Middelburg’s Amahle Zulu plays Zuma at chess tournament

Her parents have described the moment as the most exciting – saying they are so proud of her.


8-year-old Amahle Zulu has scooped a medal for her participation in the Jacob Zuma Foundation chess tournament, playing against and getting an opportunity to interact with the former President.

She’s from the Mpumalanga area of Middelburg.

This week Amahle and her mom Nomasonto answered media questions.

Her few minute game with Jacob Zuma in KZN last week Thursday (20 Dec) ended with her winning a medal.

A child of chess fanatic Alex Sibeko, Amahle is known in the Nkangala region of Mpumalanga for her chess talents and making local newspaper headlines.

In August 2018, the Grade 2 learner from Elusindisweni Primary School won the Nkangala district foundation phase tournament.

It is this tournament that qualified her to come play with Zuma at the Sibusisiwe Hall in Mandeni – North of KwaZulu-Natal – during a planned annual tournament.

The game between the two could not finish because of time.

Her mom Nomasonto, who also attended the event last week, told the 013NEWS reporter that after their game the two had an interaction and Zuma asked her a few questions.

Middelburg's Amahle Zulu plays Zuma at chess tournament

Amahle Zulu and former president Jacob Zuma

“What’s your name?” is what Zuma asked her.

“Amahle,” she replied.



“What are you here to do?” Zuma asked her.

“I’m here to play chess,” she told the former president.

He then asked her what Grade she is and Amahle replied that she’s in Grade 2.

“That’s nice,” Zuma said.

“You must concentrate on school and you are a beautiful girl,” he told her.

Speaking to 013NEWS, her mom told us how proud she is of her.

“I am very proud of her. And I will support and assist where I can. I may not give the her best education but I am willing to help so that she can go to China as per her wish.

“Chess needs a lot of thinking but at her age she is doing wonders. I’m so proud of her. And so wish they can assist those kids further,” Nomasonto said.

In a voice note sent to us by her mom, Amahle said that she started playing chess at the age of four and was taught by her father Alex.

“I knew Zuma through my mother. She used to show me on TV and was really nice interacting with him,” said Amahle.

(edited by ZK)

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