Lungi Ngidi caught in Black Lives Matter controversy after voicing support for movement
Lungi Ngidi has become the center of controversy in the aftermath of a remark made in reference to Black Lives Matter in a recent press conference.
The Proteas pacer pointed to South Africa's history of racial discrimination under the Apartheid regime and felt systemic inequality still plagued the country's sociological climate.
When asked about his opinion on the global anti-racism campaign, Ngidi spoke on the importance of his teammates stepping up to take a firm stand on the issue.
"It's definitely something that we will discuss once we are together in person," Ngidi said.
"We have spoken about it and everyone is well aware of what's going on. It's a difficult one because we are not together, so it's hard to discuss. But once we get back to playing that is definitely something we have to address as a team.
"It's something that we need to take very seriously and, like the rest of the world is doing, make a stand."
Ngidi further reinforced his point by retweeting a viral clip featuring West Indies great Michael Holding's passionate speech lamenting racism.
Despite the 24-year-old's seemingly good intentions, he has been criticised by former compatriot cricketers Pat Symcox and Boeta Dippenaar.
Symcox made it clear that targetted killings of several white farmers in South Africa also required equal attention from Ngidi.
"When Ngidi has his next meal perhaps he would rather consider supporting the farmers of South Africa who are under pressure right now. A cause worth supporting," he wrote.
Meanwhile, Dippenaar questioned the credentials of the Black Lives Matter movement, which he believed had "leftist political" ideals.
"All lives matter. If you want me to stand shoulder to shoulder with you Lungi then stand shoulder to shoulder with me with regards to farm attacks," he said.
On the other hand, former fast bowler Vince van der Bijl and white-ball specialist Tabraiz Shamsi took to social media to voice their support for Ngidi.
Amidst this backdrop of intense polarisation, Cricket South Africa chief executive Jacques Faul emphasised that the context of the Black Lives Matter movement was relevant to the Proteas as well.
“Black Lives Matter. It is as simple as that," his statement read.
"As a national sporting body representing more than 56 million South Africans and with the privileged position of owning a platform as large as we do, it is of vital importance that we use our voice to educate and listen to others on topics involving all forms of discrimination."
In a bid to highlight the message of anti-racism, CSA will be using the return of competitive cricket in the country on July 18 by celebrating Mandela Day and publicising the mantra of harmony.