Picture: Twitter, @NgidiLungi

Makhaya Ntini is one of 30 former national level cricketers that openly supports Lungi Ngidi and the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement after the T20 Cricketer of the Year faced criticism for wanting Cricket SA to support the movement.

The 43-year-old Ntini, also a former Proteas fast bowler, and 30 other former cricketers all signed a letter, saying they support Ngidi and the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. The group said they believe that with honesty and sincerity all-round, long-standing racism in cricket can be tackled.

Ntini has played 101 tests for the country, took 390 wickets and played his last Test for South Africa in December 2009. He is still ranked as one of the country’s top 25 players of all time.

The Backlash

Rudi Steyn, who played three Tests and one ODI for South Africa in the 1990s, shared an article on Ngidi’s comments on Facebook. Steyn said that the Proteas should not stand up for Black Lives Matter while ignoring the “slaughter” of white farmers in South Africa.

“I believe the Proteas should make a stand against racism, but if they stand up for ‘Black Lives Matter’ while ignoring the way white farmers are daily being ‘slaughtered’ like animals, they have lost my vote,” Steyn said.

Former cricketers Boeta Dippenaar and Pat Symcox also didn’t agree with Ngidi and his support for the BLM movement.

Dippenaar, who retired from international cricket in 2008, commented that “all lives matter” and called for Ngidi’s support towards farm attacks if he wanted cricketers to support him on Black Lives Matter.

“I am afraid to say ‘Black Lives Matter’ have become nothing more than a leftist political movement. I would suggest that Lungi Ngidi listens a bit more to likes of Thomas Sowell, Larry Elder, Walter Williams, and Milton Friedman,” he commented.

“All lives matter. If you want me to stand shoulder to shoulder with you Lungi then stand shoulder to shoulder with me with regards to farm attacks.”

Pat Symcox, who played for South Africa between 1993 and 1998, called Ngidi’s remarks “nonsense” and said he should consider supporting the farmers of South Africa instead, criticising Cricket South Africa in the process.

“What nonsense is this. He must take his own stand if he wishes. Stop trying to get the Proteas involved in his belief. Besides the fact that right now Cricket South Africa should be closed down. A proper dog and pony show with cricket being dragged through the mud daily. Buy popcorn and watch. Now when Ngidi has his next meal perhaps he would rather consider supporting the farmers of South Africa who are under pressure right now. A cause worth supporting.”

Graeme Smith Takes a Knee in Solidarity

On Saturday, there was a touching moment during the 3TC Solidarity Cup match when Graeme Smith joined Makhaya Ntini in the SuperSport Park commentary box.

In the spirit of Madiba Day, the mood was a reconciliatory one with Smith opening up the conversation after the duo had kneeled beside each other in support of the Black Lives Movement.

“‘Mackie’, I was next to you in the build-up; I could feel the emotion coming from you,” Smith said. “That’s why we stand together,” Ntini replied. “A very important message is being put out today,” Smith said.

Current and former cricketers Faf Du Plessis, Rassie van der Dussen, Anrich Nortje, and Dwaine Pretorius, also stood up for Lungi Ngidi and came out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

A vibrant Namibian who found a home in the Mother City.