10 Questions With Dad Tendai Mtawarira On Life, Business And Rugby

“I see myself as a role model to other fathers out there.”


Nadim Nyker |

Father’s Day is around the corner and we sought some advice from one of South Africa’s favourite dads – Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira.

He sat down with MH and gave us some fatherly advice. We also caught up on his business ventures, the importance of being a role model, and how he stays well-groomed. Plus, he let us in on his Rugby World Cup excitement!

You’re 33 now, how has rugby changed for you in this part of your life?

I’ve been very privileged to have a long career. So obviously rugby’s changed a helluva lot,” says The Sharks prop. 

“One of my biggest threats is my scrumming, I’ve seen scrummaging change a lot. From having a full on engagement-process to now having a bind-process to try to slow the impact down and make it safer for the young kids out there.

“I’ve seen the game get quite complex with all the camera work around it. So now you can’t get away with a lot of foul play,” he jokes.

How do you balance family life and rugby? Share your secrets.

Tendai with son Wangu (middle) and daughter Talumba (right)

Tendai is a dad to seven year old daughter, Talumba, and five year old son, Wangu. “It’s very important for me to balance my career and my family. I always make sure that when I’m away from the game, I give my family my full attention, and I give them my utmost best.”

And that means taking daddy duty seriously to help wife, Kuziva. “And for my wife, I always make sure I take the reins – when I’m at home with the kids, I do homework with them, I play with them, take them to the arcade, whatever they want to do. But I also try to teach them good life lessons.”

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Speaking of the life lessons you teach your kids… Let us in on some of them?  

“I always teach them respect, I teach them to respect other people and then respect themselves as well. And pretty much also being humble is a big one: never be big-headed or think that you’re better than others,” he says.

“I always make sure I pass those virtues down to them. And also for them to live life to the best of their abilities and just have fun.”

How important is it for you to maintain a healthy family environment?

“There’s a lot of fatherless homes out there…I see myself as a role model to other fathers out there.”

“For me, it’s the most important job that I have: being a father figure in my household and providing for my family. That’s quite a big problem we have in our society, there’s a lot of fatherless homes out there.

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“I kind of see myself as a role model to other fathers out there – this is the way you are supposed to treat and care for your family and look after them. So I take that very seriously and I pride myself on it.”

For you, what will be your ideal Father’s Day?

Tendai with son Wangu (right) and daughter Talumba (left)

“My wife will plan something. Usually a picnic in the Midlands here in KwaZulu-Natal with all the treats that I like. The kids will probably make me a unique gift, you know. My daughter likes to do drawings of me on the field so she’ll probably do a little drawing of me running with the ball in my hand. And my boy will probably make me a little ball or something – he’s more creative like that.”

As an athlete who is always in the public eye, how important is it to stay well-groomed?

“It is very important. Especially because we do a lot of training, so you’re always sweaty and we take a couple of showers a day. I use my Dove Men Plus Care products, they always look after my wellbeing and make me feel that I smell good. I’ve also got my beard oil, Beard Gang By Beast which is actually one I invented myself, and I look after my beard – I actually think of it as my mane – you know, like a lion,” he laughs.

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You’re also a businessmen and have done some work with Dove, tell us about your business ventures?

“I have been very privileged, I’ve actually done a lot of work for Unilever so to be an ambassador is really great and exciting to be apart of this campaign and partnership with such a prestigious brand.”

When it comes to business, his hands are full, too. With Tendai being a brand ambassador, investor and company director. Plus the pro-athlete owns his own marketing company. “I actually have a lot of projects I’m busy with besides playing rugby,” he says.

“It’s very important to plan for life after the game. At the moment I’m involved in the Fidelity Security Group, which is the biggest security company in South Africa. I’ve been involved with them for eight years, I’m also a shareholder and a director in the company. Besides that, I have a marketing company that I started last year called Beast Promotions. It’s pretty much my long term plan after rugby,” he adds. 

The World Cup in Japan is getting closer. How do you feel?

“For me it’s super exciting! I’ve been dreaming about this year for a long time and to actually be in it is surreal. And for me, right now my focus is to work super hard to make the final team that jumps on that flight on the 31 August to Japan. So that’s my focus and it’s super exciting!”

You were injured recently, how do you mentally approach injury at this stage of your career?

“I’m doing well, man. I’m on the mend, I should be playing against the Stormers,” he says. “And on the injury front I have been very blessed in my career to have minimal niggles. I’ve only had minor injuries that have set me back for at most maybe two months. So I’ve always managed to come back stronger from my injuries.

“It’s also about my approach. I don’t look at injuries negatively, it’s upsetting to not be on the field but I always make sure I dedicate my time more to my family, I maximise my business ventures so I don’t waste that time. So when I come back my mind is fresh and revitalised and I’m ready to go again.” 

What are your dreams now?

The one that comes straight to my head is to win a World Cup, man. Winning a World Cup is everything to me. It’s the reason I stayed in South Africa in 2015 when I had an option to play overseas, I sat around because I want to be a part of a successful World Cup. I’ve played in two so far and I’ve lost, so this is seen as my last shot.

“My dream is to go out there and be impactful in the community, to help others realise their dreams.”

“But my dream is also to go out there and be impactful in the community, to help others realise their dreams,” he adds. “There are young men and women out there that come from underprivileged background and think that because of their circumstances they can’t achieve anything in life. For me, it’s about inspiring them and empowering them to believe they can be whoever they dream to be.”

For Beast, at the end of the day all it takes is belief and hard work. “It only takes a whole of effort and belief and before you know it you could be just like me.”

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