My name is Fabrice Nahimana. I am 16 years old and currently in grade 11 at the South African College School (SACS). I was born in Rwanda but had to leave my country due to political instability. I arrived in South Africa in late 2009 and joined Ysterplaat Primary School the following year. My first few years in South Africa were quite challenging. I was suddenly exposed to a different culture. I also had to learn English while trying to find my feet and make new friends. It was really tough and particularly so because I had to start making these adjustments while I was just 10 years old.
It was in my first year at Ysterplaat Primary School that I was introduced to rugby for the very first time in my life by a gentleman called Campbell McCraw. He had just started Atlantic Rugby Academy which was aimed at keeping school kids active and off the streets. It was at Atlantic Rugby Academy that I learned how rugby can be a powerful asset in transforming one’s life. The coaching staff also instilled in me the belief that I could achieve anything in life through hard work, dedication and having faith in God.
2013 was a particularly eventful and critical year in my development as a rugby player. By then, Atlantic Rugby Academy had earned itself a name for spotting and nurturing talent. That same year, the Academy featured in several newspapers and earned a spot at the 2014 Tournois de France – a prestigious international youth rugby tournament. I was tremendously excited to be a part of the Academy during this time, but the experience was not always so thrilling because of the obstacles I had to overcome in order to stay on top of my game and keep up with my teammates. I didn’t always have enough food to eat and when I had food, it wasn’t always rich in the vitamins and minerals I needed to maintain optimal physical performance. The fact that I had not touched a rugby ball or even heard of a game called ‘rugby’ until my arrival in SA did not help either. Hence, I basically had to be more resilient and much more hard working than my peers in order to survive, be it in the classroom or on the pitch.
But the hard work did finally start to bear fruit. Over time I became a better and better rugby player and, following a string of good performances in 2014, attracted the attention of several of the major rugby playing schools in the Western Cape. I finally opted for the South African College Schools (SACS). In retrospect, I have no doubt that I could not have made a better choice. SACS has proved to be the best thing that could have ever happened to me. To this day I still wake up thinking about how fortunate I am to be at such an amazing school. SACS has and continues to contribute hugely to my academic and rugby careers.
Since starting at the school, I’ve played under 15A, under 16A and I’m currently in the 1st XV training squad for 2017. I was also part of the Western Province u16 XV Grant Khomo week team this season. I also represented Western Province touch rugby in the inter-provincial tournament this year. So yes, I’m very happy and privileged to have had so many people around me who have helped me to get where I am right now. Rugby has absolutely changed my life. I truly believe that if you are dedicated, work hard and have faith in God, nothing can ever stop you – not ever. Whatever challenges you face, they will never be as big as God is inside of you.
If you could order anything off the Spur menu, what would it be?
Steak and chips with a Bar One Milkshake.
What is your biggest dream in life?
My biggest dream is to become a professional rugby player.
If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be?
My mum and dad.
What do your friends call you?
Most of my friends call me Fabbie and others call me ‘The Dreamchaser.’ (Ed: we know of some fans who also call him ‘Fabrinkel.’)
Would you rather sprint against Usain Bolt or meet Wayde van Niekerk? Why?
I would sprint against Usain Bolt because he’s regarded as the fastest human ever timed and I would like to test my speed against him.
Who inspires you to be your best?
My older brothers Jean-Claude and Sosthern have inspired me a lot and I don’t think without their support and constant pushing me to be my best I’d be where I am. I don’t like disappointing people who believe in me and give of their own time to help me become better. I don’t think I would be walking the path that I’m on now without them.