Faf du Plessis: ‘All lives don’t matter UNTIL black lives matter’

South Africa's Faf du Plessis (C) during the coin toss on day 1 of the first International Test Series 2019/20 game between South Africa and England at Supersport Park, Centurion on 26 December 2019.
South Africa's Faf du Plessis (C) during the coin toss on day 1 of the first International Test Series 2019/20 game between South Africa and England at Supersport Park, Centurion on 26 December 2019.
Image: ©Christiaan Kotze/BackpagePix

Former Proteas captain Faf du Plessis has made it clear that all lives don’t matter until black lives matter‚ as the middle order batsman became the fourth white player‚ but probably the most significant one in the Proteas setup‚ to stand up for the Black Lives Matter movement.

In a resonant Instagram post‚ the 36-year-old Du Plessis said a race problem is a human problem‚ but it shouldn’t come at the expense of black lives.

“So I am saying that all lives don’t matter UNTIL black lives matter. I’m speaking up now‚ because if I wait to be perfect‚ I never will‚” Du Plessis wrote.

“I want to leave a legacy of empathy. The work needs to continue for the change to come and whether we agree or disagree‚ conversation is the vehicle for change.

“A race problem is a human race problem. If one part of the body hurts‚ we all stop‚ we empathise‚ we get perspective‚ we learn and then we tend to the hurting part of the body.”

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In the last couple of months I have realized that we must choose our battles. We are surrounded by many injustices in our country that require urgent attention and action to fix them. If we wait only for the ones that attack us personally, we will always live for “my way vs your way” and that way leads us nowhere. So I’ve remained silent, with the intent to listen, but not respond. Slowing down my point of view, but quicker to hear the pain of someone else. I knew that words would be lacking and that my understanding is not close to where it needs to be. I surrender my opinions and take the knee as an intercessor. I acknowledge that South Africa is still hugely divided by racism and it is my personal responsibility to do my best to emphasize, hear the stories, learn and then be part of the solution with my thoughts, words and actions I have gotten it wrong before. Good intentions were failed by a lack of perspective when I said on a platform that - I don’t see colour. In my ignorance I silenced the struggles of others by placing my own view on it. A race problem is a human race problem, if one part of the body hurts ,we all stop, we empathize, we get perspective, we learn and then we tend to the hurting part of the body. So I am saying that all lives don’t matter UNTIL black lives matter. I’m speaking up now, because if I wait to be perfect, I never will. I want to leave a legacy of empathy. The work needs to continue for the change to come and whether we agree or disagree, conversation is the vehicle for change.

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Du Plessis‚ who relinquished his leadership positions in the South African national team setup this year after the team struggled in white and red ball cricket‚ admitted that he got things wrong when it came to dealing with transformation matters.

Du Plessis found himself at the centre of a storm earlier this year when in a press conference during the England Test series‚ he said he didn’t see colour. This came after black batsman Temba Bavuma was initially injured‚ then dropped from the Test team.

“I have gotten it wrong before. Good intentions were failed by a lack of perspective when I said on a platform that – I don’t see colour. In my ignorance I silenced the struggles of others by placing my own view on it‚” Du Plessis wrote.

“I surrender my opinions and take the knee as an intercessor. I acknowledge that South Africa is still hugely divided by racism and it is my personal responsibility to do my best to emphasise‚ hear the stories‚ learn and then be part of the solution with my thoughts‚ words and actions.”

Du Plessis is now the fourth of Lungi Ngidi’s white teammates to support the Black Lives Matter movement. After winning two gongs at the Cricket South Africa awards earlier this month‚ Ngidi came under fire from former Protea players like Pat Symcox‚ Boeta Dippenaar‚ Rudi Steyn and Brian McMillan for suggesting that a conversation has to be had about the Black Lives Matter movement.

While CSA said they support the BLM movement‚ there has been a significant upwelling of painful past experiences from former players who have moved into the coaching ranks since this latest matter arose.