Springboks centurion Tendai ‘The Beast’ Mtawarira has joined his Rugby World Cup winning captain Siya Kolisi in addressing the Black Lives Matters movement. Kolisi shared a video last week explaining the struggles he has faced throughout his professional career, stating: “I felt my life didn’t matter since I was a little kid growing up in a township”.
He also highlighted the culture change that occurred in the Springboks squad under Rassie Erasmus, whereby Kolisi became South Africa’s first black captain.
His teammate, Mtawarira, who was instrumental in the RWC final victory over England in November wrote on Instagram: “After listening to Siya’s take on Black Lives Matter and inclusion in South Africa, I felt compelled to make this video and stand in solidarity and support with him.”
The 117-cap loosehead wrote about “how systems in our country have marginalized certain demographics and ethnic groups”, as well as how “you have to put in twice the work to get half the opportunities available”.
Though the 34-year-old will no longer be part of the Springboks squad having bowed out of the Test arena after the RWC victory, he also underlined the culture shift that has happened in the national setup over the past two years.
He wrote: “But diversity with no inclusion is futile. I’m glad over the last 2 years the Springboks through Rassie’s leadership, have begun to address what was once the elephant in the room and it’s already started to bear tremendous fruit.
“I look forward to the day when this blueprint is the norm rather than the exception.”
‘The Beast’ also shared a video to accompany his message where he talked about what he has learned throughout his 15-year professional career, firstly that “sport unites people”. He said:
“Sport can make a difference in someone’s life. It made a huge difference in my life.
“The biggest success that I achieved, and all the trophies I accumulated over my career, came about because we as players chose to look past our differences; the colour of our skin, our different backgrounds, our different cultures, and we embraced each other and we all became one.
“I think this is the same for everybody that is in the corporate space, in schools, in the community.
“We all need to look past our differences, look past the colour of our skin, look past our cultures and embrace each other, embrace each other for our differences because they strengthen that.
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“We need to afford each other the same opportunities to excel and I really feel that in this time, in this moment, we’re at a crossroads, we’re at a pivotal moment where we have to make a decision, where we need to address certain things we might have ignored in the past and we have to bring them to light, because for us to move forward we have to address the big elephant in the room.
“We have to bring about those conversations that are going to bring discomfort to everybody but are going to allow us to grow.
“I feel the decision that we make today will impact our kids, the future of our kids, the future of the next generation and we need to make a change, we need to bring about a difference.”
This is the full video:
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After listening to Siya's take on black live’s matter and inclusion in South Africa, I felt compelled to make this video and stand in solidarity and support with him. I have a full understanding of how systems in our country have marginalized certain demographics and ethnic groups. It’s not easy doubting and second guessing yourself, not because of your lack of talent and drive but because you do not fall into certain “acceptable” categories . It’s difficult to come to terms with the fact that you have to put in twice the work to get half the opportunities available. We need to afford eachother the same equal opportunities in sport, corporate spaces, schools and the communities at large. We need also harness the power of our diversity. But diversity with no inclusion is futile. I’m glad over the last 2 years the Springboks through Rassie’s leadership, have begun to address what was once the elephant in the room and it’s already started to bear tremendous fruit. I look forward to the day when this blueprint is the norm rather than the exception #blacklivesmatter??????#bethechangeyouwanttosee#thetimeisnow ????#pavingthewayforthenextgeneration
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