Zonwabele Hlulani, who attended the NMMU/FIFA/CIES Executive Programme in Sports Management six years ago, answers some questions about his professional career and the importance of education in sport.
Could you describe your professional career in a few words?
I am an educator by profession and I have been working at Charles Duna Primary School for 24 years. This institution is located in the township of New Brighton in Port Elizabeth. Besides teaching the pupils – girls and boys from 9 to 14 years from difficult backgrounds- their standard school programme, we try to give them the opportunity to find a better place in the community - which is essential. As a teacher and a sports person, my life is busy with the education of young minds and the physical development of young players. This is what I enjoy most in my professional activities. It is both very challenging and exciting!
How did the NMMU/FIFA/CIES Executive Programme in Sports Management benefit you?
In various ways. Of course, I can use some of the tools which I acquired with this Programme in my job. Even the simple learning in communication or management can be useful. I also greatly benefited from the Programme in some of my activities as a volunteer. Actually, I am an administrator in the South African Handball Federation as the Head of the Competition Commission. The classes at NMMU gave me a deeper insight of how to do things professionally, and more easily.
Do you have any particular stand out memories of the Programme?
Yes, I have a lot. I cannot forget the people I met. Not only the students and the teachers, but also the local and international experts. I also enjoyed the discussions both in class and during the breaks, the sports activities on campus and also the exams at the end of each module.
What is your favourite sport? Favourite sportsman / sportswoman?
My favourite sport is football - both on a playing field or on television. It results from the fact that Zinedine Zidane is one of my idols. However, I am also open to other sports. For instance, Caster Semenya, one of the most impressive middle-distance runners, also belongs to my list of favourite athletes.
Where would you like to be in the next 20 years?
Retired of course but still active in my community. I would like to give advice to the young generation of administrators and coaches. This would be a nice legacy to the NMMU/FIFA/CIES Executive Programme!
What piece of advice would you give for the future of sports management in South Africa and in the wider region?
There are many. But the most important is: “Go back to school to learn again”. I consider that one should put one’s routine into question. Our environment is changing rapidly and it is essential to keep pace with it. Education is one of the most efficient tools to achieve this objective.