Ginsberg golfer needs funds to fulfil dream of studying in the US
A budding Eastern Cape golfer’s chances of gaining experience in the US are being hampered by a lack of finances.
Sinokholo Thumani, 21, from Ginsberg, secured a scholarship at the McCook Community College in Nebraska but the prestigious institution will only cover his tuition fees, and not his flight and accommodation costs, which are estimated to be more than R130,000.
Thumani, who was introduced to golf through the South African Golf Development Board’s (SAGDB) coaching programme, lives with his parents, who are pensioners. He has until July to source the amount.
My dream is to go the US and return as a professional golfer and help my communitySinokholo Thumani
“When I got the letter informing me about this opportunity I knew my life would change for the better. But unfortunately it doesn’t cover my accommodation, flights, health insurance, meals and student F1 visa,” Thumani said.
“And I am expected to be there in the third week of July or first week of August. So I really don’t know what’s going to happen because this could change my situation at home.”
Thumani has been playing for 11 years. He quickly went through SAGDB ranks and graduated into the Border regional squad.
He’s since represented Border at the SAGDB interprovincials in 2015, 2016 and 2017. He also made the main junior border U19 side three times — twice in 2016 and once in 2017.
“I hope I can secure these funds. If everything goes well this year, they will foot my entire bill for next year.
“They’ve assured me they will pay for my studies and will handle my logistics for tournaments. But they can’t offer me anything more than that.
“I need about R90,000 for accommodation and food and about R40,000 for flights.
“My parents really can’t afford that so I’m just going to see what happens.
“It’s painful because I got this far because of hard work and now my dream seems like it’s not going to happen because of money,” he said.
He still has to apply for a study visa but without having secured a roof over his head — paying for it and getting proof that he’s not going to be on streets, the US embassy in PE will not allow him to apply for the permit, which also takes about three to five weeks.
He said having learnt the sport from some of the well-known Ginsberg golfers such as Dr Vuyisile Ngoqo and his mentor Ben Jonas, he would also like to give back to his poverty-stricken community.
“Given the chance, I’d come back and help many people around me because in my community there’s a lot of hopelessness.
“My peers are not working and they can’t afford to study at university, just as I can’t. So my dream is to go the US and return as a professional golfer and help my community.”
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