Why Didn’t Gary Player Protest Against Apartheid And Support Black Golfers During Apartheid? By Cheryl Roberts

6 Feb


He’s at it again with his opinions that irk and irritate me. That’s
Gary Player, apartheid sport’s white golf messiah; always wanting to be seen as a messiah for black golf’ when all he really is, is apartheid’s white golf messiah.
Now Gary Player says, according an interview, he really wants South Africa to have a black golf champion, someone like aTiger Woods golf champion. Say what? You want to see a black golf champion in SA?
But why are you Gary Player erasing our anti-apartheid era of playing sport, the era when blacks (all people not white) were oppressed by the apartheid policies of the apartheid regime? Because that is the time, over 60 years ago and more when blacks were playing golf in our
country, when blacks were caddying for you and other white men on the golf course, when blacks were yearning to test their golf skills just like you, when blacks were participating with you in some golf tournaments and same time being restricted (because of apartheid policies) from participation with you in golf tournaments and when
blacks were not only beating you but also becoming the champion in
tournaments you featured in.
What does apartheid’s white golf messiah mean by wanting to see a
black golf champion in SA? Has Gary Player’s memory failed him, after all these years? South Africa has had black golf champions. Does Gary Player not remember the champion player Papwa Sewgolum, who finished
ahead of him Gary Player in some tournaments and won a tournament ahead of Gary Player?
Why I go back to the 1950’s and 1960’s to recall our black golf
narrative is to remind Gary Player and all else who think like him,
that quality black golfers surfaced and became champions. They wanted to participate in golf as pro players and earn money, just like Gary Player. But apartheid policies restricted them from playing in
tournaments and using golf facilities.
And what did white golfers like Gary Player do? They responded with opinions that they ‘don’t talk politics and sport’ and ‘get involved in politics and sport.’ Yes, South Africa had talented black golfers but their golf passion was strangled and crushed by the apartheid regime. And white golfers like Gary Player never spoke out when apartheid crushed black golf. They never did!
But they continued playing golf on their lush, green courses and
benefitted from the horrendous apartheid policies that provided the best of sport for whites and deprived the oppressed blacks. Black golfers like Papwa Sewgolum and Vincent Tshabalala won tournaments in South Africa and international tournaments abroad. How much more black
golfers could have surfaced had they been supported and given the
facilities to play on, just like white golfers like Gary Player?
And now you want to have a black golf champion? Why didn’t you want to applaud and honour a black golf champion when he emerged in the 1950’s and 1960’s? Why did you disrespect a black golf champion and stand by when the black champion couldn’t be in the clubhouse to collect his
trophy? Why didn’t you protest the indignation and inhumanity suffered by the black golf champion and black golfers who were refused entry into tournaments you were playing in? Why didn’t you Gary Player speak out against apartheid?
It’s because white people and yourself Gary Player were lapping up all the benefits and proceeds from apartheid. It’s because you believed in white superiority. What points are you trying to claim now in your lifetime by stating some desire of yours to see a black golf champion in SA? Your non-protest at apartheid and acceptance of a horrendous apartheid regime will always be our remembrance of people like you Gary Player who suffocated, strangled, erased and hurt black golf.
Membership of black golfers would have grown had they been given the same opportunities you had because you were white.
First ask blacks to forgive you for accepting an apartheid system that
strangled black golf growth in South Africa. Own your acceptance of the horrendous apartheid system. Its 25 years of our freedom from apartheid but we will never forget those who accepted and supported and benefitted from apartheid. And you Gary Player are one of apartheid’s beneficiaries. No how about you learn from your distasteful apartheid past and disrupt white privilege in post-apartheid SA.

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