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Zim cricketer’s song becomes soundtrack of change

Zim cricketer's song becomes soundtrack of change

Harare – When two Zimbabwe cricket players staged a daring protest against the regime of Robert Mugabe at a World Cup game 14 years ago.

They knew it would probably end their careers at home and maybe even put their lives in danger.

At the 2003 Cricket World Cup, with TV cameras beaming the action live to the world, Henry Olonga and Andy Flower walked out at a stadium across the road from Mugabe’s offices in Harare wearing black armbands taped over the sleeves of their red Zimbabwe shirts.

It was to mourn what they called “the death of democracy” in their country under Mugabe.

The surprise act of rebellion at the first World Cup game in Zimbabwe – even team-mates had no idea what Olonga and Flower had secretly planned to do – gave the hardships of ordinary Zimbabweans international exposure and publicly embarrassed Mugabe.

Olonga, the first black man to play for Zimbabwe, was ostracised by cricket officials loyal to Mugabe and hounded by death threats.

He and Flower never played for Zimbabwe again after the World Cup and, fearing more serious repercussions, left their home country.


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