SA vs SL 1st Test: South Africa players to support BLM movement: The South Africa team will “raise fists” at the start of the first Test against Sri Lanka “as a gesture to express our ongoing commitments” towards the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement on Saturday.
Earlier, the Proteas squad had confirmed that they would make an anti-racism gesture when they locked horns with Sri Lanka in the first Test. Proteas coach and former wicket-keeper batsman Mark Boucher confirmed that the South Africa team has decided to voice their support for inclusion after the interim board had issued a statement of concern over the team not taking a knee to show support for the BLM.
“We have taken the decision — through a process of deep democracy — to raise our fists at the beginning of the Test series against Sri Lanka as a gesture to express our ongoing commitments,” the Cricket South Africa (CSA) said in an official statement.
“We recognise that gestures have histories and contexts, which carry meaning beyond themselves (both positive and negative) and that these gestures may be open to misinterpretation. Symbols also serve the purpose of communicating shared values and meaning,” it added.
The raised fist has a long history also within the Civil Rights movement. It has been used iconically within the sporting arena as well. For example, American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists during a medal ceremony at the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games, later noting it as a “human rights salute”. More recently it has been used within the BLM movement.
“We recognize the historical and political connotations of the raised fist as a gesture of ongoing solidarity in the fight for racial justice and anti-racism work,” CSA said.
“So, we stand together and raise our fists as a gesture of solidarity and commitment to continuing the work of pursuing racial justice in our life-times,” it added.
Earlier this year, 31 former and current Proteas cricketers had signed a letter showcasing their support towards the Black Lives Matter campaign and pacer Lungi Ngidi.
Following this, Cricket South Africa (CSA), its board of directors and executive committee had reaffirmed their support towards the BLM movement, and its relevance in South Africa.