TIMELINE | From Ngidi to Smith and Boucher: How Black Lives Matter shook CSA

  • Cricket South Africa confirmed it had dropped all charges against Proteas head coach Mark Boucher.
  • Boucher was charged with the role he played in the alleged discrimination following last year’s Social Justice and National Building (SJN) hearings.
  • How did it come to this? Sport24’s timeline details events that led to this point following fast bowler Lungi Ngidi’s comment that sparked a change in South African cricket.

On Tuesday, Cricket South Africa (CSA) confirmed the discrimination case against current Proteas head coach and former wicketkeeper Mark Boucher has been dropped.

Boucher had been charged with “gross misconduct” for his alleged role in the racial discrimination experienced by former national spinner Paul Adams and former assistant coach Enoch Nkwe.

It’s been nearly a two-year build-up to Boucher’s eventual charge, which all began in 2020 with the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Sport24 details a timeline of how the movement sparked the sensitive topic of racism in South African cricket and how the need for change is evident in the controversial organisation:

6 July 2020 – Lungi Ngidi’s comment on Black Lives Matter

At a CSA awards press conference, Proteas fast bowler Lungi Ngidi expressed his support for the Black Lives Matter movement, which gained traction in 2020.

Ngidi revealed he would be eager to address the issue in the Proteas dressing room.

9 July 2020 – Boeta Dippenaar and Pat Symcox have other thoughts

Former South African cricketers Boeta Dippenaar and Pat Symcox made it clear they were not in agreement with Ngidi, arguing “all lives matter” and that the fast bowler shouldn’t get the national team “involved in his belief”.

14 July 2020 – 30 former Proteas express support for Ngidi

Thirty former Proteas – all of colour – signed and expressed their support for Ngidi and the Black Lives Matter movement, hoping for CSA to “support black cricketers who come forward to air their stories”.

18 July 2020 – Robbie Frylinck’s alleged punching

Former Dolphins pacer Ayavuya Myoli detailed to Sport24 how the trade union failed him when he was allegedly assaulted by former team-mate and Protea Robbie Frylinck.

Myoli was allegedly assaulted by Frylinck on the way to Cape Town in January 2016.

Frylinck, who played three T20Is for the Proteas, apologised to Myoli privately, which effectively saw him drop the charges.

17 July 2020 – Makhaya Ntini’s heartbreaking revelation

Former Proteas fast bowler Makhaya Ntini stated on SABC’s Morning Live he often felt lonely throughout his international career.

Ntini, who played 101 Tests, 173 ODIs and 10 T20s for the Proteas between 1998 and 2011, was the first black African cricketer to play for South Africa.

In one of the revelations, he detailed how he had avoided travelling on the Proteas team bus to overcome the loneliness he felt in the dressing room during the start of his career.

22 July 2020 – Graeme Smith takes the knee with Ntini

Days after Ntini’s interview, former Proteas captain and then-director of cricket Graeme Smith expressed his support for the movement and took a knee at CSA’s 3TC Solidarity Cup at SuperSport Park.

Francois Pienaar, Graeme Smith and Makhaya Ntini take the knee at 3TC (Gallo Images)

Gallo Images Lee Warren/Gallo Images

24 July 2020 – CSA announces the SJN

CSA unveiled a plan of action in response to the national outcry over the Black Lives Matter campaign with the establishment of the Office of the Transformation Ombudsman.

This, in turn, saw the form of the Social Justice and Nation Building (SJN) project, which aimed to eradicate any racism, discrimination or feelings of exclusion from cricket.

29 July 2020 – CSA meets with 40 former black South African players

CSA’s then-president Chris Nenzani and 40 black former Proteas cricketers and senior coaches met in a video meeting, which saw the “acknowledgement that certain wrongs were committed” in South African cricket and a process to correct them was “necessary and urgent”.

13 August 2020 – Thami Tsolekile’s attack on Graeme Smith

Former Proteas wicketkeeper-batsman Thami Tsolekile appeared on Robert Marawa’s Marawa Sport Worldwide and highlighted what he considered to be a series of injustices experienced during his playing days and involvement in the national set-up. 

Tsolekile, who is banned from the game for 12 years for match-fixing, aimed a tirade of attacks and questions at his former captain Smith, stating he wanted an apology.

18-22 August 2020 – Proteas go on culture camp

The current Proteas team, coaching and supported staff gathered for a five-day culture camp in Skukuza, where they formed a new team identity and discussed the team environment.

28 August 2020 – Ntsebeza appointed and SJN hearings confirmed

CSA unveiled advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza as the ombudsperson for its SJN project. It was announced hearings would commence in May 2021 with a planned meeting with the large group of 40 plus former players.

19 November 2020 – Proteas decide not to kneel

The Proteas returned to competitive cricket after a nine-month Covid-19 disruption for three T20s against England at home.

The Proteas decided to not take a knee with Proteas fast bowler Kagiso Rabada stating it was the team’s decision.

19 December 2020 – CSA to encourage, not compel Proteas on BLM

CSA’s then-interim board chairperson Judge Zak Yacoob said it was in the “national interest” that the Proteas support and address discrimination, indignities and exclusions.

CSA stated it would not “compel” the Proteas to act and change their stance over the Black Lives Matter movement.

26 December 2020 – Proteas raise fists in Boxing Day Test

South African players raised their fists in an anti-racism gesture at the start of the two-Test series against Sri Lanka in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Lungi Ngidi and Lutho Sipamla (Gallo)

Lungi Ngidi and Lutho Sipamla (Gallo)

10 July 2021 – Proteas make their own gesture

At the start of the opening Test against the West Indies in St Lucia, several Proteas players took the knee and others stood with their fists raised in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

It was the first time the South African men’s national team took the knee in an international match with the entire West Indian team taking the knee.

12 July 2021 – Omar Henry takes SJN stand

Former spinner Omar Henry detailed in the hearings how he clashed with former captain Kepler Wessels and nearly left the 1992 Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Henry, who was the first player of colour to represent South Africa since readmission, was not selected for the New Zealand game and said his questioning of his non-selection led to an altercation with Wessels.

Henry, who played three Tests and three ODIs for his country, explained how he was victimised for joining a white’s only club.

14 July 2021 – Aaron Phangiso takes SJN stand

Former Proteas spinner Aaron Phangiso detailed how not playing regularly in the national team affected him financially in the hearings.

Phangiso, who played 21 ODIs and 16 T20s for South Africa, questioned the difference in what the match-day players and those who carried drinks earned.

16 July 2021 – Roger Telemachus takes SJN stand

Former Proteas pacer Roger Telemachus talked about the existence of a “Big Five” in the Proteas set-up at the 2007 Cricket World Cup in the West Indies.

Telemachus, played 37 ODIs and did not get a game during the World Cup in the Caribbean, did not mention specific names but said the group consisted of white players.

23 July 2021 – Paul Adams takes the stand and Boucher is mentioned in the hearings

In his under-oath testimony, former Proteas spinner Paul Adams alleged he had experienced instances of racial discrimination, including team-mates calling him “brown s***” in the late 1990s.

Adams, who played 45 Tests for his country, was questioned by advocate Fumisa Ngqele if Boucher was one of the players who addressed him as “brown s***” with Adams confirming Boucher was “one of the guys”.

5 August 2021 – Ex-Proteas selector on AB de Villiers’ push to snub Khaya Zondo

Former national selector Hussein Manack’s SJN testimony revealed former captain AB de Villiers allegedly blocked Khaya Zondo’s inclusion in the fifth ODI against India in 2015. 

Manack stated David Miller, despite being in poor form, was picked for the decider ahead of Zondo after De Villiers met with then-CEO Haroon Lorgat.

7 August 2021 – Khaya Zondo takes SJN stand

Following Manack’s revelation, Zondo’s testimony was given, which detailed the pain he experienced because of his De Villiers-enforced non-selection in the ODI in Mumbai.

Zondo said the decision to leave him out of that game left him wondering whether exclusionary racial dynamics were at play and also lamented how the missed playing opportunities deprived him a chance of a potential Indian Premier League contract.

22 August 2021 – Boucher apologises to Adams

Boucher submitted a 14-page affidavit to the Social Justice and Nation Building hearings, responding to allegations of racism levelled at him during his playing days. 

Boucher acknowledged a lot of what happened in those fines meetings was inappropriate and sincerely apologised “for any real and perceived inappropriate behaviour by me“.

24 August 2021 – Proteas assistant coach steps down

Days following Boucher’s apology, Proteas assistant coach Enoch Nkwe left his position in the national set-up.

Nkwe stepped down from his role as Boucher’s assistant and “raised concerns about the functioning and culture of the team environment”.

26 October 2021 – CSA instructs Proteas to take a knee, Quinton de Kock refuses 

The morning of the Proteas’ T20 World Cup encounter against the West Indies, the CSA board issued a directive requiring all Proteas players to adopt a united stance against racism by “taking the knee” for the remainder of the T20 World Cup in Dubai.

Proteas star wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock refused to take the knee and declared himself unavailable for the T20 World Cup starting XI against the Windies.

28 October 2021 – De Kock apologises

After his refusal to take the knee sparked outrage in the cricketing world, De Kock opened up on his decision and apologised to his team-mates and South African cricket supporters. 

De Kock took the knee alongside his team-mates for the remainder of the T20 World Cup.

Rassie vd Dussen, Quinton de Kock (Photo by Isuru Sameera Peiris/Gallo Images)


Quinton De Kock. (Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

Getty Images

15 December 2021 – CSA finds Boucher, Smith appointments ‘flawed’

Cricket South Africa made public its report that followed the Social Justice and Nation Building (SJN) hearings this year that sought to address racism, discrimination, and exclusion in the game. 

The 235-page report from Ombudsman advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza included his assessment the appointments of head coach Boucher and director of cricket Smith were both “flawed” procedurally. 

It also found ex-skipper De Villiers “unfairly discriminated against Zondo on racial grounds”.

20 January 2022 – Boucher charged with misconduct by CSA

Boucher was charged with “gross misconduct” by CSA for the allegations of racism levelled against him by his former Proteas team-mate, Adams.

The inquiry also stated they would consider concerns and allegations that arose following the resignation of Nkwe, who pointed towards cultural issues within the team environment upon his departure.

Boucher continues his role as Proteas head coach for the summer.

4 March 2022 – CSA confirm Smith faces formal ‘arbitration proceedings’ over racism

Smith was involved in an arbitration hearing following the “tentative findings” of SJN chairperson Ntsebeza that Smith’s and Boucher’s appointments were procedurally “flawed”.

31 March 2022 – Smith’s last day as director of cricket

Smith’s contract expires. He does not re-apply for his job.

25 April 2022 – Smith cleared of racism allegations 

Smith was cleared of all racism allegations levelled against him by CSA’s SJN report that alleged he had engaged in racially biased and discriminatory behaviour as Proteas captain and director of cricket.

It was confirmed two independent advocates had cleared Smith of all allegations and they also instructed CSA to pay Smith’s legal costs. 

8 May 2022 – Adams will not testify in Boucher hearings

Adams confirmed he would not be testifying at Boucher’s hearing, scheduled to run from 16 to 20 May.

The Proteas spinner stated he did not go into the SJN hearings with the intention to single out Boucher and spoke his truth.

10 May 2022 – CSA drops Boucher charges

CSA dropped all charges against Boucher, which leaves him free to continue his role as head coach of the national team.

CSA added it would contribute towards Boucher’s legal costs.


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