Growing up in Marondera, a small city just outside of Zimbabwe’s capital city of Harare, kicking bottles along the ground on her way home from school was normal for Panashe Muzambe. She grew up around a lot of boys and after school she and her cousins were encouraged to go outside and play football instead of sitting around watching TV or getting under the feet of their aunties.
“I think for me, this is where my participation in sport actually kind of grew because there was a bit more there to do,” she says. And grew it did, in 2019 Panashe became the first black woman to be capped for the Scotland rugby team.
At her primary school in ‘Zim’, Panashe “really wanted to do sport”. The sports they played would change seasonally; netball, hockey, tennis and swimming, and she would do them all, competing weekly against other schools as well. Her favourite was tennis. When she moved to Edinburgh with her family at 12 years old, she wanted to continue playing tennis but “what actually transpired was to play tennis in this country [Scotland] is quite expensive”. At school however, she flung herself into P.E. and the extra-curricular sports on offer, taking up football and basketball.
“Education for my family and a lot of immigrant families [is very important]. They want you to be a doctor, a lawyer or an engineer and if it’s not quite that it’s, ‘what are you doing with your life then?’”