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This week marks the tenth death anniversary of South Africa’s captain Hansie Cronje, who was killed in a plane crash in 2002. Jonathan Agnew, in a podcast for bbc.co.uk, says that Cronje was amongst the few people endorsed by Nelson Mandela, in the post-apartheid era, to send out the message of rehabilitation.
“The political side of it was fascinating. The new South Africa needed an icon that could bridge the gap between the old and the new, and Cronje was perfect for that. He was endorsed publicly by Nelson Mandela. Mandela selected Cronje as the sportsman who would send out the message of rehabilitation,” Agnew said. “He was more than just a cricketer, he was more than just a captain of South Africa. He was more than what David Beckham is to British sport. Cronje was higher than that because of the task and responsibility that he had been given my Nelson Mandela."