During his 10 years on Robben Island, Jacob G. Zuma played soccer and was Captain of his team. He then went on to establish the Msholozi Tournament, out of his own pocket, with the aim of promoting and accentuating the use of sport in order to achieve peace, social cohesion and youth development, especially in rural settings. Most participants come from deep rural hinterlands, where there are no recreational facilities.

“We hope to develop talent for possible national players, support those that already exhibit talent and ultimately build Sports Academies in rural areas.” Jacob G. Zuma



The Foundation promotes chess as an extra-curricular activity at schools with the aim of assisting youngsters to develop critical thinking skills.

Shortly before becoming President of RSA, President Jacob Zuma met up with the KwaZulu Natal Chess association who had started introducing chess in Nkandla (a community based organization formed with the purpose to introduce, teach and promote the game of chess in Nkandla and surrounding rural areas). This is when the idea was born to use chess as an educational intervention to unlock the potential of young minds so they might succeed in every sphere of life.

Since December 2009, as part of the strategic moves to promote chess in rural areas of SA, KwaZulu Chess hosted an open annual chess tournament in Nkandla, naming it the JZ Chess Open. Through partnerships with the KZN Department of Sports and Recreation and the KZN Chess Association the initiative  has been a success every year.

In 2013 the Jacob G Zuma Foundation came on board and made the tournament one of it’s annual pojects. The event wwas renamed the JGZF Chess Open.