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Boy (11) turns at-home tumbling into a professional sport

 A portrait of Ndabenhle "Enhle" Zulu (11) next to still rings at Gym & Tumbling Boksburg
A portrait of Ndabenhle "Enhle" Zulu (11) next to still rings at Gym & Tumbling Boksburg. Picture: Cebisile Mbonani

By Cebisile Mbonani

Eleven-year-old Ndabenhle "Enhle" Zulu walks in at Gym & Tumbling in Boksburg with his father, Mandla Zulu. He has a smile on his face and walks with a lot of energy, almost bouncing. He eventually leaves his father behind to join a hall filled with kids and young people, and jumps, symbolising strength, flexibility, control and balance.

Enhle first walked into the gym at the beginning of 2021. At the time, he had only seen gymnastics on YouTube and knew he could tumble around.

"No one introduced me to gymnastics. I found out about it on TV and YouTube. When I first came here, I thought we would tumble, but I found other stuff," said Enhle.

Since then, he has competed at the 2022 Gymnastics South Africa National Championships and is set to compete at the SA Aerialnatix Championship in Mauritius in February 2023.

Enhle is always high energy, giggles and smiles in all his training sessions.

"I met Enhle at the beginning of last year, 2021, under strict COVID lockdown restrictions, and from the beginning, when he started, you could have seen there is actually a talent, but it was still a diamond in the rough. He did a lot better than expected," said his coach Andre Geyer.

He said although Enhle started at level 1, which is South African-based gymnastics, they quickly moved him to level 2, which is American-based gymnastics.

Enhle thought he was walking into the playground to do more tumbling, and he soon learned he could do more than that and win. His father said this is a costly sport and requires a lot of travelling, but he sees his child's passion and eagerness, and they're doing their best to support him.

See Enhle's story in the video below:


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