Multi-talented Olonga continues to inspire

Henry Olonga is a jack of all trades whose favourite saying, ‘don’t put your eggs in one basket’ aptly sums up his life as a former national cricket team bowler, singer, music producer, presenter and writer.

Henry Olonga on the pitch.
Henry Olonga on the pitch.

“I am busy with my next album, to be released in 2012,” he told The Zimbabwean from his UK base. “Besides music, I spend most of my time doing after dinner speaking, talks in schools and churches and video projects. I appreciate working for communities, especially youngsters, who we have a role to groom for a better future.”

The former cricketer travels all over the UK, doing a concert/talk show called, “An Evening with Henry Olonga”.

“I am simply sharing some of my story and singing to those who are interested.”

Last year saw the cricket legend release his autobiography – ‘Blood, Sweat and Treason’, while he also studied music, art, photography and videography. He still plays cricket during the summer for Lashings, a club he joined when he left his adopted home, Zimbabwe, in 2003.

A bowler par-excellence, the Lusaka-born Olonga added another feather to his cap in February that year, when he and Andy Flower wore black armbands during their World Cup match against Namibia to “mourn the death of democracy in our beloved Zimbabwe".

That act of bravery fuelled his unceremonious departure from the national team and forced him into exile at the end of the tournament. That departure of the first black man in the sport saw the country lose a genuine fast bowler who could generate a ball speed of 90mph, was handy with a bat and was extremely quick between the wickets. He was a brilliant fielder as well.

The sporting legend held the record of being the youngest ever Zimbabwean to play for his country, Olonga played 30 tests and 50 ODIs. His bowling figures of 6/19 against England in 2000 – remain the best by a Zimbabwe bowler in one day cricket.

Olonga was born 35 years ago in Zambia, to a Kenyan father (John) and a Zimbabwean mother (Sabina). He came to Zimbabwe in 1981 and attended Rhodes Estate Preparatory School and Plumtree High.

Post published in: Cricket

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