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Bigfella
21 Nov 11,, 12:12
I was tempted to put this in 'politics' (feel free to move it mods) because the significance of Basil D'Olivera was far greater in the political realm than it was on the sporting field. A solid player who had moments of greatness, he might have been so much more had he not had to start his test career in his mid-30s, a time when most players are eyeing retirement. It was, however, his unintentional role in bringng about the isolation of apartheid Sth Africa for which D'Olivera will be remembered.

D'Olivera was a remarkable man. Born the wrong colour in the wrong nation he displayed remarkable skill & determination. In the mid-1950s he captained an non-white Sth African team. Some have pointed out that this team was more representitive of the nation than any cricket team to wear the nation's colours up to that point (and for many years to come). By 1958 D'Olivera realised that he had no future in his homeland, so he wrote to the great English cricket commentator John Arlott asking if he could help to find him a position in an English couty or league team. When asked why he wrote to Arlott rather than a cricket player or administrator he said, "his voice and the words he spoke convinced me he was a nice, compassionate man". Arlott found D'olivera a position in 1960 & always said it was the achievement he was most proud of. Members of the 'Cape Coloured' community raise money to help, and days after the Sharpville massacre, D'Olivera & his wife left for England.

It took 6 more years for D'Olivera to force his way into a strong English team, but thereafter he was a regular. As the 1968 tour of Sth Africa approached his position became difficult. Dropped on form, he came back into the team & scored 158 against Australia in the last teast of the tour. Before he left that morning he told his wife to watch the game that day as he was going to score a century. As he passed the century mark the umpire commented to him 'you've put the cat among the pigeons now'. The story of what followed is recounted below. One detail that is left out is that D'Olivers was offered a 40,000 pound bribe by the Vorster regime in Sth Africa to make himself unavailable for the tour. In 1968 that was a huge sum. He refused.

A quiet & diginified man, D'Olivera not only became a symbol of the evils of apartheid, but inadvertently sparked the sporting boycott movement in a way that no activist could ever have achieved.




Basil D’Oliveira, Cricketer Who Braved Apartheid, Is Dead at 80

By HUW RICHARDS

Published: November 20, 2011


LONDON — Had Basil D’Oliveira been born into a happier, saner world, his death Saturday might simply mark the passing of one of South Africa’s greatest cricketers. But his career had a bigger meaning that reached beyond sports, and he was fit to stand alongside baseball’s Jackie Robinson as a symbol of the struggle against racism.

The South African government’s refusal to accept him in 1968 as a member of the England touring team was one of the tipping points as the country became isolated in the world of sports because of apartheid, an isolation that helped lead to the eventual overthrow of the policy.

That decision exposed the reality that while those who supported playing South Africa criticized opponents for bringing politics into sport, it was the apartheid regime that did precisely that by insisting that others conform to its racist norms.

That Basil D’Oliveira was born in Cape Town is not in question; exactly when is. The record said 1931, but he once wrote that “if you had said I was closer to 40 than 35 when I first played for England in 1966, I could not have sued you,” implying he was born in 1928 or even earlier.

Nonwhites like D’Oliveira, who was classified as colored, were not allowed to play first-class cricket in South Africa. He dominated nonwhite cricket there for years before moving to England in 1960 to play as a club professional at Middleton, in the Central Lancashire League. The early weeks were traumatic. He struggled with English playing conditions and still more with a life where his color did not prevent him from mingling freely with white people.

Once he adjusted to British weather and its pitches, he prospered, and a move to higher-class cricket became inevitable. In his first season for Worcestershire, in 1965, he finished fifth in the national batting averages. All four higher-placed players played for England, and so, starting in 1966, did D’Oliveira, who by then qualified through residence.

England was to tour South Africa in the Southern Hemisphere season of 1968-69. Research by the British journalist Peter Oborne has shown that the English cricket authorities knew that the South African government would probably not accept D’Oliveira as a visitor. A South African businessman offered the player a huge sum of money to take on commitments that would rule him out of the tour.

D’Oliveira’s play had declined in 1968, and he was dropped from the England team. But he was recalled for the final five-day test of the Ashes series against Australia, and he played a match-turning innings of 158, then took a vital wicket as Australia was bowled out on the last day. His selection for the tour seemed like a formality. Anger and disbelief extended well beyond the world of cricket, however, when he was left out.

When Tom Cartwright dropped out of the tour, D’Oliveira, a top-class batsman who could also bowl, was chosen in his place. South Africa’s prime minister, John Vorster, declared England “the team of the anti-apartheid movement” and canceled the tour.

It was a fateful step that “led directly to the intensification of opposition to apartheid around the world and contributed materially to the sports boycott that turned out to be an Achilles’ heel of the South African government,” Gerald Majola, chief executive of South Africa cricket, said Saturday. Other sports, over time, also banned ties with South Africa.

South Africa, except for a single series against Australia, did not play another test match until 1992. Only when apartheid was dismantled after Nelson Mandela’s release from prison was the country readmitted to the cricket community.

Privately, D’Oliveira was devastated by being excluded from South Africa, his dream of playing test cricket in his home country shattered, but publicly he handled the situation with dignity. He continued to play for England until 1972 and for Worcestershire until 1980, and he later became a coach at the county level.

He averaged 40 as a batsman for England in 44 five-day test matches, in an era when scoring was much lower than it is today. Majola is not alone in wondering “what he might have achieved had he made his debut, as he should have done, at the age of 20 on South Africa’s tour of England in 1951.”

“While he never regarded himself as such, he was a hero to a generation of disenfranchised South Africans,” said Haroon Lorgat, the chief executive of the International Cricket Council and a South African.

Since 2004, test matches between England and South Africa have been played for the Basil D’Oliveira trophy.

On Saturday, after his death was announced, South Africa’s players wore black armbands, and a nonwhite batsman, Hashim Amla, was its highest scorer against Australia.

dave lukins
21 Nov 11,, 13:12
"When Tom Cartwright dropped out of the tour, D’Oliveira, a top-class batsman who could also bowl, was chosen in his place. South Africa’s prime minister, John Vorster, declared England “the team of the anti-apartheid movement” and canceled the tour.

It was a fateful step that “led directly to the intensification of opposition to apartheid around the world and contributed materially to the sports boycott that turned out to be an Achilles’ heel of the South African government,”


Good. I remember it well and I remember the great sportsman and the hoo ha surrounding him. England was a better place for having him here. We were the winners Vorster's South Africa the loser's.

bigross86
21 Nov 11,, 14:43
On only a slightly off topic tangent:

In the 1992 Summer Olympics, South Africa competed for the first time in 32 years after Apartheid was dismantled. On 6 November 1991 the National Olympic Committee of South Africa (NOCSA) announced a flag under which South African athletes would compete in the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games. In accepting the invitation to participate in the Games, NOCSA indicated that it "would not be appropriate" to use the (then) existing national flag, springbok sports emblem or the national anthem. Instead, South Africa would compete using interim symbols. My step father was a graphic designer on the team that designed the flag that the South African delegation flew in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

http://eh.lenin.ru/flags/4af/southafrica/saf-fo.gif

The colours represent rain and sea (blue), land (red) and agriculture (green).

bigross86
21 Nov 11,, 14:46
http://www.iaaf.org/mm/photo/competitions/other/29272_w600xh400.jpg

South Africa's Elana Mayer won South Africa's first Olympic medal since 1960 behind Ethiopian Derartu Tulu, who out-sprinted her on the final lap of the 10,000 metres.

Tulu and Meyer then shared a joyous victory lap, side by side, with their national flags draped over their shoulders in a powerful symbol of South Africa's reacceptance into the world of international sport.

dave lukins
21 Nov 11,, 14:53
On only a slightly off topic tangent:

In the 1992 Summer Olympics, South Africa competed for the first time in 32 years after Apartheid was dismantled. On 6 November 1991 the National Olympic Committee of South Africa (NOCSA) announced a flag under which South African athletes would compete in the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games. In accepting the invitation to participate in the Games, NOCSA indicated that it "would not be appropriate" to use the (then) existing national flag, springbok sports emblem or the national anthem. Instead, South Africa would compete using interim symbols. My step father was a graphic designer on the team that designed the flag that the South African delegation flew in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

http://eh.lenin.ru/flags/4af/southafrica/saf-fo.gif

The colours represent rain and sea (blue), land (red) and agriculture (green).

That has got to be something to be proud of. Did you manage to keep one as a souvenir or memento.

bigross86
21 Nov 11,, 14:58
I don't think he was able to, but his studio/office is full of his work on this, as well as a massive montage of him meeting Nelson Mandela and showing off some of the projects the Jewish Community in South Africa had set up. The Jewish Community was very anti-Apartheid and worked really hard to bring Apartheid to an end

Bigfella
21 Nov 11,, 20:46
Nice one BR. Kudo to your step dad.