Mignon du Preez is a South African women’s cricketer and right hand batter, who captained the Momentum Proteas from 2011 to 2016 in all three formats (Test, One Day International and T20’s). She made her debut for South Africa in January 2007 aged 17 and as it stands she is the women’s cricketer with the most matches as captain in both ODI’s and T20 matches. She is also the highest run-scorer for South Africa in T20’s and ODI’s. Amazingly Mignon has now appeared in five T20 World Cups as well as three ICC Women’s World Cups in the ODI format. In 2016, she became the first South African women’s cricketer to score 1,000 runs in T20’s and in the 2017 ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup she became the first South African to play in 100 ODI matches for her country. Mignon will also be remembered in the history books for scoring a century in her 1st innings of her first Test match against India whilst captaining the game.
Mignon began her story by telling us a little bit about her upbringing. She told us “I’ve been very fortunate to have had a very strong support structure growing up and parents that always went the extra mile to help me reach my full potential. My Dad didn’t really have the best upbringing and he didn’t necessarily have a Father as a role model growing up. However, he made a decision that his circumstances would not dictate his future, which is often what so many people in life do and repeat a pattern of failure that may have gone on in their families for a long, long time. He decided that he would like to become a Father his children can look up to, someone they could be proud of and so that’s exactly what he did”.
Although Mignon was probably always destined to become one of South Africa’s best cricketers, she started playing cricket by accident, when she was only 4 years old. She tagged along to watch her 7-year old brother play in the mini cricket league. One of the other boys never turned up and as Mignon was already kitted out in team t-shirt and shorts, her Dad said maybe she could help out. As young as Mignon was she must have forgotten to read the script and as a result went on to be the best batter of the day and simply fell in love with the game from there. She continued to play against the boys until high school showing great potential and that was realised to an extent at a very early age, when as a 13 year old schoolgirl in a provincial match, Mignon scored a remarkable 258* not out of just 96 balls. We can only imagine what the crowd must have been thinking or even whether they were too busy trying to find cover to think anything, as missiles rained down all around the ground that day as Mignon smashed an incredible 16 sixes and 28 fours. Just 4 years later, she was walking out to face Pakistan in her first match for her country and as we now know, went on to great success from there.
Mignon always felt she was blessed to have been given the talent to play cricket and seeing a quote one day that read ‘your talent is God’s gift to you, what you do with it is your gift back to God’ really reminded her of that. For all of us thee will be those moments in life that really put into perspective what everyone you do is for and about and it’s at those times that often become the moments that make or break your future. She said of that moment, “It really inspired me to compete for Christ, I wanted to give God a beautiful gift back and decided to use my talent to glorify His name. Cricket was no longer just a sport to me, it became an act of worship”.
Mignon was quick to recognise that many of you may have not had the greatest experiences with or without your birth parents. She especially wanted you to know that that doesn’t mean you can’t one day become great role models yourselves, just like her Dad did. Mignon’s strongly belief that you’ll always have a Father in heaven that loves you just as you are. She believes His promise in Jeremiah 29:11 in the Bible, that He has an awesome plan for each and every one of you and wants you to be successful. Thus, Mignon wants to do what she can through her gifting in cricket and as a person, to inspire you all over the next few years. That includes achieving her next main goal of becoming a World Cup winner at the T20 World Cup in November. Before then, Mignon will be involved in number of tours and series against some of the best teams in the world and with many of those matches live on TV, we’ll all be able to follow along to see exactly what she can achieve.