Rakhudu sets the basketball wheels in motion

“It tells me I am on the right track and there is so much more to be done”

DARK grey clouds have for decades engulfed South African basketball. To even mention the country and the sport in one sentence is an anomaly.

Occasionally, the dark clouds do disperse and a ray of sunlight does permeate, giving hope that the potential of the sport can be leveraged to benefit present and future generations.

That ray of sunlight has been the achievement of Kgolagano Rakhudu, who was recently named in the Mail & Guardian’s top 200 young South Africans. Rakhudu was acknowledged for the work he is doing to empower the youth through the Ball In Motion (BIM) and the Royal Bafokeng Jr. NBA programs based in Rustenburg, North West province.

Kgolagano Rakhudu
Kgolagano Rakhudu has honoured for his work in basketball. Pictures: Supplied

Rakhudu, 29, expressed delight at his achievement and described 2020 as the year when it all came together.

It’s an honour and a privilege to be recognised as one of the top young South Africans making an impact in the work they do. And this year things fell into place. It has increased the confidence I have in my ability to carry on with the work I do at Royal Bafokeng and Ball In Motion. It tells me I am on the right track and there is so much more to be done. As the saying goes, to whom much is given, much is expected,” said Rakhudu, who works as head of operations at Royal Bafokeng Jr. NBA.

It was not the first time Rakhudu had entered the Mail & Guardian initiative. Last year he was unsuccessful in his attempt to be nominated. Instead of being discouraged, Rakhudu reverted to the proverbial drawing board, did a reassessment of what went wrong and a change in fortune happened.

“I remember I applied last year, but I was not selected. What I learnt from that process was, I probably did not submit most of my work. So, to be nominated this year, I did a better job of putting together the information about my work and I applied earlier when it was advertised. It was a great process. Being among 6000 applicants and going through each stage. It was mind-blowing,” said Rakhudu, who is a co-founder of BIM along with Tshepo Tau and Cornelius Ramostho.

Rakhudu and his associate’s brainchild, BIM was conceptualised from the need to develop young players, especially girls.

Third Pic
Kgolagano Rakhudu strives to improve himself so that he can make in roads in basketball.

After engaging with other basketball programs, BIM came to fruition in 2016.

“Ball In Motion has always been a vision of ours, since 2012. Tshepo and I started a girl’s program at Royal Bafokeng. This came from the realisation that there was no dedicated program in the entire country for girls. It was also inspired by attending Basketball Without Borders and NBA Youth Camps. My colleague Cornelius also attended camps in New York, Chicago and Canada. The turning point for the three of us was attending the Giants Of Africa program in Botswana and Basketball Without Borders program in Angola.

“While on our travels. Speaking among ourselves, we said: ‘Okay, there’s no time to waste, this is it. When we come back, we are going to put our vision in motion’. It was in September 2016 that we launched Ball In Motion and later in December of that year we launched our first camp for the top 40 girls in the Bojanala area in the North West,” said Rakhudu.

Rakhudu and his colleagues have begun reaping from the seeds sown. Recently, former Michaelhouse pupil JC Oelofse was awarded a scholarship to Western Reserve Academy in Ohio, United States.

JC Oelofse was one of the stand out performers at the Ball In Motion camp. Picture: THEBTO

We met him in 2018 at a national tournament where we communicated with him about his admirable basketball talent. We then invited him to a camp in March last year and later selected him for our inaugural All Africa camp at Sun City, where he was the tournament’s MVP. We proceeded to recommend him for Basketball Without Borders held in Senegal, last year . He did very well and was selected to the all-star team of that camp. He was one of the top three shooters as well. He represents what Ball In Motion is about,” said Rakhudu.

On his future in basketball, Rakhudu wants to spread his wings as far as possible and explore the avenues available in the sport.

“I try to be as versatile as possible so that I can fit in the various career paths available in basketball. If you look at the NBA, you’ll find that former players are involved in various positions, from being franchise presidents, general managers and coaches.

“For me, the pathway was through scouting. That is the reason we started Ball In Motion. I would like to be an international scout in Africa. Another career I enjoy is basketball operations. I see myself working for the league office of NBA Africa and helping them with their grassroots and business development. That is one of the reasons why I am doing a business degree so that I can improve myself,” concluded Rakhudu.


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