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Ken Borland

Developing grassroots talent is obvious work for Vodacom

Posted on October 10, 2022 by Ken

DULLSTROOM, Mpumalanga – For Ntombi Mhangwani, the executive head of department for Vodacom Business Marketing, it is obvious that if Vodacom has customers in a certain province then they need to look at how they develop the talent from the grassroots in that area.

Mhangwani was speaking at the South African Golf Development Board (SAGDB) clinic held at Highland Gate Golf and Trout Estate; these clinics are something the Vodacom Origins of Golf Series has supported while growing the game and empowering communities during their 18 years of involvement with the Sunshine Tour.

“In a country like South Africa, with the levels of inequality we have, certain life experiences like golf courses are natural for some but for others it is completely foreign. If we want to nullify these inequalities then we have to reach the disadvantaged areas as well,” Mhangwani said as 18 youngsters, between the ages of seven and 16, from the Nelspruit, Lydenburg and Dullstroom districts were happily hitting balls on the Highland Gate driving range under the watchful eye of the Sunshine Tour professionals giving of their time to provide some coaching.

“These kids will paint their picture of life out what they believe is possible, and this is how we can build dreams. Some of these kids have never seen houses so big or grass so green, but we want to tell them that just because this is how South Africans live in other communities, it does not mean they can have no access to it.

“When Vodacom says it wants to inspire change by going Further Together, we mean we want to develop together. So that means building and giving back to the communities that are our consumer base.

“The only way to do that is by working in partnerships with the communities and giving their children exposure. It’s not about throwing money at the problem, but about authentic partnerships,” Mhangwani said.

Vodacom’s involvement in golf goes way beyond just their superb support of the professionals – the Origins of Golf tournaments are the longest-running series on the Sunshine Tour – and giving back to communities is one of their core principles.

Partnering with the SAGDB to show the younger generation that golf can be a pathway to success is one of Vodacom’s key vehicles for change, and the purpose and life-skills golf can give to learners is something Mhangwani loves about the game.

“Golf is about a value system, training and discipline, and that can permeate into these youngsters’ schooling, their life at home and choosing the right friends.

“Champions are also born out of watching other champions practise, passing their knowledge and skills on. Exposure builds potential, it allows these learners to dream.

“If even one person at the clinic looks at the game and says that they want to be part of golf, they want to do that too, then we have succeeded,” she said.

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