Affectionately known as 'The Beast', he said of this name, "It didn't come because of my good nature. It was a nickname given to me by my friend in school. I was a bit of a bully when I was in primary school. I was a big boy and used to throw my weight around a bit."
Born Tendai Mutawarira on 1st August 1985 in Harare, Zimbabwe, the Shona boy has become one of Zimbabwe's most celebrated sportsman. Tendai is an international top rugby player who was discovered at the age of 15 while at Churchill by a Zimbabwean coach Joey. He was headed for greatness when he received a fully paid scholarship to study at Peterhouse one of the top elite schools in Zimbabwe. This was where the "beast' in him was unleashed.
By 2008 Tendai had become a member of the Springboks in South Africa. However, he could not play in the national team because of South African law which prohibited non-South African citizens from playing in national team representing South Africa. In early 2010, Tendai could not play for South Africa Springboks in an upcoming national game because ANC (South Africa ruling political party) objected to his legality to play despite being qualified to play for South Africa through IRB's three-year residency rule. There was a threat to deport him.
Responding to the threat Tendai said, " I am a South African at heart. I love this country. It has become my home. It is everything to me." Irish Times
By mid 2010, favour fell on him and he was granted South African citizenship and there was no stopping him.
This Wednesday the 34-year old announced his retirement from international rugby and went out as the most capped prop in Springbok history. He retired in style as South Africa lifted the Webb Ellis trophy in Yokohama Japan last Saturday.
Quoted in SA Rugby he said, " I am grateful for the opportunities afforded to me by many top coaches at the Springboks and the Sharks and grateful to my numeral teammates in green and gold and black and white over the years."
"But most of all, to my wife Kuziva and our two beautiful children Talumba and Wangu for sacrificing so much to allow me to chase my dreams. I really appreciate it immensely." He goes on to say ,"---but can honestly say that winning the rugby world cup is the perfect ending and cherry on top."
Tendai is married to Kuzivakwashe Mutawarira and together they have two beautiful children a girl Talumba and a boy Wangu.Tendai once explained that his daughter's name Talumba is a Zambian Tonga name with same meaning as his name Tendai meaning 'be thankful'. His son's name Wangu means 'my own in relation to people'
Tendai is a tough looking man but always with an unblemished smile. His mother was quoted in State Media after Springboks won the Rugby World Cup saying she was proud of her son's achievements.
This 2019 Rugby World Cup win for South Africa was extra special in that it was the first time Springboks had a black captain Siya Kolisi lead them to victory.
Congratulations to Springboks and good luck to Tendai 'The Beast' Mutawarira.