Posthumous honour for ex-SA skipper Hansie Cronje

Hansie Cronje during the press conference in which he declared: ‘the Devil made me do it(fix matches)’ Getty Images

Johannesburg: May 18, 2011

Nearly a decade after his death, former South African cricket captain Hansie Cronje will be one of the recipients for posthumous honours.

Cronje, who died in a plane crash under mysterious circumstances in 2002, precipitated the greatest crisis in world cricket two years earlier when he admitted to involvement in match fixing after Indian authorities began probing phone calls.

Minister of Arts and Culture Paul Mashatile will deliver the keynote address in Johannesburg on June 4 at the Siyabakhumbula Tribute Awards, which are intended to posthumously honour a number of extraordinary South Africans who changed the landscape of the country.

Now in their second year, the awards were conceived after Vhutsila Arts Ensemble’s Mzwakhe Mbuli saw a need to pay homage to those South Africans who have played an important role in creating and building a democratic South Africa.

“Too often, people forget what they should remember, but remember what they should forget,” Mbuli said.

Despite a life ban on playing cricket by the ICC after an inconclusive King Commission of Inquiry instituted by the South African government, Cronje remained a public favourite.

Cronje was adored by the South African public and commanded the respect of millions throughout the world for his shining cricket captaincy as he led South Africa back to international glory in the post-apartheid era.

But Cronje’s downfall came swiftly as Indian police disclosed Cronje’s involvement with Indian bookmakers, followed by a dramatic confession by Cronje that “the Devil made me do it.”

Cronje was honoured in various ways after his death, including interment of his ashes at the school where he started his cricket career.

In 2008, his elder brother Frans Cronje released a film on Hansie’s career and his attempts to make amends for his self-confessed bad deeds.