihlali Qhumshe.
Mihlali contributes money to the team when a need arises, because most players that they have on the team come from disadvantaged families and she hopes that she can do more than what she is doing now for these kids.
She wants her team to be known and she also wants her team to go and play with bigger teams .As one of the founders of the team she wants the team to inspire others so that they can also be interested and join the team and even understand the sport itself.
Parents said that their kids make them happy by playing tennis and they wish the sport playing culture will be instilled in them, and this will be a positive lesson for the children because they will learn how to put their positive energy towards a genuine cause. They are happy that kids are not roaming around with nothing to do but they are playing tennis, a sport that can shape them to be better people one day.
They hope to get funding and to have all the proper lavatories.
By Zoleka Batsha and Vusi Makwakwa