Striker is helping Bidvest Wits in their title challenge this season, but do you know which member of his family also played for the Zimbabwe national team, or that the Clever Boys forward was forced to flee a civil war?
Cuthbert Lifasi Malajila is the only child born to his mother and father, who were never married, which is why he uses his mother’s surname, Malajila.
His father, Ernest Makosa, played for Rio Tinto FC and the Zimbabwe national team. Makosa has children from other relationships, while his mother also got married and has two other children, Gideon and Brenda. Gideon (15) is a promising striker who top-scored in his age group league last year. There are also his cousins, Obert and James Malajila, who are coming through the football ranks.
Malajila’s parents have their roots in Malawi and were part of the massive migration of labour to Zimbabwe mines and farms in the 1950s. Cuthbert struggles with ChiChewa, the language spoken by his parents, with Shona his preferred language of communication.
Cuthbert is married and has three children – two girls and a boy.
The 31-year- old first completed his Ordinary Levels (Matric) in 2001 before venturing into football while playing in his hometown of Kadoma – a mining and cotton producing area. Malajila started his football career in the Zimbabwe lower divisions at David Whitehead Textiles, where he worked as a general labourer for 18 months at the fabric and thread producing unit of the company.
He reveals he was lucky not to have been sent for compulsory six-month military training when he joined Air Force club Chapungu. The team was doing so well at the time that the coach did not want to lose him. His uncles Bwanale, James and Malajila Malajila, all his mother’s siblings, played lower division football in Kadoma at Wildcats, Dairyboard and Conrock respectively. Bawanale is childhood best friends with SuperSport United assistant coach Kaitano Tembo, who also hails from the same town.
Through his success in football, Malajila has also been ploughing back into his community and is a director of the CUMA Football Academy, which he co-owns with his At the start of the Libyan Civil War, which ultimately led to the demise of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Malajila was playing in the North African country for Al Akhdar. With gunfire started just 100km away from his base in Al Bayda, he had to escape, taking a 12hour bus drive to Egypt. From there he took a flight to Johannesburg and then Harare. Due to his stay in Libya, he now has the nickname ‘Gaddafi’.