Former South Africa pacer Makhaya Ntini on Friday opened up about the racism he had to face during his playing career and accused his then teammates of making him feel isolated.
The 43-year-old ex-Proteas pacer, played alongside the likes of Shaun Pollock, Jacques Kallis, Mark Boucher and Lance Klusener among others, spoke about his experience in the wake of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement which gathered momentum following the death of African-American George Floyd.
Makhaya Ntini ‘s interview on Morning Live SABC this morning
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“I was forever lonely at the time,” recalled Ntini in an interview with ‘South African Broadcasting Corporation’.
“Nobody knocked on my door to go for dinner. Teammates used to make plans right in front of me, skipping me out. When walking into the breakfast room, nobody came to sit with me.
“We wear the same uniform and sing the same national anthem, but I had to overcome (the isolation),” he added.
To deal with the isolation, Ntini even avoided travelling on the team bus.
“I used to see the driver of the team bus, give him my bag, and then I would run to the cricket ground. I did the same thing on the way back, I just ran back instead,” said Ntini who claimed 390 Test and 266 ODI wickets.
“People never understood why I did that, I never told them what I was trying to avoid. It became my best thing, I didn’t have to face any of it.”
“I was running away from the loneliness. If I was sitting at the back of the bus, they would go and sit at the front. Whenever we won, it was joyful but I was the first to be blamed whenever we lost.”
Ntini also claimed that his son Thando also faced racism.
“My son Thando has also experienced this, he was almost stopped from going on an U19 camp (on false pretenses),” he said.
On Tuesday, Ntini, along with 30 former cricketers, signed a statement in support of the BLM movement, saying racism remains part of the game in the country.
In the statement, the former cricketers also threw their weight behind current South Africa pacer Lungi Ngidi, who was recently criticised by ex-Proteas like Pat Symcox and Boeta Dippenar for supporting the BLM campaign.
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