Shortly after receiving her South African colours for chess, Amahle Zenzile (11) from Crossroads, Cape Town has been invited to once again represent South Africa at the African Youth Chess Tournament to be held in Namibia.

Two years ago, Amahle who lives with her grandmother, started playing chess for the Crossroads Chess Club. It didn’t take her long to become one of the best players in her age group, maintaining an impressive rating of 1 284 and winning almost every tournament she took part in, in the Western Province Metro area.

Thando Hlakula (37), who coaches Amahle at no charge and has guided her every step of the way, says her determination and her aptitude for chess is unmatched.

“Amahle has gone on to win a number of gold and silver medals. She has been named ‘best player’ numerous times. She is currently ranked 2nd best player in the Western Cape and for her age category, she is currently ranked 5th in South Africa!” says Thando.

Amahle’s consistent hard work paid off in March this year at the SAJCC Closed, where she played against the top 30 u/12 girls from across South Africa.

With a crowdfunding campaign launched on BackaBuddy by her best friend and fellow competitor, Trinity Van Beeck (12), Amahle was able to afford the trip to Johannesburg to compete in the event. With quiet confidence, she went on to receive her South African colours and finish 5th in her age group.

Since then Amahle has gone on to win the Western Cape Schools Chess under 11 Girls division, the South African Schools Chess under 13 girls tournaments and has been invited to represent South Africa at The African Youth Chess Tournament from December 14-22, 2019, in Namibia.

“The progress she has made in a very short space of time is quite remarkable. There is no diction to convey how proud and happy I am for her and looking forward to the African Youth in Namibia,” says Thando.

To cover the costs of the trip to Namibia, as well as the registration and accommodation costs, Amahle’s friend, Trinity has once again set up a crowdfunding campaign on BackaBuddy to appeal to South Africans to support Amahle’s chess dreams.

“My beautiful friend has a warrior spirit and I am so proud to be her friend. She is a shining beacon of hope to other children in her community. I am inspired by her every single day and I would love to help her on the next part of her journey. She is so deserving of this opportunity,” says Trinity.

The crowdfunding campaign went live on October 8, and has already raised R 3 387,66 towards the fundraising target of R40 000 with contributions from 12 donors. 

Trinity’s mom, Marisa Laas (41), couldn’t be prouder of the dynamic young ladies.

“Just as we had no doubt with our last BackaBuddy campaign that Amahle would go on to achieve her South African Colours, we are all absolutely certain that she will go on to become a Women’s Candidate Master at the African Youth Chess Championship,” says Marisa.

Trinity has also qualified for the South African Junior Closed Chess Championship to be held in 2020, where she could also earn her SA colours and go on to compete internationally alongside Amahle next year.  

“These two beautiful girls inspire and push each other to be the best and as a mom I couldn’t be prouder of them both. Even at their young age they understand the importance of women supporting other women. We as adults can learn so much from them,” says Marisa.

To make a donation to Amahle’s campaign on BackaBuddy, visit https://www.backabuddy.co.za/Amahle 

“I would like to thank everyone who has supported Amahle in any way, without your help none of these achievements would have come to fruition and there is more talent to be unearthed with your generous support,” says  Thando.

Picture: Supplied

Article written by

Lucinda Dordley

Lucinda is a hard news writer who occasionally dabbles in lifestyle writing, and recent journalism graduate. She is a proud intersectional feminist, and is passionate about actively creating a world which is free of discrimination and inequality.