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Temba Bavuma had dreamed of leading the South African team in sixth grade

New Delhi. This is from 2001. The prestigious South African College Schools (SACS) in Cape Town presented a ‘project’ to students with the theme ‘Where do I see myself in the next 15 years?’. He was an 11-year-old boy whose essay found a place in the school’s home magazine. The boy was none other than Temba Bavuma, currently captain of South Africa’s limited overs team, who wrote: “I see myself shaking hands with Mr. Mbeki (then President of South Africa) for the next 15 years.” a strong South African team.

Bavuma, a class VI student, further wrote, “If I can do that, I will certainly be grateful for the support of my coaches and parents, and especially my two ‘uncles’ who made me worthy.”

This essay by Bavuma received a lot of attention from the local media at the time. Many people may not have taken the words of this boy approaching adolescence seriously, but exactly 15 years after this, in 2016, when Bavuma became the first black South African to score a century in cricket from proof, Mbeki had left the presidency. But the 62-inch-tall Bavuma not only made his prediction come true, it also raised the stature of South Africa, which is still trying to recover from the wrenching pain of old age three decades after the end of apartheid.

And knowingly or not, Bavuma continues to play his vital role as the first black captain of the national cricket team, who is not just a symbol, but a ray of hope for a society that strives to blend in with the society that has been suppressed. for centuries. As captain of South Africa with limited overs and having played only 16 ODIs so far (although he has played 47 Tests), Bavuma’s calm but solid batting played a key role in his team’s Test series victory against India and the overs. limited. field as the captain of the overs has given new hope. And why shouldn’t it be so?

After all, he has led from the front against an Indian team adorned with top-tier players like Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant and Jasprit Bumrah. This is not a trivial achievement. Sipokazi Sokanilee is a very popular media manager associated with the South African men’s team and Bavuma appears to be the de facto leader.

He has seen Bavuma not only as a player but also as a person in the locker room. “Temba is a true leader and he doesn’t expect anyone to do the work that he can’t do for himself,” Sipokaji told PTI.

“Temba has set high standards for the players and the team and everyone is part of that environment. We have a very good team culture that gives everyone a sense of unity.

Langa is a suburb of Cape Town where black South Africans suffered various forms of persecution during the apartheid days. It has its own sociopolitical history. Bavuma grew up in such an area under the guidance of his journalist father Vuyo and his sports-loving mother. Bavuma’s destiny was written to shine like the sun (in the local language, the sun is called Langa).

By the way, before Bavuma, another international cricketer, Thami Solekile, whose career did not last long, came out of Langa. He was also a hockey player. He was suspended for match-fixing in national T20 tournaments. But Bavuma’s recovery as a key player and leader last year also strengthened the community. It made them realize that they too can get to this point.

He is aware of his social status as evidenced by his statement after the 3-0 win over India. Bavuma said on Sunday: “I don’t think it will be easy (to captain the team). In this you have to manage a lot of things.

The most important thing for me was to focus on cricket.” Freedom of expression was not common in South African teams at one point. Ask Makhaya Ntini for whom work wasn’t easy, even on her best days. Sipokaji feels that Bavuma wants to change this completely.

“Temba and Dean Elgar have created a team culture that is friendly to everyone, where everyone has freedom of expression and feels part of the team,” he said.

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