Three young tennis talents from South Africa have been selected to attend an international BNP Paribas Young Talent activation at the French Open in Paris on Saturday, 28th May.

The three players travelling to the international event include Simphiwe Ngwenya, Heike Janse van Vuuren and Devin Badernhorst. Among them is Fifteen-year-old Ngwenya from Cato Crest township outside Durban who has honed his talent in the BNP Paribas RCS Rising Star Tennis Programme. After taking up the sport in 2016, he was one of the outstanding performers in the second edition of the competition in 2021.

Speaking about his impending travels, Ngwenya said: “This event is another amazing opportunity for my future in tennis and I feel very fortunate to be chosen to represent South Africa in this programme thanks to the sponsorship of BNP Paribas. I look forward to meeting some of the best young talents from across the world and testing my skills against them.”

Outside of the Rising Star competition, Ngwenya's rapid progress resulted in the youth prospect reaching the semi-finals of the 2021 Growthpoint Junior Nationals and the quarterfinals of the KwaZulu-Natal Growthpoint Super 8 tournament. With tremendous potential, Ngwenya has also been able to work on his growing skillset as part of the Growthpoint Development Centre programme at Westridge Park Stadium.

Speaking about BNP Paribas’ worldwide sponsorship of tennis, and in particular, the Bank’s support of grassroots tennis in South Africa, Kieran Fahy, CEO BNP Paribas South Africa CIB said: “This trip is indicative of our mission to nurture tennis through our nation-wide school’s tennis tournament. It’s especially rewarding for us to see young players grow throughout the journey of the competition and represent their country on a global stage to showcase the wealth and diversity of sporting talent in South Africa.

“BNP Paribas is a proud sponsor of tennis globally, we’re proud to build synergies between our programmes locally and provide young players with the opportunities they deserve. I wish each young player the best of luck, and we’ll be cheering for them from South Africa.”

ABOUT RISING STAR TENNIS

Launched in 2019, Rising Star Tennis programme is a nationwide school tennis tournament sponsored by the French global bank, BNP Paribas and their wholly-owned subsidiary RCS Group. A sports project with a purpose, Rising Star Tennis aims to provide opportunities for primary and high school boys and girls, as well as physically disabled players from hundreds of schools around South Africa. The initiative aims to:

  • Make tennis a more inclusive sport in the country & provide equal opportunities.
  • Create more playing opportunities for Primary and High School boys and girls, as well as physically disabled players from all communities.
  • Promote tennis at the grassroots level and utilise sport as a powerful tool to empower youth.

Nearly 800 schools and over 3 000 school kids participated in the second edition of the programme in 2021, with 34% of the participants from underprivileged schools.

ABOUT BNP PARIBAS

BNP Paribas is the European Union’s leading bank and key player in international banking. It operates in 65 countries and has nearly 190,000 employees, including nearly 145,000 in Europe. The Group has key positions in its three main fields of activity: Commercial, Personal Banking & Services for the Group’s commercial & personal banking and several specialised businesses including BNP Paribas Personal Finance and Arval; Investment & Protection Services for savings, investment and protection solutions; and Corporate & Institutional Banking, focused on corporate and institutional clients. Based on its strong diversified and integrated model, the Group helps all its clients (individuals, community associations, entrepreneurs, SMEs, corporates and institutional clients) to realise their projects through solutions spanning financing, investment, savings and protection insurance. In Europe, BNP Paribas has four domestic markets: Belgium, France, Italy and Luxembourg. The Group is rolling out its integrated commercial & personal banking model across several Mediterranean countries, Turkey, and Eastern Europe as well as via a large network in the western part of the United States. As a key player in international banking, the Group has leading platforms and business lines in Europe, a strong presence in the Americas as well as a solid and fast-growing business in Asia-Pacific.

BNP Paribas has implemented a Corporate Social Responsibility approach in all its activities, enabling it to contribute to the construction of a sustainable future, while ensuring the Group's performance and stability.

ABOUT RCS

Founded in 1999, RCS is a leading consumer finance company that serves more than 2.5 million customers across South Africa, Namibia and Botswana. Having become a wholly-owned subsidiary of global bank BNP Paribas in 2015, the RCS group employs over 2000 people and offers a range of credit and personal finance products including Cards, Loans, Insurance and Car Finance.

Today, RCS is the largest provider of white label consumer finance products in South Africa, powering credit solutions for over 30 of South Africa’s largest retailers. Committed to uplifting the communities in which it operates, RCS – as part of its CSR initiatives and in partnership with TSIBA Ignition Academy – supports local start-ups through Level Up, an enterprise and supplier initiative. The initiative empowers local start-ups to grow their businesses through various innovation and mentorship programmes.