Nate Landman's NFL Helmet Adorned with Zimbabwean Flag: "I have a tremendous amount of pride being born in Zimbabwe"

In this year's National Football League (NFL) Heritage Program, there are over 330 players and coaches from more than 70 different countries and places. But out of all of them, there's only one representing Zimbabwe, and that's Nate Landman, who plays as a linebacker for the Atlanta Falcons.

Nathan Landman Zimbabwe
Nate Landman
Photo by Jay Bendlin/Atlanta Falcons

Nate Landman was born in Zimbabwe, and he's proud to be the only player in the professional American football league with Zimbabwean roots. "I have a bunch of Zimbabwe supporters that are in the U.S. and Africa as well," Landman said. "So, it means a lot to be able to represent where I was born and where my family is from, where my (extended) family still lives to this day," he says in an article published on the Atlanta Falcons website.

This special initiative happens in Weeks 7 and 8 of the NFL season. During these weeks, Landman's helmet has stickers with the flags of Zimbabwe and the United States. He wore them in the Falcons' recent win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Florida, and he'll wear them again when they play against the Tennessee Titans in Nashville. "Nobody ever believes me when I say I was born in Africa," Nate Landman says. "Just being different and being able to be proud of something else, I think that's the biggest takeaway,"  he continues. 

Nathan Landman Zimbabwe
Nathan Landman
Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Although Landman is the only NFL player with Zimbabwean origins right now, he's not the first. That title goes to Stansly Maponga, a former defensive end who also played for the Falcons from 2013 to 2014. Landman was born in Zimbabwe in 1998 and moved to the United States in 2002.

It wasn't until this April that Landman returned to Zimbabwe, the place he still considers home. It was a dream come true for him to connect with his roots and experience the reality of his birthplace.

Nate Landman, the Atlanta Falcons linebacker, is very excited to talk about Zimbabwe. He's proud to support Zimbabwe on a national level through his role in the NFL. Right now, the NFL Heritage Program is celebrating the league's international diversity, with over 330 players and coaches wearing flags from their home countries on their uniforms. 

For Landman, his helmet has both the Zimbabwean and American flags, a unique combination. "It means a lot," Landman says. "I have a tremendous amount of pride being born in Zimbabwe." He is thrilled to represent something bigger than himself - his family in Zimbabwe and the country itself. "I'm representing something bigger than myself, too. My family is in Zimbabwe. The country." he says.

Nate officially became a United States citizen when he was 20 years old, while he was in college in Colorado. In honour of his African roots, he got a tattoo of Africa on his chest, with Zimbabwe's outline close to his heart. He also has a lion tattoo, or "shumba" in Shona, the native language of Zimbabwe, on his upper left arm. Additionally, he has a tattoo of an African safari design that acknowledges the two Zimbabwean tribes and lists his family members' birth years in Roman numerals. This is his way of proudly claiming his African heritage, even as a U.S. citizen.

Nate Landman in Zimbabwe
Nate Landman in Zimbabwe

Nate plans to visit Zimbabwe every two years now, and his parents hope to make it a family trip in the near future. They are all very proud of their Zimbabwean roots.

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Mungwadzi Godwin

twitterinstagramI like sharing positive stories about Zimbabweans at home and abroad. I also write articles on Personal Finance, Fashion, Music, and Tech. Let's connect!

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