I ask you on bended knee, why are we still having this ...

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The Konundrum

I ask you on bended knee, why are we still having this discussion?

Why are we still having a debate over the taking of the knee when other countries are proactive with this matter?

Sports reporter
England batsman Rory Burns and members of the West Indies team take a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement during the second Test at Old Trafford in July.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT England batsman Rory Burns and members of the West Indies team take a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement during the second Test at Old Trafford in July.
Image: Michael Steele/Getty Images

If there’s one thing racists don’t want to understand is that racism, in all its violence, is a systematic and organic process driven by hate built through generational inculcation.

It’s not an event.

It manifests in different forms, with SA’s apartheid and its lingering effects being the most widely reported.

Attempts to eradicate it will take more than just slogans, but active changing of mindsets, proper education and the painful unravelling of what people believed to be a war against communist terrorism.

It wasn’t.

It was a bastard state waging war against its black majority who were fighting for mere existence in their own country.

A movement such as Black Lives Matter with the knee being taken isn’t about the aggrandisement of the black person’s struggle.

It’s about the continuous acknowledgment of black suffering and persecution that unfortunately continues.

Cricket, in particular, has to be aware of this important social and political dynamic.

We tend to say politics and sports don’t mix, but forget that politics play a huge role in the allocation of resources and the success of one over the other.

It’s no different in SA, especially when one considers that of the white dominated sports, it was cricket that felt the brunt of apartheid-enforced isolation.

It therefore comes as a major surprise that there are mixed signals when it comes to the taking of the knee ahead of the much-awaited England limited overs series that starts at Newlands on Friday.

SA sports have to play their role in the re-education of the populace with regards to this country’s torrid past and how sport played a role in enforcing that.

Rugby’s “bromance” with the apartheid government is well known, while large sectors of the game remain unashamedly untransformed.

Cricket, on the other hand, owes its current existence to a benevolent government that allowed its re-entry into international sport 29 years ago despite state sponsored political violence that’s scarred this country for generations.

What’s been lost in the bluff and bluster of chance-taking political organisations that refuse to recognise the sordid ills of the past, while indulging in historical revisionism, is that the BLM movement and the taking of the knee does not erase the atrocities visited to other racial groups.

It also seeks to help vocalise the need to redress violence against the black body at each turn.

One farm murder is one too many, but when weighed up against the butchering of women and children, the low-level insurgency that is gang warfare on the Cape Flats and the ongoing cheapness of black life in SA, it sinks into insignificance.

Farm murders also aren’t helped by their being turned into a political football, while forgetting that among those who die and are abused on farms, there are darker-hued people.

The joy within me that cricket is returning is bigger than the ocean, but with sports and politics intertwined since time immemorial, positive messages that speak to the majority will carry historical resonance.

Players, and all other individuals, should be allowed to exercise their constitutional right to freedom of choice and expression.

In this case, there’s also the responsibility to be seen to be doing right, to play your part, however minimal, in the path to re-correction and redress.

That Cricket Australia has taken steps to recognise and acknowledge the country’s violated Aboriginal people is a huge step.

This is the same team that didn’t take a knee while in England earlier this year, while its country has its despicable racially discriminatory history.

We tend to say politics and sports don’t mix, but forget that politics play a huge role in the allocation of resources and the success of one over the other.

While we continue to dither with this BLM and the taking of the knee, let’s not forget this: cricket in SA has a long and ugly discriminatory past that’s not only entrenched in its development systems, but also needed the spilling of black blood to earn its path back into the international mainstream.

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