Breaking News

Australian rugby player recalls Zimbabwe's farms violence

by David Polkinghorne
11 January 2015 | 4531 Views
THE threats David Pocock's family experienced in Zimbabwe, driven from their family farm as their friends died around them, led to a fear of failure and a fanatical approach to his diet and exercise.

Pocock opened up about the childhood experiences that shaped the 26-year-old in an interview with Men's Health magazine, to be published on Monday.

The former Wallabies captain grew up on the family farm outside Gweru in the middle of Zimbabwe, where a set of goalposts in the backyard helped develop his passion for rugby union.

 But in 2000, when Pocock was a 12-year-old, the Zimbabwean government announced it would forcibly take over white-owned farms and his family was told they had 90 days to leave.

That's when the violence started, and threats became a lot more than just that.

A close family friend, who lived 15 kilometres away, was shot dead in an ambush. His son lived, but was also shot nine times.

Pocock's parents decided it was time to go and as they packed, they learnt their neighbour had also been killed.

They moved to Brisbane, Australia with little more to their name than what they could pack in their suitcases.

But rather than hold any bitterness towards his time in Zimbabwe, and especially his departure, Pocock counts himself fortunate to have grown up there.

"I was incredibly lucky to grow up in Zimbabwe ... it was incredibly complex," he said.

"Look, growing up, Dad's mantra was, 'You reap what you sow'. You get out what you put in. Dad would tell us that all the time."

While the atrocities committed in Zimbabwe didn't manifest itself as hatred, it did emerge in the young Pocock in other ways.




Struggling to cope with the culture shock of shifting to Queensland, he channelled all his energies into sport and would do endless number of push-ups until he fell asleep exhausted.

He found Australia's sporting culture was the easiest way to fit in, but he became obsessive about it as well.

"It was a massive culture shock and I guess the main way I tried to make that transition – to make friends and settle in – was through sport. I channelled all my energies into sport," Pocock said.

"Sport was my coping mechanism. I developed a mindset where I simply didn't want to fail."

Everything he's gone through – including his two knee reconstructions – has also helped develop his compassion for his fellow man.

He was even willing to chain himself to mining equipment and get arrested just to make a point.

Pocock will face charges of allegedly entering enclosed land without lawful excuse, remaining on enclosed land without lawful excuse and hindering the working of mining equipment at Narrabri Local Court on Wednesday for his non-violent protest at the Maules Creek coalmine in November.

He's also set-up his own charity, Eightytwenty Vision, which is helping farming communities in his native Zimbabwe become self-sufficient.

Pocock is an active ambassador for gay and lesbian rights, refusing to get married until Australia's archaic same-sex marriage laws are changed.

"I think it's crucial to have something outside of rugby. By nature, sportsmen can be pretty selfish, and to a large extent you have to be," he said.

"You have to be focused on what you're doing to get results, but it gives you some perspective to have something that you're passionate about outside sport."


Zimbabwe Pocock

Source: Men's Health magazine

Comments



Latest News

Jah Prayzah comes through for Chimanimani victims

by Mandla Ndlovu | 19 March 2019 | 2 Views

WATCH: Mnangagwa jets in Manicaland

by Mandla Ndlovu | 19 March 2019 | 1 Views

MDC Top leader back in court over treason charges

by Mandla Ndlovu | 19 March 2019 | 1 Views

Revisiting the ZUPCO urban transportation model

by Victor Bhoroma | 19 March 2019 | 1 Views

EU gives €3.5 million to Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique

by Mandla Ndlovu | 19 March 2019 | 1 Views

Tour Chimanimani with a clean intention

by John Sigauke | 19 March 2019 | 5 Views

Mnangagwa insist there was "no basis" free elections calls and rigging...

by Nomusa Garikai | 19 March 2019 | 2 Views

Stadium crisis hits Zimbabwe top-flight teams - The 2019 Zimbabwe top-...

by Staff reporter | 19 March 2019 | 3 Views

Chiwenga in Cyclone-hit Manicaland

by Staff reporter | 19 March 2019 | 9 Views

Zanu-PF youths mobilise donations for cyclone victims - The Zanu-PF Na...

by Staff reporter | 19 March 2019 | 1 Views

Heal Zimbabwe speaks on the arrest of Rashid Mahiya

by Heal Zimbabwe | 19 March 2019 | 5 Views

Latest on Shona teachers in Bulawayo

by Mandla Ndlovu | 19 March 2019 | 1 Views

PHOTOS: MDC holds business dinner

by Mandla Ndlovu | 19 March 2019 | 4 Views

Chamisa calls for international help

by ZimLive | 19 March 2019 | 3 Views

MDC told to divorce G40 members

by Mandla Ndlovu | 19 March 2019 | 5 Views

Entertainment

Andy Muridzo promises new album

by Simbarashe Sithole | 18 March 2019 | 223 Views

Kwejani band is back! - AFTER an eight-year hiatus, Victoria Falls' su...

by Staff reporter | 13 March 2019 | 1187 Views

Moyo revives Pantsula genre

by Staff reporter | 10 March 2019 | 389 Views

Majaivana's sad farewell

by Bruce Ndlovu | 10 March 2019 | 6430 Views

Nceku shifts base to SA

by Staff reporter | 09 March 2019 | 776 Views

Baba Harare abandoned by band members - Jit musician, Baba Harare has ...

by Staff reporter | 04 March 2019 | 2048 Views

Winky D pays the price

by Staff reporter | 03 March 2019 | 5276 Views