HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Back two Zimbabwe candid players, one atramentous and one white, staged a adventuresome beef adjoin the administration of Robert Mugabe at a Apple Cup bold 14 years ago, they knew it would apparently end their careers at home and maybe alike put their lives in danger.
At the 2003 candid Apple Cup, with TV cameras bright the activity alive to the world, Henry Olonga and Andy Flower absolved out at a amphitheater beyond the alley from Mugabe's offices in Harare cutting atramentous armbands taped over the sleeves of their red Zimbabwe shirts. It was to ache what they alleged "the afterlife of democracy" in their country beneath Mugabe.
The abruptness act of apostasy at the aboriginal Apple Cup bold in Zimbabwe — alike teammates had no abstraction what Olonga and Flower had secretly planned to do — gave the hardships of accustomed Zimbabweans all-embracing acknowledgment and about ashamed Mugabe.
Olonga, the aboriginal atramentous man to comedy for Zimbabwe, was abandoned by candid admiral loyal to Mugabe and hounded by afterlife threats. He and Flower never played for Zimbabwe afresh afterwards the Apple Cup and, fearing added austere repercussions, larboard their home country.
At the age of 26, Olonga's candid career was over and he had to alpha afresh from blemish in a new country. He consistently knew that was apparently activity to happen.
What Olonga, a cricketer by day and accompanist by night, couldn't accept accepted is that a affectionate song he aboriginal recorded in a baby bedroom, and which was banned on TV and radio afterwards his protest, would become the soundtrack of change in Zimbabwe back Mugabe was assuredly affected out added than a decade later.
Olonga's song "Our Zimbabwe" has been arena consistently on civic television, already the advocate of Mugabe, over the aftermost two weeks, both in the canicule arch up to and back Mugabe's abandonment aftermost Tuesday. Calling for Zimbabweans to affiliate and angle up for their country, it's become a affectionate of actionable civic canticle accepted by blissful Zimbabweans at the end of Mugabe's 37-year rule.
It's taken about 15 years, but Zimbabwe is alert to Olonga's song again.
"I was abundantly afraid to apprehend that the bodies of Zimbabwe accept accepted the song and that ZBC (the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation) has been arena it as contest abundant in Zimbabwe," Olonga told The Associated Press in an account from Australia, area he's been active in exile. "It is actual base for all of us involved.
"It stands as a claiming to anniversary and every Zimbabwean to embrace their allotment in authoritative a angle for their country. Judging by contest that occurred recently, I anticipate Zimbabweans are accolade their articulation and accept done aloof that."
The song's lyrics reflect the accepted affection of Zimbabweans, admiring for change from repression and atrocious bread-and-butter struggles beneath Mugabe: "We've been through it all, we've had our days, we've had our falls," sings Olonga in the 2001 music video as he looks over the Zimbabwean countryside from the top of a hill. "Now the time has appear for us to stand, to angle as one."
The song was conceived and aboriginal recorded "in a little bedchamber flat in Harare," Olonga said. It was aboriginal appear 16 years ago, "but I achievement its aspect has stood the analysis of time," he said.
Olonga's accommodation to angle up adjoin Mugabe had austere ramifications for him. Flower, eight years older, had absitively he would retire from all-embracing candid afterwards the Apple Cup anyway, and had a arrangement with a aggregation in England to go to. He went on to become drillmaster of England, one of the better jobs in cricket.
But because he was black, Olonga's act was beheld as abnormally betraying by the government of Mugabe, Zimbabwe's aboriginal baton afterwards the end of white boyhood aphorism in 1980 and already a admired adept of Africa's liberation movement. Mugabe's government capital to try Olonga for treason. He spent some time at a safe abode afore beat to Britain. He eventually acclimatized in Australia, area he now lives with his wife and children. He appear an anthology "Aurelia" in 2006 and his 2010 book "Blood, Sweat and Treason," an autobiography, was shortlisted for a above award.
Although his candid beef was abundantly brave, Olonga prefers to allocution about his song as a abiding afflatus for Zimbabweans, abnormally in the assignment of rebuilding now afterwards Mugabe. The song additionally reflects his own activity journey, with the additional verse: "Though I may go to abroad borders, my affection will ache for this my home, for time and amplitude may abstracted us and yet she holds my affection alone."
Olonga, now 41, hasn't set bottom in Zimbabwe back he left, in a hurry, in 2003. It ability assuredly be time to return.
"The accurate litmus analysis activity advanced is whether anniversary Zimbabwean will heed the alarm and comedy their part," he said. "I apperceive I will if the befalling arises."