By M. S. Prabhakara
Cape Town, April 7 - If the reaction in a radio talk show
this afternoon is any guide, the India-South Africa
relations, and perhaps even this country's relations with
Australia, may be in for a rough time.
The bombshell from Delhi hit the country a little before
1 p.m. The radio news programme, One'o Clock Live
broadcast at 1 p.m. during weekdays, led with the news
that the Delhi police had issued an arrest warrant
against Hansi Cronje, captain of the South African team,
and had indeed already arrested a non- resident Indian on
charges of being involved in illegal match fixing. (The
news broadcast at 2 p.m. reported that arrest warrants
had been issued against four South African players, three
of whom are in the team selected to play Australia.)
The boss of South African cricket, Ali Bacher, and Hansi
Cronje had denied the charges, the news anchor said.
However, though the practice of carrying live interviews
on the radio are deeply entrenched and is indeed a
routine feature even in respect of insignificant
developments, neither Cronje nor Bacher was put on the
The half-hour talk show devoted entirely to sports on
Fridays followed at 1.30 p.m., and not surprisingly, was
entirely devoted to this news. Virtually every caller
spluttered with rage that such a thing (`a load of bull',
`a load of garbage' and the like) could at all be said
about Hansi of all persons, an icon of South African
sports if ever there was one.
Rather more interesting was the seeking after the
`motive' and the `source' behind such a sacrilegious
Leading the list of villains was mysterious forces in
India (`you know their pedigree', said a caller, though
another admitted that India, having won the ODI series,
had no reason to plant such a story), closely followed by
conspirators from Australia, out to demoralise South
Africans before the three- match one day Internationals
due to be played in this country from next week.
One caller suggested that the Ambassador of India should
be summoned to explain the conduct of the Delhi police.
Another, taking recourse to physiognomy, said that even a
casual look at Hansi's face when he was losing should
convince anyone that he would never ever throw a game,
not for money, nor for love, not for anything.
Central to all these perceptions, plainly articulated by
one caller, is the deeply held conviction that unlike
others South Africans always played for pride, never for
money. They are beyond temptation of even the biggest
In the exceptionalist perception of themselves cherished
by South Africans across race, class, gender and other
barriers, they are not like anyone else in the world.
Others might engage in such grubby activities like match
fixing; but not our boys.
The reality in this country, with its history of theft
and greed and organised dispossession of the majority of
the people even unto their very identity and citizenship,
is that anything that is not bolted and riveted down gets
stolen, as Mr. Ken Owen noted in a recent column.
Such rage, with so few facts yet available, suggests that
the sports loving people of this country are perhaps
protesting too much, too soon.
Saturday, April 8, 2000
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