Love Island’s Taku Chimwaza Is The Internet’s New Boyfriend

Image by Ben Symons
Taku (L) and Rachael (R) on Love Island Australia
Another week, and another dating show hits our screens. On Monday, Love Island Australia premiered its third season, with 10 contestants entering a Byron Bay villa in the hopes of finding love on national television.
Every year, you can expect a couple of things from the dating show: big egos, raging sexual tension, toxic masculinity and superficial standards — afterall, the premise of the show is based on looks to begin with as contestants choose who to couple up with based purely on appearances without a chance to mingle beforehand.
The drama-filled escapism is as entertaining and thrilling to watch as it is fun to critique, and viewers quickly form their own views on who's in it for the love versus the money.
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During Monday's premiere, social media was already abuzz, choosing its new Love Island boyfriend based on first impressions: Taku Chimwaza.
The 24-year-old rugby union player, who moved to Australia from Zimbabwe a decade ago, was praised on Twitter for being "hilarious", the "most genuine of the boys", and having "great vibes" and "the most personality out of all the guys in the villa."
For Chimwaza, going on the show was about more than just finding love. Aware he's the first Black man to appear on the Aussie version of the dating program, he's breaking down barriers and representing his community.
"I really wanted to come on, not only just because there haven't really been any Black guys, but now it's bigger than me," he told Refinery29 Australia. "It's about what this means going in there and really thinking about my family, my last name, and not just the Black community but the multicultural community [in Australia]."
From the moment he relocated from Zimbabwe to Nowra — on the NSW South Coast – to live with his aunt, Chimwaza has "dealt with being different."
Image by Ben Symons
"I think all my life I've kind of been a minority somehow," he said. "I came here and it was only just me and my cousin that were the only Black kids that were in the high school."
He and his cousin were aware they could face racism at the hands of other students, and said "it was up to us" to educate many of them about unacceptable discriminatory behaviour, such as telling them, "you can't use the N-word."
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"Laying down the foundation definitely allowed us to live like the way a regular school kid is meant to live," he explained.
Circling back to his Love Island gig, Chimwaza acknowledged the casting of Cynthia Taylu –who was born in Liberia – in the 2019 season was an important moment for Black representation on the Aussie version of the show.
Now as the first Black man on the show, Chimwaza hopes to set an example for people "who would like to take on an opportunity like this but haven't actually seen people" who look like them on TV.
"Hopefully I can actually pave the way for more Black people or more people that are more like the minority," he explained.
His eager fanbase will be watching him when episode two drops tonight, as he navigates his first partnership with Rachael after Ari Kumar rejected him during the premiere.
Image by Ben Symons
Love Island Australia, hosted by Sophie Monk, airs Monday to Thursday on Channel 9 at 8:45pm.

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