JOHANNESBURG: Former South African captain Faf du Plessis on Friday came out in support of Black Lives Matter (BLM) and said a comment he made in January that ‘we don’t see colour’ had been a mistake.
The BLM issue has shown up racial divisions in South African cricket, with 30 black former international players claiming earlier this week that racism remained a factor in the game, 29 years after the formation of a single controlling body.
Du Plessis, who resigned as captain of the national team in February but remains available as a player, said in an Instagram post that his support for BLM came at a time when there were many injustices in South Africa.
“If we wait only for the ones that attack us personally, we will always live for ‘my way versus your way’ and that way leads us nowhere,” he said.
Some white South Africans, including former players, have linked the BLM issue with the murder of white farmers, claiming that all lives matter.
“I’ve remained silent, with the intent to listen, but not respond,” said du Plessis. “Slowing down my point of view, but quicker to hear the pain of someone else. I knew that words would be lacking and that my understanding is not close to where it needs to be.
“I surrender my opinions and take the knee as an intercessor. I acknowledge that South Africa is still hugely divided by racism and it is my personal responsibility to do my best to empathise, hear the stories, learn and then be part of the solution with my thoughts, words and actions.”
Du Plessis was criticised for being naive when explaining the selection of white batsman Rassie van der Dussen ahead of Temba Bavuma, who is black, for the second Test against England in January by saying he didn’t see colour.
He admitted: “I have gotten it wrong before. Good intentions were failed by a lack of perspective when I said on a platform that I don’t see colour. In my ignorance I silenced the struggles of others by placing my own view on it.”
Du Plessis concluded: “So I am saying that all lives don’t matter UNTIL black lives matter. I’m speaking up now, because if I wait to be perfect, I never will. I want to leave a legacy of empathy.”
Published in Dawn, July 18th, 2020