Makhaya Ntini 2013

Makhaya Ntini was born on 6 July 1977 in Mdingi near King William’s Town. The former South African cricketer was the first Black player to play for the South African team.

Ntini was first spotted by Border cricket development officer Raymond Booi who did the rounds in the villages, introducing young boys and men to the game of cricket and looking out for anyone with talent who might be nurtured. Makhaya recalls that he was passing by one day when Booi was visiting, going to fetch cattle and horses, when he and some friends were called closer. He was given a ball and told to bowl. The results stunned Booi who knew he had found someone with enough raw talent to be turned into something special.

Booi arranged for Ntini to attend Dale College in King William's Town, a school well known for its sporting prowess. When he first arrived at the school aged 14, the budding cricket star could not speak a word of English!

Progressing in school cricket, he represented Border Schools at the Nuffield Week in 1994 and 1995, and in 1995, was also selected for the under-19 national side making his first-class debut against England and claiming nine wickets.  By the end of 1997, he was touring Australia with the Proteas and in January 1998, he made his one-day debut in Perth. His SA test debut came against Sri Lanka in the same year and he was also part of the winning South African team at the Commonwealth Games.  

Lord’s Cricket Ground will always be hallowed turf for Makhaya where in 2003 he became the first South African to take 10 wickets at this ground. On 17 December 2009 he played his 100th test, becoming the only black South African cricketer to reach that mark.

Makhaya is the third of only four South Africans to take 300 test wickets. He also reached second place in the ICC test match bowling ratings.  Like many of our top cricketers, Ntini played for the Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League until the 2010 season.

After his retirement from international cricket in November 2010, he vowed to remain involved in developing the game in rural areas.  Conscious of the impact of poverty on opportunities for life-success, and in the spirit of giving back to the community, Makhaya established the Makhaya Ntini Cricket Academy - providing aspirant young cricketers with skills and ensuring holistic individual development, with life skills, computer literacy and financial education being part of their training programme. In 2011, he was named Cricket South Africa’s first Cricket Development Ambassador.

For his contribution to the advancement of cricket in the forgotten rural areas of South Africa and his role in scouting for young talented players in such areas, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University is honoured to present Makhaya Ntini with the Council Prestige Award.