From the day he was plucked out of rural Eastern Cape village life and plunged into the competitive national cricketing system, pace bowler Makhaya Ntini – the first black South African to play cricket for his country - responded with good cheer, fantastic team spirit – and 390 glorious Test wickets.

Did you know?

Makhaya Ntini retired from international cricket with 390 wickets from 101 tests.

As you pass a certain hill in the heart of Mdantsane Township outside East London, you will see a billboard featuring a great sporting icon of South Africa: Makhaya Ntini. He runs a local sporting academy focusing on young, under-privileged cricket players.

Not only is Makhaya Ntini the first black African cricketer to represent South Africa, but for more than a decade his cheerful, on-field running commentary spurred his teammates on.

He was born on July 6, 1977, in the tiny Eastern Cape village of Mdingi. On a day in 1991, a cricket development officer called Raymond Booi was in Mdingi promoting the game to the young villagers. The 14-year-old Makhaya and his mates passed by, herding their livestock home. Booi called them over, picked Makhaya out and gave him a cricket ball to bowl. The rest, as they say, is fast-paced history.

Makhaya was plucked out of rural life and given a bursary to Dale College in King William’s Town, known to be the hotbed of young Eastern Cape cricketing talent. He was soon integrated into the Border Schools' cricketing system – and beyond.

In January 1998 Ntini made a successful international cricket debut for South Africa in a 1-day game against New Zealand. His on- and off-field mentors were the great fast bowlers Shaun Pollock and Allan Donald.

Makhaya Ntini retired from international cricket in January 2011, but still plays for his province and works at his cricketing academy in Mdantsane, where you see the billboard of the grinning hero in cricketing whites…

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Cricket South Africa
Tel: +27 (0)11 880 2810

Imonti Tours (Mdantsane)
Velile Ndlumbini
Tel: +27 (83)487 8975

How to get here

Makhaya Ntini plays his cricket for the Warriors, the Eastern Cape cricketing franchise based in Port Elizabeth. You can see him play his home games at St George's Park. His cricket academy is at the Winter Rose Sports Field in Mdantsane, East London.

Tours to do

Imonti Tours is a recommended operator for Mdantsane township visits. The Imonti guide will also connect you with the Makhaya Ntini Academy.

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