Ashe’s Soweto dream revived

first_img5 April 2007The Arthur Ashe Tennis Centre in Soweto has reopened with a new look and a renewed ambition: to groom the famous township’s first tennis champion.The eight-court mixed-use precinct, originally built with funds donated by Ashe in the 1970s, has been refurbished to the tune of R4.5-million.Speaking at the opening ceremony on Saturday, Ashe’s widow, Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, said it was a special occasion for her and for the legacy of a man who had dedicated a large part of his life to fighting social injustice.“In 1976, Arthur felt compelled to build a tennis court in a township where underprivileged and sidelined people stayed,” she said. “Today a tennis court welcomes people of every race to enjoy tennis.”The revamped centre boasts a new clubhouse with a bar and lounge leading to a terrace overlooking the courts, new ablution facilities and separate restrooms for umpires. The centre complements the library and skills development centre that were built in the wider precinct at a cost of R9-million and R4.2-million respectively.South African Tennis Association chief executive Iain Smith said that national and international coaching clinics would be conducted at the centre, with the ultimate goal of producing Soweto’s own Arthur Ashe.Ashe’s challengeAshe, a former world number one the first black man to win the US Open and Wimbledon, was a spirited anti-apartheid protester.In 1970, when Ashe was the top-ranked American in the game, he applied to play in the South African Open, which was at that time a prestigious event, regarded just below the level of a Grand Slam tournament.Ashe knew his chances of being granted a visa were slim, given South Africa’s apartheid policies at the time, and he was right – his application was turned down.Ashe responded by calling for South Africa’s explusion from the International Lawn Tennis Federation and the Davis Cup. He immediately received plenty of support, successfully drawing the world’s attention to the iniquity of South Africa’s former political system.His actions also lent weight to a number of other sporting codes imposing sanctions against South Africa.Ashe in South AfricaIn 1973, Ashe was finally awarded a visa and made it to South Africa, becoming the first black man to contest the South African Open.His fight against apartheid didn’t end with his admittance to the country, however. In 1985, with his playing career already over, he was arrested while taking part in an anti-apartheid protest outside the South African embassy in Washington.And in 1991 he was part of a 31-member delegation of prominent African-Americans who visited South Africa to observe political changes in the country as it moved inexorably towards becoming a democracy.Sadly, he never saw that day come to pass, as he died from Aids in 1993. He had contracted the disease from a blood transfusion during bypass surgery 10 years earlier.SAinfo reporter and City of JohannesburgWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

4 Tough Conversations You Must Have to Succeed in Sales

first_imgWe like selling when it’s collaborative, when we get to help our clients through their process. We don’t like it so much when we have to deal with the inherent conflict that is part of sales and selling. If you are going to succeed in sales, you are going to have to be comfortable and confident having some tough conversations. Here are four of them.Time: The very first conversation you have with your dream client is tough conversation. You have to ask them for the commitment of time so you can explore working with them. They have to deny your request because they are too busy, they’ve said no to everyone else, it wouldn’t be fair, and they’re certain you aren’t going to make it worth their while. You want to be collaborative, but the very first conversation begins with your client telling you “no” and you refusing their very first request. If you want in, you have to have this conversation.Access: Once your past that first tough conversation, you have to ask for access. You need access to information, and if you are really good, information no one else has asked for. You also need access to additional stakeholders. Your new contact struggles to give you information. What do you need it for? What are you going to do with it? No one else has asked for it? She struggles to give you access to other stakeholders. Why do we need them? What if they take control of this project? What if I lose the relationship? If you want access, you have to have this conversation.What’s Right: Your dream client thinks he knows what he wants. But he’s wrong. What he wants isn’t going to solve his problem, and it isn’t going to deliver the result he believes it will. But he believes it nonetheless. You have to tell him he can’t have what he wants, it won’t work, and why you don’t want to give it to him. If you want to really serve your client as a consultative salesperson and trusted advisor, you have to engage here.Price: Your price is higher than your competitors. It’s higher than what the client is paying now. But it is the right investment to produce the right result. But still, your client pushes back. He wants a lower price. He wants to compare you to your competitors, none of who can deliver what you deliver. If you are going to win at the price that delivers results, you have to talk about the right investment.last_img read more