Slice of life: I walk like Serena now

My grandmother introduced me to the sport of tennis. She herself always wanted to play when she was young but she never got the opportunity because of her background. I was 10 when my grandmother took me to the newly revamped Arthur Ashe Tennis Centre in Jabavu, Soweto. The centre was donated by Arthur Ashe, world champion and the first African American to win the US Open, Wimbledon and the South African Open.

I quickly fell in love with tennis and ended up walking myself to the centre every day after school to play.

In 2016, world champion sisters Venus and Serena Williams visited the centre. My coach Oupa Nthuping told me about the visit and that I would get to not only meet them but also to play a game with them! Imagine my excitement.

When the Williams sisters came, I was wearing new shoes. I remember being so uncomfortable and nervous. The shoes kept making squeaky sounds as I walked.

“Hello Mmabatho,” greeted Serena Williams. I was in awe and was only able to reply after what felt like an eternity.

I got to play with my favourite of the sisters, Serena. She picked me and said she liked me “because you have a body like mine, and I believe you play as good as me”. Just imagine! Venus doubled up with another student and Serena and I won the match!

The experience inspired me to carry on strong and do well in tennis. It raised my self-esteem and the body-shaming comments from my peers, who said that my body is built like a man’s, started affecting me less. I walk like her now. — Mmabatho Makgale (17) as told to Tiisetso Lesotho

We make it make sense

If this story helped you navigate your world, subscribe to the M&G today for just R30 for the first three months

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.”

Related stories


Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Latest stories

Uneasy peace in Mooi River after riots brought town to...

The KwaZulu-Natal town’s strategic location on the N3 corridor brings with it the danger of renewed unrest

Time for young leaders to take over ANC’s top six...

The justice minister, who is angling to become the party’s deputy president, was quick to add that there should be a generational mix in leadership

Editorial: A political solution from Ramaphosa or Gordhan will not...

After more than 10 years of meddling and the countless executive game of musical chairs, please leave political actors out of Eskom problem-solving. This is a problem to be solved by Andre de Ruyter and the unions and the ‘rogue’ employees working outside the established channels

God, the Gunners and Gordhan

Number 1 should take some tips from Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta and finally clear the cabinet of some deadwood

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…