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Sport - Date: 21 November 2008
Written by: Elmon Tshikhudo / Viewed: 3850
A Grade 11 pupil at Mphaphuli Secondary School near Thohoyandou will soon playing basketball at the Stoneridge Preparatory School, California, USA.
Tshilidzi Nephawe (19) was bidden farewell during a colourful function attended by education officials and the school community at the school’s main hall a fortnight ago.
Tshilidzi Nephawe of Thohoyandou Block G will jet off to the USA after a full academic scholarship, which will also include lodging and boarding, was offered to him. Ms Jeannette Noble, school psychologist at Stoneridge Preparatory, confirmed this in a letter faxed to the school last week.
He will also complete his secondary education and further his studies there, but will be allowed to visit home during holidays for a period of about six years.
Dr Malumbete Ralethe, vice-president of Basketball South Africa, said Tshilidzi was identified by his organization during a talent search road show in Limpopo schools three years ago. “He impressed the coaches with his length and his willingness to participate in the sport. We then trained him and we are confident he will make it because he is a dedicated person who is ready to learn. He also played in Limpopo’s provincial teams nationally and is now going overseas,” said Ralethe.
He further said regarding the scholarship to the USA, Tshilidzi was scouted during the National Basketball Association’s Basketball without Borders 2008 at the American International School in Johannesburg.
“We wish him well there, and furthermore hope he will come back to South Africa and plough back to the community of Venda the knowledge and skills he will have acquired in the United States of America,” said Ralethe.
The principal of Mphaphuli Secondary, Mr Lufuno Mulaudzi, said Tshilidzi’s achievements will also put the school on the world map. He said their school was lucky because, a few years ago, one of their former learners, Philip “Time Bomb” Ndou, was also selected to represent South Africa in the boxing games in Atlanta in the USA.
Tshilidzi was over the moon and thanked everyone who assisted him to be chosen for the scholarship.
“I am fortunate as a young rural boy to be chosen to play overseas and also have the chance to attend a prestigious school like Stoneridge. It never crossed my mind that I would one day fly and play overseas; I am so excited,” he said. He said it was not easy for him because of his background, but he succeeded because he was dedicated.
Tshilidzi started playing basket ball after joining the University of Venda’s basket ball team in April 2006.
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Elmon Tshikhudo started off as a photographer. He developed an interest in writing and started submitting articles to local as well as national publications. He became part of the Limpopo Mirror family in 2005 and has since been a familiar name among the newspaper's readers.