'Nobody came to sit with me, I was forever lonely' - Makhaya Ntini opens up on his racist experiences

‘Nobody came to sit with me, I was forever lonely’ – Makhaya Ntini opens up on his racist experiences

Ntini, who donned the South African jersey in 101 Tests, 173 ODIs and 10 T20Is, scalped over 650 wickets.

Makhaya Ntini
Makhaya Ntini. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The tragic death of George Floyd sparked a wave all across the globe. Following the incident, many violent protests condemning racism erupted around the world, especially in the United States.

The movement ‘BlackLivesMatter’ also doing rounds everywhere and many players like Darren Sammy and Chris Gayle also opened up on their bitter experience with racism. Sammy revealed that his Sunrisers Hyderabad teammates used to call him ‘Kalu’ while Gayle also shared his experience of people treating him indifferently just because he was ‘black’.

Meanwhile, former South Africa pacer Makhaya Ntini has also opened up about his experience with racism in cricket. Ntini revealed that many of his teammates wouldn’t sit with him on the team bus and that no-one ever joined him for food. He was the first ethnically black player to play for the South African national cricket team.

The legendary pacer pointed out the questionable treatment he received during the peak of his career. He even had to face the feeling of ‘isolation’ while he was a part of the South African national squad. The reactions to Ntini’s skin colour led to the pacer going through the pain of ‘loneliness’.

“I was forever lonely at the time. 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],” said Ntini in an interview with SABC.

“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. 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,” he added.

I was running away from the loneliness: Makhaya Ntini

Makhaya Ntini, who donned the South African jersey in 101 Tests, 173 ODIs and 10 T20Is, scalped over 650 wickets. The veteran pacer also revealed that his son Thando had to also face racism as he was almost stopped from going on a U19 camp.

“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… My son Thando has also experienced this, he was almost stopped from going on an U19 camp [on false pretences],” said Ntini, who bid adieu to international cricket in 2011.