Casting a cricketing legacy
The curtain was finally drawn on one of Pietermaritzburg’s most enduring sporting legacies when Aurora Cricket Club symbolically handed over its accumulated trust funds to the KwaZulu-Natal Inland Cricket Union.
The modest ceremony at The Oval officially marked the end of the club that pioneered non-racial cricket in the city during the apartheid years. However, the ravages of time took its toll and Aurora ceased to function as a club soon after the completion of the unity process in the city during the early 1990s.
Its legacy has continued though, and the R72 500 worth of trust funds handed to the KZNICU will be deployed for the advancement of cricket in the region under the KZNICU auspices.
“We’re still deliberating on the most effective way to utilise the Aurora Trust Fund,” said KZNICU president Yunus Bhamjee. Among the options is a bursary fund to assist promising cricketers, he said.
The hand-over ceremony featured three Aurora stalwarts in Roy Bunwarrie, Christopher Merrett and Bryan Rupram who could not resist the opportunity to reminiscence about the days when the club and its members were the target of the former regime’s security apparatus.
Peculiar as the trip down memory lane may seem to people not familiar with the era of petty apartheid, paranoia, harassment and security police raids, Aurora helped to galvanise opposition to the segregationist policies of the National Party.
It also put on the agenda the unequal development of facilities and development, a theme that to this day resonates loudly with the KZNICU.
“The Aurora legacy is undeniably part of the history of cricket in Pietermaritzburg and surrounds, and we acknowledge the role it has played in the development of the game,” he said.
To this end, the KZNICU plans to honour the Aurora heritage with a plaque and a tree-planting ceremony.