By Chris Totobela
This week we feature Vuyiswa Mthetho, a school teacher who grew up in a sporting family, and fell in love with netball after trying out other sports. She started her career at Ntlakohlaza Primary School in Noupoort in the Northern Cape province. She began her coaching at Khutliso Daniels Secondary School in Makhanda and never looked back. Mthetho was also part of the Department of Sports, Recreation, Arts, and Culture (DSRAC) netball development team under the guidance of Mr Nkwinti and Mr Hewana.
“What I liked most about this team was the exposure as it used to compete against stronger opposition in provincial tournaments,” said Mthetho. Most of the members of this development team were not recruited from local schools. Mthetho and her crew formed the all-conquering All Saints netball team which was later disbanded. This situation forced her to focus on her school netball team. She was also involved in Netters but says the frequent friction among members forced her out. “There were too many squabbles and misunderstandings that led to the breakup and I decided to once again focus on school netball,” she says.
Speaking to Grocott’s Mail, Mthetho did not hide her frustrations about the current state of netball in Makhanda. “Netball is dead in our schools due to the lack of commitment from our staff. There is no support. Instead, the schools are the ones that are discouraging learners from playing sports. Locally, it is also dead and there are a lot of people who are involved in netball but have no skills at all. They don’t even know how to maintain their clubs. There are a few qualified coaches out there but they lack the passion as they only want to help if there is money involved,” were the strong allegations from Mthetho.
She said a lack of support from DSRAC and the Department of Education had contributed to the death of netball in Makhanda. On the other hand, the Khutliso Daniels netball team has grown in leaps and bounds. She attributes that success to hard work, commitment, and perseverance from both the coaching staff and learners but emphasizes that the love of what you do is the key to success.
Mthetho said she pleads with all agencies and institutions involved with the sport to take charge and change the current situation. She also believes that there is a lot of talent in Makhanda that needs to be nurtured. Lastly, she pleaded with school principals and School Governing Bodies to support sports in their respective schools and encouraged the learners to participate in sports. Mthetho has done a lot for the development of local netball and is one of those unsung heroines who do not get the recognition they deserve for their hard work.