Game, Set, Match
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Massmart donates “Sport In A Box” kit to tennis club in Atteridgeville.
Serena Williams lives in Atteridgeville, west of Pretoria. Well, not really, but there are more than a few aspiring Serena’s at the Mpho Makhoba Tennis Precinct. The tennis precinct is named after Mpho Makhoba, a South African umpire and coach from the very same neighbourhood. Mpho gives the kids free tennis lessons after work and hosts coaching clinics during the school holidays.
She laughs about a time when she was younger and walked home from tennis and people laughed at her. “They called me a snob, but tennis is my life, I eat and drink tennis.”
No one is laughing now: Mpho was the first female official to receive an international qualification under the joint certification programme run by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) incorporating the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), and Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) and she is also only the fourth South African woman to achieve an international Chief of Umpires qualification.
Mpho speaks openly about how many doors she has knocked on over the past few years to get the kids that attend her coaching clinics equipment. “We rotate rackets, we use sticks to make lines on the court and we imagine we have hula hoops to demarcate areas for our drills.”
She calls herself the mother of the kids and on any given day she can host anything from 20 to 600 children. The ages vary, currently, the youngest “player” is three, while the eldest is 78.
Now everyone will have a chance to play thanks to “Sport In A Box” – a unique concept designed by Massmart and endorsed by Tennis SA.
Massmart Social Sustainability Specialist Laura Persse identified Mpho because of the incredible work she does in her community.
“She hosts tennis camps during the school holidays and welcomes children of all ages. No one is ever turned away and she sometimes provides meals out of her own pocket. The camps don’t only consist of playing tennis, Mpho allocates time to complete homework and sharing sessions so that the children can build morale and confidence. Her passion inspired us make a donation so she can continue to do great work.”
The donation consists of 180 tennis rackets, 600 tennis balls, 300 coaching cones, first aid kits, mini tennis nets, coaching aids, a laptop and video camera (for performance monitoring) and other training equipment. These items are placed in the “Sport In A Box” which can be wheeled onto any surface and neatly stores all the equipment.
“This donation has given us hope,” Mpho says. “We won’t have a Serena Williams right now but I promise you will have the number one seed in Gauteng next year and in two years’ time you will have a player that represents South Africa. Thank you for opening up doors and windows for us.”
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Notes to Editors
Massmart is a managed portfolio of four divisions, each focused on high volume, low margin, low-cost distribution of mainly branded consumer goods for cash, through 414 stores in 13 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Massmart’s corporate social investments are wide and range feeding schemes and literacy programmes to supporting the arts. Each of our trading entities donates at least one percent of after-tax profit to meet pressing social needs, with a preference for contributing towards educational initiatives that assist the poorest of the poor. We also try, wherever possible, to identify opportunities to leverage our retail capabilities to optimize the impact of our social upliftment activities.
Massmart’s Game stores’ and Masscash’s initiatives to support under-resourced schools included the deployment of 279 mobile kitchens to date to lower quintile schools across the country. Makro continues its involvement in early childhood development in partnership with HOPE Worldwide. Builders Warehouse in partnership with Ripples for Good have renovated over 205 schools and pre-schools around South Africa.