When she’s not taking a rare break in front of the television, you’ll find netball enthusiast Precious Mthembu hard at work, or hard at play. She seems to be one of those young people with a zest for life and an unlimited supply of energy – even listening to her speak of all her sporting interests is enough to wear you out!
As a Grade 10 pupil at Danville Park Girls’ High School, Precious is kept busy by a demanding academic and sporting schedule, but a quick look at her list of achievements in both areas proves she’s a genuine all-rounder. While balancing a subject package of English, Zulu, Biology, Geography, Mathematics and Typing and an extra-mural timetable of sporting activities including netball, basketball, softball, cross-country, athletics and action cricket, Precious somehow still finds the time to go to La Lucia Mall and watch a movie or hang out with her friends.
Precious was born in Botha’s Hill, but moved to the Durban North area in 1995. She says that unfortunately some of the schools she attended in her early school career weren’t equipped with the necessary sporting facilities, and she felt there was a lack of inspiration and a lack of support for pupils. Nevertheless, her passion for sport was always there and she says her mother continued to encourage her to be the best she could be, and to strive to achieve her goals.
Precious first became interested in netball while she was at Virginia Primary School and her love of the game hasn’t diminished so far. She presently plays First Team netball at Danville Park and occupies the Goal Defence position – not really surprising since she’s quite tall! She and the other team members recently went on a tour to the Cape, where they met the South African netball side. Precious explains how the ladies coached them, gave them some vital playing tips and advised them on how to improve their techniques on the court. During this time, she was given one of the Most Improved Player awards – no mean feat since other schools from Pretoria, Pietermaritzburg and Kingsway were also part of the training tournament.
Precious’ talents have not gone unnoticed. She has represented KwaZulu-Natal for netball, basketball and softball, and this year was chosen for the U17 Zonal (Durban North) netball team. At school, she was presented with Quarter Colours awards for her performance in athletics and cross country, as well as Half Colours awards for netball, basketball and softball. She is also the vice-captain of her basketball team, having been nominated and subsequently elected by fellow players. On the academic front, Precious came first in her class last year and is the current Class Captain.
When she finds a moment to relax, Precious enjoys watching NBA and Gladiators – she even reckons that she’d ace the elimination round if she ever made it onto the show! Precious says she loves her sport because it helps to maintain a healthy body and mind, and allows her to travel to different places and meet new people. She dreams of becoming a top-notch basketball player overseas, but is also interested in pursuing a career in sports management when she’s finished school. She advises all aspiring sports stars to take every available opportunity, never be afraid to try, and always remember that there are people to help and encourage you along the way. Sounds like good counsel from a young woman on the road to success.
- This profile piece was originally published in Career Counsel in July 2001.