Rising rugby star Mawande Mdada’s love affair with rugby started at the tender age of 10 when a primary school coach invited him to a training session. It was a fateful day that ignited a lifelong passion for the sport.
The Mandeni-born Mawande, joined the UShaka Warriors at just 11 years old, and despite his youth, he displayed potential and enthusiasm that caught the eye of coaches and players alike.
Recognising his budding talent, Mawande’s coaches introduced him to the concept of Talent Identification and it became a turning point in his rugby journey which later led him to participate in the Hollywood Foundation iQhawe Week.
Despite many setbacks, Mawande’s dreams materialised in 2018. Not only did he secure a place in the Durban U15 Development Team, but he also earned titles as the “Forward of the Tournament” and “Player of the Tournament.” These accolades cemented his position on the Hollywood Foundation iQhawe Week.
“I knew that 2018 had to be my year. I wanted to make my family and coaches proud,” Mawande said.
His outstanding showing at the iQhawe Week opened doors to esteemed rugby schools with scholarship offers pouring in from prestigious institutions, including Jeppe Boys High School, Westville Boys High School, and Maritzburg College. His choice was Maritzburg College, marking the beginning of a remarkable chapter in his rugby journey.
In his matric year, Mawande received two junior contracts, one from the Cheetahs and the other from the Bulls. Ultimately, he chose the Bulls, marking a significant stride in his promising rugby career. In 2022, he played for the Vodacom Bulls Juniors and was part of the successful triple-winning team, which secured victories in the U19, U20, and U21 competitions.
Moving into 2023, he continued his journey, becoming a part of the U20 team that reached the runner-up position in a closely contested match against the Sharks. His talent and dedication didn’t go unnoticed as he received the privilege of being invited to the SA Rugby Academy and later earned the honour of representing the Junior Springboks.
Mawande regards the Hollywood Foundation iQhawe Week as a vital platform for players from disadvantaged backgrounds to secure scholarships and access top-tier rugby schools.
“The iQhawe Week changed my life, and I want to give back to the game and the community that supported me,” Mawande states with gratitude.
The tournament takes place from 2-5 October at Jeppe High School in Gauteng. Catch all the action on SuperSport Schools’ App.