It isn’t the first time and it won’t be the last time that a celebrity or person at the top of his or her industry makes the mistake of publishing their life story before retirement only to invite unwanted criticism.
In the case of Tendai Mtawarira, known to rugby people all over the word as Beast (photo GB Jordaan), his autobiography resulted in an unforeseen reaction from especially rugby followers on the social media.
The already printed book’s launched was scheduled for 1 July but publishers Pan Macmillan released a statement on Thursday indicating that the launching was to be delayed.
It is unknown whether this is a reaction from the publishers in view of the controversy or whether Beast has been instructed by SA Rugby to launch at a later date, probably after the World Cup, and to delete certain paragraphs (see later in this article).
The stament by Pan Macmillan reads as follows:
‘World-renowned rugby player Tendai Mtawarira, co-author Andy Capostagno and publishers Pan Macmillan have decided to delay the launch of Mtawarira’s highly anticipated book.
‘The memoir, titled Beast, was set to be released on July 1, but will now be launched later in the year. A new date for the book’s release will be communicated as soon as it has been finalised.’
Pan Macmillan included the following ‘statement’ from Mtawarira in theirs: ‘With the reaction of some commentators to a single paragraph from the book as a possible indicator of the level of media attention and interest, we felt it necessary to delay the release of the book, so that I can focus solely on my rugby in preparation for possible inclusion in the World Cup squad.’
♦ The backlash follows controversial comments regarding former Springbok coach Peter de Villiers in the book which have been published in the media: ‘“He was a fantastic coach of the Junior Springboks‚ but I think at the high level‚ he was probably lucky that a very good group of players was handed over to him.
“His methods and approach didn’t really work with the Springboks‚ and as players‚ we had to be careful what we said to the media.
“What you said would get back to Peter and affect your place in the team. The media did not like Peter‚ and thought he was a bit of a clown.
“There’s no doubt that he was happy to be at the forefront of a team that could operate on its own steam. Most of the work was done by the players‚ with Dick (Muir) and (Gary) Gold (Bok assistant coaches) very influential.”
Mtawarira, who has 107 test caps for the Springboks and broke the record of 156 matches for the most Super Rugby matches by a South African player in April, has been sidelined because of a knee injury for the past few weeks. With many younger loosehead props knocking on the door, his place in the World Cup squad is no longer a certainty.