14 September 2020 | Story Nonsindiso Qwabe | Photo Varsity Sports
Kovsies netball captain, Sikholiwe Mdletshe

Each year, the Mail & Guardian invites nominations to find the country’s 200 most exceptional young South Africans. From 8 000 nominations this year, those who stood out from the rest of the pack and possessed unequivocal skill and talent, were selected as the who’s who of their field across 11 categories. Kovsies netball captain, Sikholiwe Mdletshe, who is also the vice-captain of the Free State Crinums netball team, was selected alongside four other sportsmen and -women as the top young people to look out for in the sports category. 

Mdletshe is completing her Postgraduate Diploma in General Accountancy at the University of the Free State. She began playing netball professionally in her first year. She has gone on to play in many provincial, national, and international tournaments, and has captained the Free State U21 netball team, as well as the national U21 team. Some of her accolades include being named Player of the Tournament at the 2019 National Championships and being part of the team that won the Varsity Cup in 2018.

She said she discovered her love for netball as a Grade 10 learner in Middelburg High School. An injury in her first year led to a seven-month break; she said she was not sure whether she would ever be able to play again, but that experience also made her appreciate netball more. “It’s important to have a clear vision for your life because if you don’t have one, you sort of just roam around and it’s easy to get distracted. I’ve always been active, I’ve always wanted to be on the field, and I did everything, from soccer to touch rugby, but the love for netball has just stayed with me all these years.”
She recently started giving back to girls in underprivileged communities through her newly launched foundation, Girls Got Game, which uses sport to bridge the gap and help girls from low-income communities through mentorship, guidance, and life advice.

“Most people only give back at the end of their careers, but I thought why not start now while I’m still playing. It’s also been very easy for girls to relate to me this way.”

“I’ve been very lucky to have received the opportunities I’ve received. Being listed on the Mail and Guardian’s top 200 hasn’t really sunk in, but I’m feeling blessed, it’s really mind-blowing and I’m really excited for the future and what this means for me. “

One thing is sure, this is a very well-deserved win for Mdletshe. 

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