- Vince van der Bijl says SA’s apartheid heritage-based influence on BLM obliged him to support the movement.
- As role models, he says, cricketers like Lungi Ngidi are entitled to stand for what they believe is right.
- Both Van der Bijl and his Test-capped father Pieter have been part of earlier political protests in the country.
One of South Africa’s most popular and recognisable cricketers from the pre-democracy era has thrown his own weight spiritedly behind Proteas fast bowler Lungi Ngidi’s Black Lives Matter support.
Vince van der Bijl, the giant former Natal and Transvaal strike bowler in the Currie Cup and a famously massive influence with the ball during a lone season with Middlesex in 1980, said he stood “shoulder to shoulder” with the Titans-based emerging national star over BLM.
Now 71, Van der Bijl is also a former International Cricket Council manager of umpires and referees and would have played official Test cricket for South Africa but for apartheid.
The Wisden Cricketer of the Year award recipient of 1981 told Sport24 he felt duty-bound to add his voice to cause.
“As a South African, not to would fail to understand South Africa’s influence on this movement due to our history of racial degradation of those of colour.
“It would be similar to a modern German citizen not appreciating Germany’s influence on a global Jews’ Lives Matter movement.
“Sports stars are role models and must stand firm on what is right: I salute you, Lungi.
“All the BLM movement wants is for black lives to be elevated to those of whites.”
Writing on Facebook, Van der Bijl said: “People like Lungi are role models and must stand up for what they believe. They are part of our society - cricket is not a separate entity.
“We did, when we said our piece in apartheid days, (including) a walk-off at Newlands.”
He added: “My father (Pieter), a South African Test cricketer and World War II veteran, protested in 1956 against the Nats (National Party) taking away the Coloured vote.
“This is only my view: I stand alongside Lungi Ngidi in BLM. I really believe we as cricketers have it in us to help heal these great divides in privilege, race, religion and attitudes.
“Only then can we be a proper united nation. That is worth dying for.”