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Temba Bavuma aims to inspire next generation of black Africans

By Stephen Brenkley

Published 06/01/2016

Temba Bavuma
Temba Bavuma

Temba Bavuma hopes his historic maiden hundred can act as an inspiration for other black Africans in South Africa.

Bavuma became the first black African to score a Test century on day four of the second Test against England, a major personal milestone but a seminal moment in the wider sporting fabric of the country.

Bavuma is just 25 and stands a modest five foot three inches but his 102 not out at Newlands makes him a sizeable figure in South Africa.

Fast bowler Makhaya Ntini won 101 caps and became a totemic figure in a nation where around 80 per cent of the population is black but Bavuma is just the fifth black African to follow him into the team and the first batsman.

Cricket South Africa's commitment to transformation through an ethnically balanced national side has resulted in some awkward questions about selection policy, with Bavuma himself under scrutiny before this game in Cape Town.

As a township boy growing up in nearby Langa he never dreamed this would be his destiny, but it is one for which Bavuma seems well suited.

"At first cricket was a passion, I just played for the love of it," he said.

"When I made the SA schools side, that's when I got the realisation cricket could be more than a passion, something I can use to inspire other people.

"When I made my debut for South Africa I came to be a bit more aware and realise the significance. It's about being a role model, an inspiration for other kids... black African kids. Achieving this kind of milestone will strengthen that example."

This moment has been a long time coming, with South Africa readmitted to the international game in 1991 following the end of Apartheid.

"It's a whole lot of pressure," he said. "There's greater significance about it.

"But I don't think it's unfair. Everyone faces pressure. Pressure can be positive at times.

"I've been yearning for this, fighting for it. I'm not too sure about the reaction from the public... for me it's just satisfaction and relief."

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