MIDLANDS STATE University women’s volleyball star Tafara Ruvarashe Leen Mawoyo’s life revolves around three things — food, singing and sport.
Mawoyo is currently in the third year of her Food, Science and Technology degree studies at the Gweru-based institution and is on industrial attachment at National Foods in the capital
When it comes to food, Mawoyo is an epicurean; when it comes to singing, she is melodious and when she’s on the court, she plays with passion.
“I always liked food so thought of how I could interact more with food. My mom taught me food science, so I couldn’t be a chef because you only focus on a few people
“But being a food scientist means that you can help millions and millions of people. You get to make different type of products and analyse them. Food processing plants can’t function without a quality controller,” Mawoyo tells the Daily News on Sunday.
But among the three, volleyball is dear to Mawoyo’s heart and she will do anything to make sure she remains on the court
“I always liked singing so I was in the choir from Grade 4 to Form 6. In primary school, I always liked to go to the volleyball court to watch people play and that actually made me love the game even more and it pushed me to learn how to play
“Volleyball is closest to my heart because just watching people play wasn’t enough for me. I started playing volleyball in Grade 6 and it was kind of easy for me to learn since I really liked it,” Mawoyo said.
The 21-year-old is the last born in a family of three girls and ever since she was in Grade 7 in 2011, she has been the beneficiary of a Higher Life scholarshi
The scholarship has paid for Mawoyo’s school fees at Murehwa Central Primary, Murehwa High School and now at university
“So in order for them to keep on paying for my tuition, I have to strike a balance between sport and education
“The fact that I have passed even when I’m doing sport puts me at an advantage when it comes to pay-outs given to students by the organisation,” Mawoyo added.
The MSU setter draws inspiration from his uncle Tino, a former Zimbabwe batsman, who played 11 Test and 7 ODIs between 2006 and 2016
“We barely meet because he’s a busy person and I was mostly at school when my family had reunions
“But seeing him become popular as a cricketer inspired me a lot to focus more on the things that make me happy and become someone better and well respected. It made me realise that people who do sports matter too.
“It’s not only an educated person that can excel in life but also people who are good in sports. In our family, Tino is someone who is highly respected and he earned that respect at a very young age and that made me want to do sports even more,” she said
Mawoyo had to be patient when she arrived at MSU as she only broke into the first team in her second year but it was worth the wait
“In my first year tournament in the first team last year at the ZTISU Games last year, we won a silver medal
“That was a great experience; it made me get used to the system and made me more confident. My coaches Sindiso Phiri and Nyaradzo Makuyana thought it was a great opportunity for me to be part of the Youth Games
“We got a gold medal there and that made me realise that sport is fun and is worth the sacrifice. Being part of the National League was the best experience that I had ever had in my life.
“It was challenging yes but it made me tough and got me exposed to a lot of things that I didn’t know about.
Although she has to juggle school and volleyball, Mawoyo is unfazed by the prospect and wants to purse both.
“I know that I really want to go as far as possible with sports; if it means working in the food industry but playing sports as well, then I’m up to that challenge.
“The national league games motivated me to push harder so that I can go to Zone IV Southern Africa Club Championships as well.
“I can travel to so many countries just because of sports. I really want to be one of best setters in the country or in the continent,” Mawoyo said
Last season, MSU did not have the best of seasons and Mawoyo is hopeful they will correct their record this coming campaign
“The best players MSU had, who had experience when it came to games, finished their degrees and there were a few new players, so when we recruited new players most of them had to start from zero
“They didn’t even know how important winning is, of which there was little time to teach them how to be good at the game and confident
“I think we should train more, recruit more experienced players, not just people who are starting from scratch, train with other teams when we are on vacation, have more friendly games so that everyone gets used to the system and teach people to have self-motivation,” she said. . . . . ” . . . . . . . . p. . . . .