Cricket 10.9.2016 10:26 am

Mbalula finally gives Darryl Cullinan a piece of his mind

FILE PICTURE: Sports minister Fikile Mbalula. Picture: Morapedi Mashashe.

FILE PICTURE: Sports minister Fikile Mbalula. Picture: Morapedi Mashashe.

The sports minister has called the former Proteas batsman ‘inherently ignorant’.

Minister of Sport Fikile Mbalula took to Twitter on Friday night to lament the fact that it was still possible to find people in 2016 with “ignorant” views such as those of Darryl Cullinan, a former Proteas batsman.

He said that more “minds” like his would be exposed as the sport transformation project progressed.

Cullinan had said in an interview towards the end of August that black people were only interested in soccer. He said there weren’t more black Proteas, because, as sons of domestic workers, they couldn’t afford to attend cricket academies.

Darryl Cullinan in 2001, during his playing days. Picture: Gallo Images

Darryl Cullinan in 2001, during his playing days. Picture: Gallo Images

He was speaking to Espncricinfo.com’s Gaurav Kalra when he said: “My issue around that is it’s inherently not a black man’s game in the country. Soccer has been and is the most popular sport among our black youth.”

He added: “In government schools there are three times more soccer fields than cricket fields. Why? Because there’s a demand for it. So I question where they are going ultimately with that, because it’s got to be something that’s part of you, what you’ve grown up with.”

It took the sports minister about two weeks to tell Cullinan what he thought of him.

Mbalula tweeted from Rio de Janeiro, where the Paralympics are currently taking place: “In 2016 we have people like Daryll Cullinan who proclaim that cricket is ‘inherently not a black man’s sport’ as if idlalelwa kwendlu kokwabo”.

Because isiXhosa is not inherently a white man’s language, it’s unlikely Cullinan would know that the minister was being sarcastic by saying “idlalelwa kwendlu kokwabo”, which means “as if it [cricket] is only played in their [white people’s] homes”.

He added that Cullinan was “inherently ignorant”.

He said that: “As we continue to fight exclusion and implement Transformation in Sport more of these minds will be exposed. Changes discomforts them…”

He also fired off that there was no gender or race that could claim ownership of any sport.

In an interview with Netwerk24, Cullinan defended his comments, saying the whole interview made the context of his views clearer.

“If people had watched and listened to the whole interview, they would have better understood the context of what I was saying.

“I simply tried to highlight the challenges that cricket faces due to the effects of the apartheid years. I never said that black people can’t play cricket and did not play the game historically – the fact that it was only played by a select few years ago, does not make it a sport for the masses.

“It took many years before Afrikaners really started playing cricket – just like today there aren’t a lot of Indian people playing rugby…”

Cullinan also stood by his statement that black kids could not afford to get to cricket practices and matches because their mothers were often domestic workers who could not afford taxi money.

“The costs associated with cricket is an enormous additional challenge standing in the way of transformation.”

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