Siphosothando (17) and Khololwam (14) Montsi, are two brothers, who hail from East London in the Eastern Cape, who have put their put their faith on those words. They are both talented young tennis players who have set the international and local stage alight with their dedication, commitment and raw talent. Growing up in the most impoverished province in South Africa, Eastern Cape. You might ask yourself how it comes to being that these two find themselves involved in such a costly sport.
Had it not been for their parent’s decision to sacrifice their professional careers and the kind donors who have contributed towards to their journey, the endowments of skill, passion, confidence and shear courage possessed by these two young gentlemen could’ve been down the drain. Xolani and PhumlaMontsi, their parents, have gone to the extent of putting their jobs on hold to make sure that the dreams held by Sipho and Kholo stay afloat. For me this is more than just a story about two young gentlemen attempting to leave a mark in a game dominated by those who might be in a privileged situation, but it is also one of a lived reality by many poor South Africans. South Africa, one of the most unequal societies as a result of past injustices, sees many parents sacrificing to make sure that the fortunes of their children are much brighter than theirs. It is also about rising above all impossibilities and barriers, whether physical or psychological to make sure that many other kids like them are also inspired. As they have their sights at giving back to their communities once they make it on the global stage.
The stakes of these two making it on the international stage are quite high, as Judy Murray, mother of world number one Andy [Murray], said of Siphosothando after his Australian Open juniors’ performance: ‘Today I watched the most naturally gifted young player Siphosothando Montsi from South Africa.’
Having completed their apprentyiceships and plying their trades in South African tournaments and the Australian Open juniors, the brothers have now set their sights on bigger things, they were offered half scholarships to the renowned IMG Academy, but due to high cost they were unable to take the scholarships up: The brothers’ story is like another power duo of Venus and Serena Williams, with the latter, having attended the IMG academy herself. Serena has gone on to become one of the best tennis players at the turn of the century and in Siphosothando and Khololwam, the country may be waiting to unearth another power duo onto the tennis stage.
Some of Siphosothando’s latest achievements include being part of the Davies Cup Team as a hitting partner in 2017 and also finishing 92 nd in the ITF Juniors last year. On the other hand Khololwam became the youngest South African to win an ATP point this year at just 15. This was after he defeated 23 year old Canadian Riaan du Toit at the F1 Futures held in Stellenbosch. He went on to win his first ATP doubles point as he partnered South African stalwart Tucker Vorster as they went as far as the Semi Final.
Tennis is rarely seen as a sport where two black brothers from the Eastern Cape can make it and Siphosothando and Khololwam are on a mission to change that scope for many other aspiring tennis players across the country and an enrollment at the IMG academy would set the course for this part of history making. So talented are the siblings, that they were offered places at the IMG Academy in Florida last year. However, they couldn't attend due to financial constraints, but Montsi hasn’t given up hope just yet. ‘The IMG academy is one of the best academies in the world. Unfortunately, due to funds, we weren’t able to go but we are still trying to go because while they have given us a scholarship, it is still really expensive, especially with the rand. As soon as we get the funds, we’ll be on our way.’
Siphos and Kholo are at the Anthony Harris Tennis Academy in Cape Town where they have recently moved. Succeeding in a sport with many obstacles: talent, passion, courage and hard work are not qualities that these two are short of. But rather finances to aid travel, accommodation and sponsorship (of kit and equipment) to carry on competing on the international stage. These are the three most significant costs which hinder the two from reaching their rightful spot.
The Montsi brothers are breaking barriers, but it is not without the hardship of financial constraints and their dreams would be realized with you assisting in the abovementioned costs. At this point the Montsi Brothers humbly request your assistance.