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Temba Bavuma Insights For Team on SJN Hearings

It’s not every day that the captain of a cricket team has to deal with systematic racism and a pandemic, but Temba Bavuma is living in those times. His South African team is on its way to Colombo, where they will face Sri Lanka in three white-ball matches. But first, let’s take a look at the real world.

South Africa will be without Charl Langeveldt, the bowling coach, and Junior Dala, the seamer. Both have been infected with Covid-19 in recent weeks. Even though they have now tested negative, they do not meet the requirements for entrance into Sri Lanka. Dala is replaced by Lutho Sipamla, and Langeveldt is replaced by Mandla Mashimbyi, the Titans’ head coach.

Infected with Covid-19

South Africa will be without Charl Langeveldt, the bowling coach, and Junior Dala, the seamer. Both have been infected with Covid-19 in recent weeks. Even though they have now tested negative, they do not meet the requirements for entrance into Sri Lanka. Dala is replaced by Lutho Sipamla, and Langeveldt is replaced by Mandla Mashimbyi, the Titans’ head coach. “I’d be lying if I said it didn’t have an impact on us as a team,” Bavuma said.

“It’s publicly known that members of the team have been named in testimony in the SJN. Our coach, Mark Boucher, has addressed us as a team speaking to the accusations against him. He provided clarity and context, and I think it was more about keeping the guys within his confidence and comfort.

“As much as we operate as a team and we try to control everything that’s within our circle, those types of matters do come up within the team. For us, we must deal with it internally and ask whatever hard questions that we need to ask of each other to make sure that we can keep growing within the team.”

“Rainbow Nation”

The SJN is shedding light on cricket’s involvement in a past that has been obscured by the erroneous belief that post-apartheid South Africa is a land of opportunity. South Africa is a country in Africa is a “rainbow nation”  In which racial equality is the rule rather than the exception.

As many South Africans have been informed, they can’t claim ignorance since that’s a bunch of marketing nonsense. Inequality and unfairness are pervasive in the country, and cricket, despite its stated commitment to a better society, has been a part of the problem.

“I think the large majority of the guys welcome the initiative of the SJN and understand its necessity in terms of allowing guys current and former guys to speak about their experiences in the past,” Bavuma said. Did that mean a minority of his players did not support the SJN? “I don’t think anyone within our team is shooting down the whole SJN initiative. I think everyone understands the significance of it. In the conversations that I’ve had everyone has been positive about it.”

Thankfully, it appears that South Africa’s current players will not have to cope with the problems that their predecessors did.

“In 2021 things are very different to the early 2000s, whether you look at it from an exclusivity point of view, [or] you look at it in terms of guys walking into the team and feeling a lot more comfortable. When I joined the team in 2014 it wasn’t a big struggle. So I’d really like to think things are different now than they were in the past. In saying that there’s always good in looking at the past and seeing how best to do things.

“To be able to learn from those experiences and those mistakes by individuals can help us pave the way forward. As players know, we’ve got the opportunity to shape the environment in a way that we’d like, so that down the line we don’t look back and say we could have done things differently.

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