By Alan Rushesha – First black and youngest ever former Zimbabwean cricketer Henry Olonga vowed that he was saddened by the decision made by the government not to renew his passport thereby forcing him to start a new life in a foreign country.
“Zimbabwe turned its back on me so to speak. I have attempted in vain to have my passport renewed which has not happened therefore I have been forced to move on with my life in another country,” said Olonga.
Born in Zambia to a Kenyan father John and a Zimbabwean mother Sabina in 1976, the former fast bowler said he was distressed by people who believed that he had forgotten the country which brought his fame.
“It really saddens me and shows me that people don’t look very deep into what I have said and done when they ask the question or assume I have turned my back to Zimbabwe.
“I never have and never will. In my heart I will always consider myself a Zimbabwean,” he added.
He said he has been praying for the government to renew his passport and if his dreams were anything to come by he would willingly accept the permit and bury the differences.
“Should the Zimbabwe government have a change of heart towards me I would gladly welcome a new passport,” said the dreadlocked Olonga.
Olonga said he is now concentrating on his music career although facing some challenges in the industry.
“In the mean time I am pursuing a new career in the music industry which is tough to break into but I am making small inroads.”
Back home, Olonga released a nationalistic single album named ‘Our Zimbabwe’ and has also released his first contemporary pop album “Aurelia” with one of the UK’s top producers, Robbie Bronnimann.
Henry Olonga married a white lady Tara Olonga in 2004 and is currently living in United Kingdom where he said he is more devoted to his family.
“I am also enjoying being a family man having been blessed with a lovely daughter and another baby due later this year,” he said.
Olonga made his international debut in 1995 against Pakistan, becoming the youngest player and first black cricketer to play for Zimbabwe.
All turned sour for Olonga at the 2003 World Cup when he teamed up with his then teammate Andy Flower and incited other players to wear black armbands, intended to tell the world that they were grieving the demise of democracy in their homeland.
The cricketer-cum-musician fled the country after being issued a warrant of arrest facing treason charges (which carries a death penalty).