The Witness - - NEWS -

“BEAST” was a big boy, ag­gres­sive and a bully, but he de­cided to chan­nel his strength into rugby.

Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira, the Zim­bab­we­born Sharks and Spring­bok prop, this week joined a cam­paign to com­bat bul­ly­ing in schools.

He told hun­dreds of pri­mary school pupils in Jo­han­nes­burg that he knew what bul­ly­ing did to peo­ple and that it had long-term ef­fects.

“It stays with you, even when you’re an adult, and it causes you to make bad de­ci­sions,” he said.

Mtawarira was not a bully be­cause he had trou­bles at home.

He bul­lied other chil­dren sim­ply be­cause he was big.

“But I de­cided to use that strength in sport,” he said.

His seven-year-old daugh­ter was bul­lied re­cently, he said, and more than once came home com­plain­ing about bul­lies.

“I re­mem­ber how an­gry I got and I wanted to go to the school to con­front the bul­lies, but that is not the way to do things.

“You just get an­gry when your kids get pushed around at school,” he said.

It is just some­thing he does not want his chil­dren to go through.

“I al­ways wanted to be an in­spi­ra­tion to chil­dren. Chil­dren who are bul­lied need to speak up. Don’t stay silent. Don’t be a vic­tim. Stand up against it. There are ways to talk about it.

“Tell some­one. Speak to a leader who is not afraid of telling teach­ers,” he said.

Mtawarira added that it is un­fair that chil­dren who are go­ing through a phase take it out on oth­ers.

To the bul­lies, he said: “It’s a bad thing. It’s ugly and has long-term con­se­quences.

“Use other ways, like sport, to chan­nel your ag­gres­sion, or speak to some­one if you need help.” — WR.

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