South African players raised their fists to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement.© AFP
South African players raised their fists in an anti-racism gesture on Saturday at the start of their series of two tests against Sri Lanka at SuperSport Park in Centurion, in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. The team released a statement saying the players had repeatedly expressed their support for the campaign against racial injustice and wanted to “own our journey”. The players were criticized for not “taking a knee” in the run-up to a recent series against England, as had been done by other sports teams following the death of George Floyd in the United States earlier this year.
The statement said the decision to show a raised fist was taken “through a process of deep democracy” to be appropriate in a South African context.
“The raised fist is a powerful gesture in our own history, as expressed in the iconic images of Nelson and Winnie Mandela at Mandela’s release from prison in 1990. In this context it was a powerful gesture of triumph, a recognition of the fight against apartheid., and a commitment to continuing to fight for equality, justice and freedom, while also respecting the religious and cultural responsibilities of each member of our team. ”
The statement noted that the raised fist had a long history within the Civil Rights movement, including the gesture of US sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos at a medal ceremony at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics.
“We recognize the historical and political connotations of the raised fist as a gesture of continued solidarity in the fight for racial justice and anti-racism. So we stand together and raise our fists as a gesture of solidarity and dedication to continue the work. of pursuing racial justice in our lives. “
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