On Friday, January 29, 2010, Grassroot Soccer Co-Founder and Zimbabwe Director Methembe Ndlovu was awarded Dartmouth College’s 2010 Martin Luther King Social Justice Award. The awards recognize members of the Dartmouth community who have contributed significantly to social justice, peace, civil rights, education, public health, or environmental justice. One of the three awardees in 2010, Methembe received the Emerging Leadership Award, in recognition of his vision, enthusiasm, and persistence in the fight against HIV and AIDS in Zimbabwe. Methembe was unable to attend the ceremony in the US and was presented the award at GRS’ Football For Hope Centre Opening in Cape Town, South Africa.
“I feel honored to receive such a prestigious award. I am fortunate to have an opportunity to affect young people’s lives in such a direct way — one can work a lifetime without getting such an opportunity,” said Methembe. “I am always humbled by the energy and enthusiasm young people here have for life and the challenges it carries, despite growing up in an
extremely difficult period for our young country. They are the ones that keep our team going.”
GRS’ Co-Founder, CEO, and former teammate of Methembe’s, Dr. Tommy Clark, who received the award in 2006, accepted the award on his behalf.
“The power of role models is key to Grassroot Soccer’s success – and Methembe is mine,” said Tommy. “He had the vision and talent to leave Zimbabwe when he came to study at Dartmouth and the courage and conscience to return. As a former national team captain and one of Zimbabwe’s most recognized figures, his work with young people on a daily basis is a
powerful example for others.”
Methembe was born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe and was the first from his area to attend Dartmouth College. After Dartmouth, he returned to Zimbabwe, where the idea for Grassroot Soccer was born. He has captained both Highlanders Football Club and the Zimbabwean National Team, and his intelligence, charisma, and skills as an educator make him an invaluable asset to the GRS team. Methembe now serves as the Director of GRS Zimbabwe, in addition to his roles as the Coach of the Zimbabwe Under 20 National Team and Co-Owner of the new Bantu Rovers in Bulawayo.