Temba Bavuma: 'Perceptions about color will always be there'

temba bavuma s. africa intv mckenzie_00011424
temba bavuma s. africa intv mckenzie_00011424


    Temba Bavuma: S. Africa's history maker


Temba Bavuma: S. Africa's history maker 02:07

Story highlights

  • Bavuma first black player to score century for South Africa
  • Only sixth black cricketer to represent country since 1991

(CNN)It was a cricket match that smashed numerous records, but the achievement of Temba Bavuma will never be equaled again.

The 25-year-old batsman's maiden century in the second Test match against England at Cape Town was the first time a black South African had reached three figures.
Bavuma's 102 not out may not have been as spectacular as England's Ben Stokes who blasted 258 runs off 168 balls -- the second fastest double century in Test history -- but its significance could be far greater.
    "There was a lot of relief, a lot of satisfaction," the batsmen told CNN of his historic innings.
    Bavuma is already being touted as the future face of South African cricket, a lot of pressure for a cricketing nation with a history of sporting exclusion.
    Temba Bavuma with his significantly taller batting partner Chris Morris during the second Test against England
    Bavuma is only the sixth black cricketer to represent his country -- and the first specialist batsmen -- since South Africa's exclusion from competing in international sport was lifted in 1991.
    One of those six, 20-year-old fast bowler Kagisho Rabada, joins him in the current squad.
    Rabada will be hoping to emulate the career of South Africa's first black international player, Makhaya Ntini, who played 101 Test matches, taking 390 Test wickets between 1998 - 2009.
    Despite the increasing opportunities for black players, Bavuma thinks the general public will remain skeptical about their selection.
    "The perception that you've been selected because of your color, or that numbers need to be made up, will always be there," he said.

    Physical barriers

    It is not only political barriers he has had to overcome, but physical ones too.
    Standing at just 5 foot 4 inches, Bavuma gives away over a foot in height to England fast bowler Stuart Broad who stands at 6 foot 6 inches -- but the diminutive Cape Town-born star isn't phased.
    "It's something that I've grown up with," he explains. "Guys have always been a head taller than me, so it's something that I'm kinda used to."
    "I always have butterflies in my stomach and I sweat a lot," he says, pointing at his right palm.
    "Those are the kind of things I have to deal with, but then when you're out in the middle your instincts take over."
    Bavuma celebrates reaching his historic 100
    A.B. de Villiers, who took over as South Africa's Test captain after Hashim Amla resigned last week, is hopeful Bavuma can repeat his form in the remaining two Tests against England.
    "We are all so proud of him, very happy with the way he performed and hopefully some more runs to come," de Villiers said.
    South Africa currently trail England 1-0 in the four-match series. The third Test gets underway in Johannesburg on Thursday.