Living and growing up as an Indian in South Africa, one is always lambasted with anti-racism, or should I say anti apartheid comments. Living as an Indian during the apartheid regime meant you had limited rights and freedoms, and many of our parents suffered as a consequence of it.
The big change happened in 1994. Some 16 years ago. However even prior to that, change was evident. Growing up in the late 80's and early 90's we were quite free to do as we pleased.There were not many restrictions on our daily lives, and those horrible days we just heard about, yet not experienced personally.
South African sport was in isolation. We grew up watching Transvaal under Clive Rice, and English League soccer on TV 3. Benson & Hedges cricket was the best in the world. Or rather all we knew about. Then suddenly, a tour to India. Watching Mohammed Azharudin and Sachin Tendulkar. Followed closely by 1992 World Cup. Mark Greatbatch, Allan Border, Imran Khan, Curtley Ambrose. A whole new world of cricket. South Africa overnight became a renowned team.
Names like Jonty Rhodes legends worldwide.
Yet for some odd reason South African Indians still chose not to support their country. Statements I've personally heard was " I will never support these racists" or " I support India and whoever plays against South Africa!"
And sixteen years on...
Hashim Amla, everyone's hero scores 253* against the number one ranked side in the world. A real proud moment for every South African. Do we choose to support Amla exclusively or the entire setup? Why is it that we, South Africans by birth,continue to have these 'racist' ideals now against what we firmly believed all those years back to be horrible?
Look within us, and ask ourselves, is supporting Hash exclusively not being racist? We would love three or four players of 'Indian' origin representing South Africa. Will we support our National Team then? If that is not being racist I don't know what is.
The team you support is ultimately your choice personally. The reason you choose to support them also is in your hands. However we need to realise that if these reasons are based purely on race or religion we are fooling ourselves. We despise 'whites' who have a disregard of the potential of Amla, yet we feel the same about other players?
Something to ponder. In the words of Ml. Bilal Moolla: " Life is short. There isn't enough time to love, yet we find time to hate? "