Nyasha Mharakurwa is a Zimbabwean sports personality who has has represented Zimbabwe at the London Paralympic Games in 2012. He was propelled to stardom by his talent in wheelchair tennis. He was one of the 1,000 young African leaders who were selected for the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellowship.
Nyasha was born on 13 April 1983 in Buhera, with a congenital deformity, a physical abnormality that affected his legs but that has not deterred him from realising his dreams. He is the third born in a family of five.
He went to Jairos Jiri for his primary education and then to King George Memorial for his O'Levels until he joined Founders College for his A'Levels. He is a 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow and a Master's degree in Sport Management holder from the University of Johannesburg. He also completed a Professional Development Experience with the sports arm of Ability360 in Phoenix, Arizona, as the culmination of his Mandela Washington Fellowship experience.
Mharakurwa, a multi-talented sportsman, had sporting artistry that saw him becoming a formidable wheelchair racer, a wheel chair basketball player and it was after he met Petros Ndlovu, his mentor during his time at Founders that he received his true calling in wheelchair tennis. “Petros asked me to try tennis and I would go on weekends practicing until I realised in 2007 that I was not that bad and that is when I undertook tennis.”
Indeed he was never to regret his gamble, as in the following year he waltzed past opponents, winning three wheelchair tennis tournaments in South Africa before being selected to be part of the International Tennis Federation Development team in London, where he also reached the last 32 of the British Open. His trophy haul has been nothing short of sensational, as he was crowned the Sportsman of the Year with a Disabity a record three consecutive times from 2008 to 2010 at the Annual National Sports Awards and being a finalist in the Sportsman of the Year category at the University of Johannesburg where he was studying for a degree in Sports Management.
Former African top ranked wheelchair tennis ace Nyasha Mharakurwa had a forgetful 2013 and his hope was to make a comeback to the sport that saw him winning a number of accolades in Zimbabwe and South Africa. Mharakurwa, once ranked among the continent’s best had dropped to 13th in Africa and a low of 217 in the world rankings according to the International Tennis Federation December 16, 2013 rankings.
As of 2015 Mharakurwa had won the Zimbabwe Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability award five times.
He started the NM Foundation to connect persons with disabilities to recreational sports—including swimming, tennis, and basketball—at schools and rehabilitation centers. The NM Foundation also conducts sports camps that promote health, build self-esteem, and foster community integration and social inclusion. “We want to use sports as a platform to promote the importance of education, to break stereotypes in the community, and to instill self-confidence so that [participants] go out and live their lives to the best of their abilities,” says Mharakurwa.
Upon completing the Fellowship and his master’s degree at the University of Johannesburg, Mharakurwa plans to reintroduce his foundation with a new mission in Zimbabwe. The foundation will focus on developing participants’ employment and income generation skills and creating Paralympic sports leagues in schools to better engage youth with disabilities.
- Won the Mafikeng Open and the Johannesburg Open in July 2009
- Finalist in the 2009 University of Johannesburg Sports Awards
- Zimbabwean ITF Silver Fund Project Ambassador
- 2012 ANSA Sportsman of the Year with a disability (wheelchair tennis)
- Ranganai Dzotizei, , The Standard, Published: 5 August, 2012, Accessed: 28 July, 2020
- Ricky Zililo, , Chronicle, Published: 4 January, 2014, Accessed: 28 July, 2020
- , Daily News, Published: 7 August, 2015, Accessed: 28 July, 2020
- Iftekar Husain, , Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Accessed: 28 July, 2020