Macka bats for Yagga Rowe
Macka Diamond

MACKA Diamond feels it's time for Jamaica to stop treating former Jamaican and West Indies cricketer Lawrence “Yagga” Rowe as a pariah for leading two rebel tours to South Africa during the 1980s.

“Let me see the hands of those who are without sin. Imagine, after some 40 years one of our best cricketers is still treated like a bastard. Is this the example we want to teach our children that we have no room for forgiveness? What is appalling is that we see Jamaica as a Christian country but we are not displaying the examples in the Bible, which includes love and forgiveness,” Macka Diamond told the Jamaica Observer.

Rowe captained two tours, 1982 and 1983, to apartheid-ruled South Africa and was banned for life, but this was subsequently lifted.

Additionally, 11 years ago a decision was made to rename the players' pavilion the Lawrence Rowe Players Pavilion. However, that was withdrawn after public outcry.

“We need to follow Mandela's example and forgive,” she said.

Mandela refers to Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa. He was imprisoned for 27 years for his opposition to the apartheid system and released from prison on February 11, 1999.

He eventually rose to become president in 2003. He passed away 10 years later at 95.

“Mandela did not return evil for evil on his return from prison. He moved forward and assisted in building a South Africa that is now not racially segregrated. That is what we should do – forgive,” said Macka Diamond.

Rowe made his debut Test match against New Zealand at Sabina Park in Kingston on February 16, 1972, 50 years ago. The talented right-handed batsman made 214 and 100 not out. He feels slighted at being left off the Sabina Park mural recognising great Jamaican cricketers.

The rebel players were banned for life for going to South Africa, by what was then the West Indies Cricket Board of Control. That penalty was subsequently lifted and one of the rebels, Barbadian fast-bowler Ezra Moseley, played for the West Indies against England in 1990 at Sabina Park.

Those players, including Rowe, were honoured by the West Indies Cricket Board at a 1997 ceremony at the Jamaica Pegasus in Kingston that celebrated the regional team.

Today South Africa is a totally different place from the segregated country of the 1980s.

Macka Diamond has a three-date gig in South Africa with Canadian sound system Twinstar International. She is slated to appear in Randburg on March 26, Botswana on April 2, and Pretoria on April 9.

“I first visited South Africa in 2019 when I was billed for a show, 'Twin Star International' in South Africa. I did three shows in Johannesburg and returned to Jamaica. The promoter called for two more shows,” she said.

“It was great. Not only was I amazed about the love I got from fans but the place... I am impressed with the beaches in Johannesburg, which is so clean. It reminds me of the city in Canada, a place I would live any day,” she continued.

Macka Diamond, born Charmaine Monroe, is known for songs including Bun Him, Dye Dye, Cow Foot and Money Ooh.

Lawrence Rowe

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