Former Proteas captain Faf du Plessis supports the Black Lives Matter Movement, saying “all lives don’t matter until black lives matter”.
CAPE TOWN – Former Proteas captain Faf du Plessis delivered an impassioned and powerful statement on Friday morning supporting the Black Lives Movement, saying “all lives don’t matter UNTIL black lives matter”.
Du Plessis, who has been active in various communities providing aid to the poor and needy during lockdown with Springbok captain Siya Kolisi and former teammate JP Duminy, believes that after a period of introspection he has a greater understanding after “getting it wrong before”.
Du Plessis said earlier this year that “I don’t see colour”, but he now accepts that “in my ignorance I silenced the struggles of others by placing my own view on it”.
South African cricket has been plunged into deep introspection since last week when former Proteas Pat Symcox, Boeta Dippenaar, Brian McMillan and Rudi Steyn lambasted current fast bowler Lungi Ngidi for wanting to address the Black Lives Matter within the Proteas’ dressingroom.
This sparked an outcry from black former Proteas and coaches who all expressed their support for Ngidi and the Black Lives Movement, while calling for equality in the game.
With white players – both current and former – remaining silent on the issue until Proteas batsman Rassie van Dussen delivered a telling statement on Thursday, there was great potential for the racial divide to broaden even further. Since then other players such as Anrich Nortje and Dwaine Pretorius have come out in support of Ngidi.
Du Plessis, though, has been mindful of the issue all the time and has over the last few days conducted meetings internally with players to address the Black Lives Matter movement and its significance for the game, particularly in a country that was once divided along racial lines like South Africa.
He is adamant that the players needed to fully comprehend the issues and not purely follow a directive from Cricket SA, who has publicly expressed its support for Black Lives Matter.
“In the last couple of months I have realized that we must choose our battles. We are surrounded by many injustices in our country that require urgent attention and action to fix them. If we wait only for the ones that attack us personally, we will always live for ‘my way vs your way’ and that way leads us nowhere,” Du Plessis said.
“So I’ve remained silent, with the intent to listen, but not respond. 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 emphasize, hear the stories, learn and then be part of the solution with my thoughts, words and actions.”
In a similar stance to great West Indian fast bowler Michael Holding who emphasised people can only be enlightened through education, Du Plessis also believes “conversation is the vehicle for change”.
“A race problem is a human race problem, if one part of the body hurts, we all stop, we empathize, we get perspective, we learn and then we tend to the hurting part of the body,” he said.
“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. The work needs to continue for the change to come and whether we agree or disagree, conversation is the vehicle for change.”