The Story Of Panashe Muzambe: The First Ever Black Woman To Represent Scotland At Rugby


Panashe Muzambe is a 24 year old woman from Zimbabwe who became the first ever black woman to play rugby for Scotland. Her story is a powerful tale of courage, determination and love. Courage to live without her mother in Africa for five years before an emotional reunion at Gatwick Airport ahead of their new life in Scotland.

She sat down with BBC podcaster Chris Iwelumo where they discussed her journey from Zimbabwe to Scotland, being a role model and racism. Below are excerpts from their conversation, you can catch the conversation here
 
I was born and raised in Zimbabwe because my mother moved here. First I was brought up by my aunties and uncles while my dad was working, so a lot of my extended family played a massive role in my upbringing, and that's very common for us. We joke about how family for the black communities is everyone, so anyone's auntie or uncle.

Then at 12 me, my father and brother got the opportunity to comes across to Scotland, and we had a nice family reunion at Gatwick airport. I can remember it vividly, it was March and it was a little bit cold. I say a little bit I mean very cold!

It was very challenging, but we needed to embrace that because mum was doing the best for us. It meant I could go to school, it meant we had food on the table, it meant a lot of things.

Then it was literally: come to Scotland and get enrolled into school, and I think that really stressed the whole importance of education for my parents. It was like, we're not here to play around. We didn't get a tour of Scotland, we didn't get a tour of Edinburgh.

When I was at Napier University they were starting a new rugby team and I literally rocked up at where they were doing a try session with a pair of trainers. But from that day I was hooked. We played a lot of tennis in Zimbabwe. So the girls would play tennis throughout the term and, for me, it was Serena who stood out because not only did she look like me, you know, but she was so powerful. And I just wanted to emulate the smallest amount of strength that she showed on the court.

But my rugby coach at Napier, who was playing for Scotland, spoke to me and was like "Nashe, I think you could do something". Because I didn't know rugby that much, I didn't actually know if I was good at all. I just felt like I was there having a kickabout every Wednesday. It was extra motivation to take a second look at myself.
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