This week we were delighted to welcome the former cricketer Henry Olonga to Sidcot to speak to students as part of our Wednesday activity programme. For those not familiar with his story, Henry grew up in Africa and played professional cricket for Zimbabwe. He, along with his fellow cricketer Andy Flower, staged a protest against the tyranny of Robert Mugabe’s regime in Zimbabwe, wearing black armbands when playing in matches to draw attention to his unjust policies.
Henry spoke at length about his life: growing up in Africa, being introduced to sport at an early age and developing confidence and a will to achieve his potential. He engaged his audience and was both insightful and entertaining. At the end of his talk, he took questions from the floor and one of the most telling things he said was in response to one of our students asking why he chose to cut short his cricketing career by standing up to the Zimbabwean government, “I saw a brief window in my life to make a difference in the world and I took it.” This desire to use his position to make a difference – to speak truth to power – is one which resonates with the values we hold so dear at Sidcot. It was a great privilege spending time with Henry. One which I will not quickly forget, nor I suspect will anyone lucky enough to be in the audience.