Basil D’Oliveira dies at the age of 80

He was a world-class cricketer well known for the 1968 ‘D’Oliveira affair’ centred around his inclusion in the England squad for the South African tour. His inclusion was against the apartheid laws and the tour was subsequently cancelled.

Basil was born in Cape Town and his cricket prowess saw him captain the South African non-white cricket team whilst he also played football.

He was classified as “coloured” in race in accordance with the apartheid government’s Race Classification Act, albeit being of Indian-Portuguese descent.

During the early 1960s, he emigrated to England where he joined a Middleton cricket club – this was made possible through the help of members and supporters of the St. Augustine’s Cricket Club in Cape Town which saw that he stood a much better chance of succeeding in this field overseas, where were no discriminatory laws based on race. He also became a British citizen and settled there.

Basil has been battling with Parkinson’s disease for quite some time before succumbing to death. He is survived by his wife Naomi and son Damian who was also a first-class cricketer. His grandson, Brett D’Oliveira, has also been contracted to Worcestershire earlier and made his debut earlier this year.

Cricket South Africa chief executive Gerald Majola, was quoted as saying, "He was a man of true dignity and a wonderful role model as somebody who overcame the most extreme prejudices and circumstances to take his rightful place on the world stage," commenting on Basil’s passing on the News24.

Basil d’Oliveira is honoured in the trophy that bears his name that the Proteas squad and England compete for in every Test series between the two countries. The Proteas have held the trophy since 2008

back to the Basil D'Oliviera memorial page

"A black man can't be a white man during a day's sport, then revert to being a black man."
Basil D'Oliviera
Basil D'Oliviera, 1966
Picture © Sunday Times


Editorials: historical opinions and arguments

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Archive Photo Gallery
Spotlight on a reluctant hero: Basil D’Oliveira in action on the field and in top hat and tails at Buckingham Palace.
Take a 360° tour of the memorial site on Campground Road in Newlands, Cape Town.
Basil D'Oliviera - Lost son of South African Cricket
Features footage of the 1968 England-Australia test, and of BJ Vorster explaining why D’Oliveira could not play in his own country.