"Things work out best for those who make the best of how things work out."
Gugu Mdladla – Netball Scholarships at the University of Johannesburg
Palesa Matona – Netball Scholarships at the University of Johannesburg
Nomasonto Mashaba – Sports Woman of the Year Runner-up
Nomasonto Mashaba joined Diski Nine9 in 2018 as a netball program assistant to the then netball chairperson, Mbalenhle Maseko. In 2020, she took on the chairperson role and has played a huge role in making sure that our netball league and tournaments are well executed and the organization’s goals are achieved. Nomasonto was nominated for the 2021 Sports Woman of the Year at the Gauteng Premier Awards. With her great work and our support, she came second overall and couldn’t repeat her previous first prize award in 2019.
Mbalenhle grew up in Soweto and was always interested in sports. She started playing netball at an early age and as she grew older, Mbalenhle started coaching a netball team. Upon joining Diski Nine9 in 2016, she realized that the organization only focused on soccer. With her experience in netball, she saw it fit that we include netball in our School & Sports Holiday Programme and it was approved. Mbalenhle ran a netball league on behalf of Diski Nine9 for schools and clubs around Soweto. After coordinating these leagues for 2 years without being paid, the founders of Diski Nine9 were impressed with her commitment and employed her as a Project Manager on a 12-month paid internship. Additional to managing the netball league, she also managed a group of individuals who are part of the Diski Nine9 Sports Hospitality Academy.
Meet Fezile Hlophe. In 2015, Fezile joined Diski Nine9 as a soccer referee at 15 years of age. Fezile is a throat cancer survivor who has become South Africa’s youngest professional soccer referee at age 16 when he officiated a professional soccer match between Kaizer Chiefs vs. University of Pretoria. Diski Nine9 has worked with Absa to make a short film titled “Madala” about Fezile’s life in an effort to raise funds to provide extra lessons to help Fezile pass grade 11 and grade 12. Due tocancer treatment, Fezile was in and out of school for 2 years and as a result, his education suffered. With the help of Absa, Fezile managed to finish high school. The short film seen by over 1 million people on social media was seen by John Carlin, the author of Invictus the bestselling book that was turned into a Hollywood blockbuster. John Carlin requested Diski Nine9 to tell Fezile’s story in an Amazon Original 6-part documentary called ‘This is Football’ that premiered globally on 2 August 2019. Through working on ‘This is Football’, Diski Nine9, John Carlin and the Harry Crossley Foundation identified Fezile’s talent in front of the camera and have raised funding for Fezile to enrol at a film school in 2020. We believe that Fezile’s love for film and sports will make him a great sports TV journalist and presenter in the future.