Faf du Plessis: All lives don’t matter until black lives matter

In a post on Instagram, du Plessis said: "I’m speaking up now, because if I wait to be perfect, I never will. I want to leave a legacy of empathy."

The former SA captain's stand is in stark contrast to his past stance of rejecting talk of racism. (File photo)   -  Rajeev Bhatt

“All lives don’t matter until black lives matter,” former South Africa captain and star batsman Faf du Plessis said on Friday, lending support to the fight against racism that has gripped the world with renewed vigour after African-American George Floyd’s death.

Offering his views on the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement, which found support in the ongoing England-West Indies Test series where players from both sides took a knee in the opening match, du Plessis said time has come to fight racism head on.

“In the last couple of months I have realised that we must choose our battles. We are surrounded by many injustices in our country that require urgent attention and action to fix them,” the 36-year-old du Plessis posted on instagram.

READ: Hashim Amla voices support for Lungi Ngidi and Black Lives Matter movement

Floyd became a symbol of the anti-racism movement after he was killed at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis, triggering widespread protests across the US and the world.

“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 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,” du Plessis added.

This is in stark contrast to his past stance of rejecting talk of racism. He had said that “we don’t see colour” when asked about Temba Bavuma’s axing earlier this year.

“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 said.

“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.”

READ: Gibbs, Duminy, Philander sign letter backing Ngidi's BLM stance

His teammate and pacer Lungi Ngidi has stated that the team will discuss a way to support the BLM movement when it has a chance at a group discussion. The players have restarted training after a prolonged break caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Du Plessis said the BLM movement has his full support.

“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,” he said.

“The work needs to continue for the change to come and whether we agree or disagree, conversation is the vehicle for change,” he added.

Bat, jersey auctioned for charity

Faf du Plessis has auctioned one of his bats and a pink ODI jersey to raise funds for feeding underprivileged children struggling to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Du Plessis has donated the items - a new IXU bat and his pink ODI jersey which has his name and number (18) inscribed on the back - after being nominated by his former team-mate AB de Villiers.

“As you all know the COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on a lot of people, and we’re experiencing these effects first hand in South Africa,” Du Plessis posted the message on his Instagram page with pictures of both the items.

“I’ve accepted the @allin_africa challenge after being nominated by @siya_kolisi_the_bear and @abdevilliers17. I’ve donated one of my almost new IXU bats and my Pink ODI shirt from the 2016 Pink ODI against England that will be auctioned on All in Africa’s website.

“All of the proceeds of the auction will go towards a project I’ve launched with the Hillsong Africa Foundation. The goal of the project is to raise R500 000 that will be used to feed vulnerable children from local communities. Every donation will go a long way in helping these children.”

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