Iconic cricket player, Henry Olonga made history when he became Zimbabwe’s first black player. Just 18 years old when he made his international debut, Henry also made headlines as Chevron’s youngest ever player. A talented bowler, Henry played 30 Test matches for his country, 50 One Day Internationals and represented his country at the 1996 Cricket World Cup. Always keen to use his platform for good, Henry has become a popular BAME speaker since retiring from the sport and discusses topics such as racism, overcoming adversity and his experience as the first black player.
By the mid-90s Henry had forged a reputation as one of the best bowlers in the world and represented his country in three Cricket World Cups. His career came to a premature end in 2003 when he decided that his morals were more important than sport. During the World Cup in South Africa Henry and his teammate, Andy Flower decided to wear black armbands to mourn the ‘death of democracy’ in Zimbabwe in a protest against Robert Mugabe’s regime. He is widely regarded as a hero due to these actions, as following the gesture the Zimbabwean government put out a warrant for his arrest for treason, and he later wrote the book Blood, Sweat and Treason: My Story recounting his story. He moved to England to escape punishment and has often received death threats. When booked as a BAME speaker Henry often recalls these times explaining the importance of his actions and how it felt to be ostracised from his home country.
Born in Zambia to a Zimbabwean mother, Henry was an avid sportsman in his youth and was inspired by his brother Victor, a professional rugby player who captained his country. He made his domestic debut aged just 17 in 1994 representing Matabeleland. A year later he made his international debut for Zimbabwe making him the first black player to ever represent the nation as well as their youngest ever player.
Since being forced to retire from professional cricket Henry has worked as a commentator on some of the sport’s biggest matches as well as pursuing a career as a singer. When hired as a BAME speaker, Henry provides captivating speeches encapsulating his cricket career and expert insight on a whole host of important topics.
Henry Olonga is regularly booked to engage audiences at events, read their latest feedback below:
“Probably one of the best speakers we have ever had.”
“Henry is a fine role model for young cricketers, one whose cheerfulness, humility and positive attitude win him friends wherever he goes.”
A professional delight, Henry was a brilliant, engaging speaker with amazing, jaw dropping talent.”