Those of you watching the third Test on television cannot fail to notice the South African flags flying with pride just below the televison cameras at the media centre end of the ground, now called the ‘Malcolm Marshall end’, of the Kensington Oval.
They were there during the first and second Tests, too, with the blessing of the Guyana and Trinidad ground authorities who encouraged as much colour and character as possible.
Barbados, however, is very much the rich cousin of Caribbean islands so when the South Africa cameramen who carry their flags to work wherever they are in the world hung them in front of their cameras during their ‘rehearsal’ day on Wednesday, they were asked to remove them.
The request did not come from Kensington Oval staff, however, but from the Barbados Tourism Board who deemed the SA flag ‘unsuitable.’
Riaan Myburgh, from Bloemfontein and the operator of camera number 8, and his long-time colleague, Louwrens Rensburg from Brakpan, who works camera number 2, appealed to the ground authorities for a stay of execution on their beloved national colours and were succesful!
If that wasn’t enough for the snooty Bajan Tourist Board to swallow, the man who stands between Riaan and Louwrens, Fitzroy Aitken on camera number 1, decided to hoist his flag in between those of Riaan and Louwrens.
The trouble is, Fitzroy comes from Kingston, Jamaica, which is a bit like waving a Kiwi Silvern Fern or an Australian flag at the business end of a Springbok Test match at Ellis Park.
The Barbados Tourist Board then attempted to strike a deal with our intrepid lensmen from the Highveld by agreeing to the presence of the SA flags as long as the Jamaican flag was removed.
“No can do,” they replied. “In South Africa we don’t have any discrimination any more. It’s all or nothing.”
And that’s the story of how there came to be three national flags hanging from the balcony of the media centre, which is also about one metre away from where this column is being written…
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