Photo Credit: Cricket South Africa
On 13 October 2021, Cricket lost a true ambassador of the game in Advocate Mthetheleli Ngumbela, affectionately known as Bawu Ndlovu. The sport enthusiast, philanthropist and businessman from Healdtown passed away following a tragic car accident.
In 1989, Mr Advocate Ngumbela started the Ngumbela Cricket Tournament in his rural areas (Alice and Fort Beaufort) in order to remove children from the streets during the festive season. The rural areas residents spent time playing and watching games. The cricket spectators filled up the cricket fields and enjoyed the entertainment and interaction. What inspired him to start this tournament amongst other things was his passion for the game he loved so much and the desire to develop good cricketers who would not be able to make a mark in South African cricket.
The Ngumbela tournament is well known and has played a massive role in South African Cricket as it assisted to unearth the raw black African talent in the Eastern Cape. Eastern Cape Iinyathi players, Jerry Nqolo, Mncedisa Malika, and others like Vuyisa Makhapela, Mthiwekhaya Nabe and Bhongelwethu Makeleni who are products of his tournaments.
He sponsored these tournaments for over 30 years from his own pocket. He built the clubhouse, pitches, playing grounds, nets and accommodation for this tournament. Ngumbela Park has been developed to a state-of-the art stadium.
His contribution to cricket could not be quantified, as he touched so many lives, but he will always be remembered for his generosity, passion for the game and determination for getting the job done. It is time for us to honour his legacy!
Border Cricket and the Ngumbela Family will be hosting the Ngumbela Legacy Cup in his honour. Border Cricket would like to continue and build on the legacy left by “Baw’uNdlovu” Ngumbela to change a community through the love of the game of cricket.
Two days of a Cricket Festival is planned for 24 and 25 September 2022 and will include:
Day 1 – Saturday 24 September 2022
• 10:00: Iinyathi Women vs Eastern Province Women
• 14:00: Selborne College 1st Team vs Alice Regional Performance Centre XI
Day 2 – Sunday 25 September 2022
• 10:00: Champs of Alice XI vs Champs from Fort Beaufort: Lamyeni Hard Catch (Finalists of the January Ngumbela Final)
• 14:00: Eastern Cape Iinyathi vs Gbet Warriors
The festival will take place in Healdtown at the Ngumbela Oval.
The festival will mark the 1st anniversary of his passing and also co-incides with Heritage Day.
For many years, his tournaments grew from strength to strength due to the tremendous role he played in ensuring that the cricketers are taken care of. Young aspiring cricketers had such deep love for cricket that the amount of excitement around at the tournaments was something spectacular to experience. This festival must be testimony to the many lives that he touched and his passion for rural tournaments and the raw black African talent in the Eastern Cape.