Beauty of the Beast: Rugby’s more than just a game, it’s our life

2012-08-04 00:00

CINDY ANDERSON spoke to Kusiva Kwashe (or Ku for short), better known as the wife of Sharks and Bok forward Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira. She is the daughter of a pastor, became a Christian at the age of 15 and attends Glendridge Church in Durban.

In a candid interview, the mother of Beast’s 13-month-old daughter, reveals how she met her husband, how hands-on he is as a dad and her excitement ahead of the Sparkle Ladies Conference in Durban this week (August 8 to 10) to coincide with Women’s Month.

How did you meet your husband?

Through his mom. It wasn’t an arranged marriage, but she was the matchmaker. We spoke for about three months, and then he came to visit and proposed!

Does your man like to shop with you?

No! He doesn’t like it. The crowd comes to him and asks for pictures. He has to disguise himself. Groceries yes, clothes no.

What’s it like for you out in public?

No one recognises me; the crowd sees him. I’m more under the radar … but some do and they say “Hi, Mrs Beast”. Most don’t know my name, which is Kusiva Kwashe.

How do you cope with his trips away?

Sometimes it gets too much when they are often away, but I have a daughter of 13 months and she keeps me on my toes, distracted. Sometimes the other Sharks ladies get together for tea or dinner for encouragement and prayer. So we are like a family — it keeps us sane!

What’s his favourite dinner?

Sticky chicken, chutney chicken … he’s quite health-conscious. He watches his weight like a girl! [Big laugh] He tries to eat right and stay in shape. They get fined by the Sharks if they go over their body fat percentage.

What does his portion size look like?

Big! Feels like I am feeding a small army.

What is your traditional food?

Pap. I make it twice a week and he loves it!

Do you enjoy the limelight?

Sometimes, depends where we are. I try to accept people wherever we are. He is a celebrity and I honour that. It is his job and the people made him who he is, the Beast brand. Sometimes I just smile and wave. It gets overwhelming.

Does he ever try and bring you into the limelight?

He always tries and if anyone asks for a picture, he will say “first ask my wife” or, “did you greet my wife?” I am not always in his shadow, but don’t get me wrong, I do like being there, but he tries his best to include me. I am often the camera woman, because people go “Hey, the Beast! Please take a photo. Just click there!” I know all sorts of camera types.

How does he cope with a lost game?

He is calm about it. He shares his frustrations with me. He doesn’t shut us out; he is always open. I am the cheerleader, so it’s always everyone else’s fault if they lose. I just try to encourage him. I tell him the next game is coming and you gotta go “smash”.

How do you guys celeberate a win?

We like to stay indoors, play board games. Once in a while we might go out with the other Sharks guys. His way of celebrating is by having Red Velvet cupcakes. Actually, whether we win or lose, he will have Red Velvet cupcakes.

What does a romantic evening look like?

When we are going out, we always dress each other: he picks out a dress he wants to see me in, and I pick out something for him. Candlelight, ice-cream … or staying indoors. We are home people and love being indoors, and we know when we go out someone is going to take a picture, or want an autograph. We have a nice nest, and we relax there.

Tell us something about the Beast that no one else knows?

He is afraid of clowns … and he owns four pairs of shoes; same shoe, just different colours.

Do you wear flat shoes or heels?

Flat with the baby, but heels when I feel like it — six-inch stilettos! Depends on how I am feeling — even if it means walking through the passages of the house, I will wear them!

In my first job I was a waitress, and on my first day at work I wore heels, and everyone felt sorry for me. I never did that again. I am currently studying law full-time.

(Ku is a straight-A student.)

How are your nerves ahead of a big game?

I try to be calm so he remains calm. We have a box at the stadium. Everybody is welcome. The Sharks have a great system which is family-orientated.

How do you feel when Beast is out on the field and everyone’s shouting “Beeeast”?

So proud … and it’s quite overwhelming when they are chanting for him. With me at home he’s Tendai. This is his profession. It brings me so much joy, so I don’t take it lightly. It’s so humbling. He’s quite a machine on that field.

Where do you live and what role does the community play?

We live in La Lucia, Durban. The community is a big part of the game; they make the game. They are very supportive. Random people will come up to him and say “We love your work”, “You’re doing so well”, “You keep us entertained every Saturday” … I can say it, but when it comes from the next person, it has a totally different angle and view to it. The community supports us in every way — thank you! Before he goes out to the game, people SMS him, saying “Praying for you”, “Hope you don’t get injured”. It’s more than just a game, it’s our life. So it means a lot.

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