Arthur Ashe Tennis Center and Library
Soweto, South Africa
The Arthur Ashe Tennis Center and Library, located in Soweto, South Africa was rededicated on March 31, 2007. Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe was present and recorded this footage that shows the refurbished facilities while Wire Zondi, now a Ward counselor, recalls what Ashe and the facility mean to him.
Erected in 1974 during the Apartheid era by Arthur Ashe, it was intended as a facility for black South Africans at a time when it was illegal for races to mix in South Africa. During the Soweto riots in 1976 it was severely damaged and remained in disrepair for years. Recently, funds were allotted to fix the center, which is unprecedented in South Africa due to its combination of tennis courts and learning areas. Programs at the center focus on both tennis and academics—which Arthur always stressed in conjunction with each other—so that a new generation of student—athletes can have access to these tools to help them succeed in life.
Watch video from a 2007 trip
Recorded in March, 2007.
Video courtesy of Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe
Did you Know?
In 1973, Arthur Ashe became the first black pro to play in South Africa’s National Championships. Prior to his arrival, Ashe told the South African government that he would not play in front of a racially segregated audience and would not accept limitations on his free speech while in South Africa.