It’s the life of Brian, no regrets, after all, he brews his own beer

Harare – Brian Mujati would probably have been in the Springbok squad, for the Rugby World Cup 2015 in England, if he had stayed in South Africa but, even after two uneventful years in Paris, he isn’t the kind of bloke to regret anything.

He will be 31 by the time the Rugby World Cup 2015 bandwagon rolls into England and even if one gets the feeling he won’t get another chance, from here onwards, Mujati doesn’t seem to care a lot about opportunities that were probably missed.

After all, he can still brew his favourite beer and share with his social media followers how much he is shedding the weight that turned him into a monster prop, in years gone by, into a well-built but, still, massive athlete.

There is also the little, but very important, issue of a young family that needs to be taken care of these days and he makes sure that his social media followers don’t miss anything about his life through regular YouTube postings of his programme called, “The Life of Brian.”

His last of a dozen Springbok caps against England came, in an impressive 42-6 Test win in 2008, just a year after the Boks had been crowned world champions in France, and given that he was just 24 back then, he seemed set for a long haul in the team.

Of course, it didn’t happen that way.

Some blame the South African media, who swallowed the propaganda of some political activists who saw him as the right high-profile prime target for their onslaught against Zimbabwe’s land redistribution programme, simply because his father had benefited from that exercise.

“The story broke in South Africa that my father had been involved in land-grabs and was using that to fund my career. A guy whose farm was taken by my father wrote about what happened. He had a son who played rugby,” Mujati told British newspaper, Daily Mail.

“In the week leading up to my first Test for the Springboks, he was saying that there were so many opportunities his son could have had if my father hadn’t taken his farm. I didn’t even know where my father was.

“I tried to let it blow over, but it escalated. So when I left South Africa I was relieved and thought that everyone would just leave me alone.”

Others blame his frankness, in criticising what he believed was a Springbok selection criteria that was based on race, and the courage that he had to criticise it openly and, in the process, fell out with those who matter in the game.

“South Africa pick guys because of their race, because they’ve got to have two or three black guys in the squad,” he said.

“It became clear I was one of those selections. I called my agent and said I wanted to leave.”

After a club career that flourished in England, playing for the Northampton Saints and which even brought the Springbok selectors knocking on his door for another dance with the Boks, Mujati left for Paris to play in the French Top 14 and, by his admission, he hasn’t set the stage alight.

With the Rugby World Cup on the horizon, one would hope to see a deflated Mujaji, wondering about what might have been but, instead, you find a man at peace with himself, enjoying brewing his beer and turning himself into a hulk with a rigorous workout regime in the gym.

After all, according to Mujati, it has already been “one hell of a trip.”

“For the most part I just been thinking, just been reflecting on a lot of things. You know I have been in France for two years, it has not been my greatest time in rugby,” he says on his YouTube programme.

“So, coming back (home) and thinking back it reminds me of running around in my Suzuku 175 motorcycle and just fantasising what life would be like if I was a professional rugby player . . . something hit me and this thought crossed my mind.

“If someone had come to me 10-15 years ago and said to me, ‘You know Brian this is what is going to happen. In a few years’ time you are going to go to South Africa. It’s gonna be hard as f*** somehow with some stroke of luck you going to survive. In matter of few years you gonna be a Springbok. Then you gonna go to England it’s gonna be f****ng awesome. You probably gonna play the best rugby of your life.

‘Then you are going to go to a huge club in France. It’s gonna be the best club you have ever played at. It probably won’t go well you will probably hate it most of the time . . . Then you gonna come back to Harare and you gonna have a bit of money in your pocket and you gonna look back at this great unbelievable experience that you never imagined,’ I wouldn’t have believed them.

“But being here I can’t help but feel really humbled I haven’t won a lot of trophies, Curie Cups, World Cups, things you might associate with rugby success.

“You know when I went to the Zim rugby game. I played with most of those guys in club rugby when I finished school. Those were the cards I was dealt, that’s where I am supposed to be playing, but here I am a Racing Metro player.”

And, he believes the game has been very good to him.

“Rugby has been great for me. At the beginning it was tough. I used to work menial jobs, I used to be a waiter, I sold supplements, I was a personal trainer, I did coaching, I tried to be a bouncer, I sold paper strays, and I sold computer components,” he says.

“Eventually I made a little bit of coin. I got married. I had my kids. I had my family. I helped my siblings go through school. I’m just so grateful. I think know when I go back (to France) I can’t help but take comfort that this is where I am from. To a large extent I forgot who I was. I’m really glad I came to Harare and I had this experience.”

Surely, not the kind of guy to regret anything.

July 2015
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