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Benjani opens up on family, parenthood

Former Zimbabwe international footballer Benjani Mwaruwari is committed to making sure his children understand that it’s not only about natural talent that helps them succeed, but also working hard to achieve your dreams.


Benjani Mwaruwari
Benjani Mwaruwari

What’s the one lesson your father taught you that’s stuck with you?

My father taught me not to frown upon my background and to respect everyone I come across, regardless of their background. I am who I am today because I’ve remained humble.

How do you set an example for your children about what it means to be a dad?

The most important lesson I teach my children is to learn from their mistakes and not to be hard on themselves; to be able to grow and help others along the way, and to give back.

What’s the most important conversation to have with your kids?

Teach them about the challenges they will face in life and [that I] don’t expect them to live my life. [I want to] allow them to be themselves.

What kind of financial legacy are you teaching your children? I’m teaching my children to work hard for everything. The legacy I am leaving them is one where they’ll be wise about both property and applying their resources. Money is just a tool; it’s not everything. Money comes and goes.

What’s the one thing you want to say to the mother of your children about parenting?

The mother of my children is the best anchor that I’ve had and supports me every step of the way. She’s been the most important, constant figure in my children’s life. I am grateful for all the sacrifices she’s made for our children, as well as being my number one supporter in my football career.

How do you foster good communication within your family?

I’m not someone who’s very talkative and I’m a bit reserved, but I encourage my family to address issues openly and for my kids to be able to go to their mother with anything. They must be able to share their ideas freely with us.

What have you found most challenging about fatherhood?

Being a footballer and changing teams has meant moving around a lot and the most challenging aspect was to be around for my children as much as I could. Now that I’ve retired from professional football, I am more available to them than I was before. —

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