By Garth Johnstone
To say the sporting future is bright for young Ntando Mthalane (above) would be an understatement. Not only has Ntando, from Curry’s Post, been awarded a scholarship to Maritzburg College based on his rugby performances, but he also excels in cricket and hockey.
The Howick Primary pupil, who plays eighth man, represented KZN at this year’s interprovincial tournaments in Bloemfontein and Sasolburg, and says he is ready to take up his place at College next year and develop his rugby career.
The soft-spoken sports fanatic – he also really enjoys basketball and loves to fish and ride bikes when he gets the chance – says he is used to his routine, friends and teachers, and life in Curry’s Post, but is excited about the big change and the chance to make new friends.
“I would love to make a career out of rugby and I know there are also opportunities in coaching and sports management.”
In hockey, the multi-talented Ntando achieved selection for KZN Inland, while in cricket he was chosen for Midlands Cricket and will have trials for KZN Inland in September.
Ntando lives at Groundcover Leather Company with his mom, Khombi, who is employed there, and his dad, Thabiso, who works at a bag factory next door. Khombi says she is proud of her son, whom she knew would always achieve.
“I would be happy for Ntando to make a career out of rugby, but school comes first, and a university education is important.”
It was Khombi who chose Maritzburg College, despite interest in her son from at least two other top schools. She said she made the choice because the institution was known for its discipline and they would “keep an eye on my boy”.
Commitment to schooling
Groundcover co-founder Amanda McCarthy said, with an indulgent smile, that Ntando could be a “handful”, but he was extremely talented and they were all proud of his achievements. She said it was fantastic when children were able to be the best they could be and were given that opportunity.
Groundcover shares the costs of schooling on a 50-50 basis with its employees who take up the offer. Children currently attend Howick Pre-Primary, Howick Primary, Howick Prep and Howick West schools.
Both Ntando and Amanda said teachers at Howick Prep, particularly Pete Steyn (rugby) and Ashley Sokaloo (cricket and hockey), deserved credit for their efforts and influence in helping Ntando and other children excel.
It takes a village
Another mom who works at the Curry’s Post leather company, Maria Nzimande, has three daughters who are all excelling. The youngest, Sinempilo, is studying human resources at UKZN, after having been awarded a bursary. Maria has high hopes for her, but is also proud of her middle daughter, Pretty, who works for a major bank, and Precious, who studied teacher training at Unisa and is currently working in the hospitality industry in Phuket, Thailand.
Amanda said the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child” was truly in action at Groundcover as all the adults (and some older kids) looked out and cared for the youngsters.
With the talent to make an impact in just about any ball sport, it seems Ntando is the latest in a crop of youngsters from Curry’s Post who is set to make his mark.