Thirst for unity quenched

Tweet to buy beer at Test for those sit­ting to­gether, brings Cas­tle on board

Daily Dispatch - - News - BHONGO JA­COB bhon­[email protected]­soblack­star.co.za

What started off as a sim­ple tweet from for­mer Dale Col­lege crick­eter and King Wil­liam’s Town-bred Qhama Xhali ended up unit­ing 400 peo­ple from all over South Africa to watch the third Test match be­tween the Proteas and Pak­istan at the Wan­der­ers Sta­dium in Johannesburg at the week­end.

Xhali, who is now based in Johannesburg and is bet­ter known on so­cial net­works as Clixwell, in­vited friends and strangers alike to the game and of­fered a free beer for ev­ery­body who came to sit at what was termed the unity stand.

The tweet, made last Sun­day, blew up on so­cial me­dia lead­ing to the hash­tag #ClixIsBuy­ing.

Speak­ing to the Daily Dis­patch at the game, Xhali said: “We have a nice small com­mu­nity of peo­ple who like to tweet about cricket and I’ve come to Test matches dur­ing the past three years and we al­ways find our­selves scat­tered around the grounds.

“So I said, ‘let’s all come to one stand and sit to­gether and [I’ll] buy you a drink and we’ll have the ban­ter we have on so­cial me­dia in real life’.”

How­ever to his as­ton­ish­ment, the tweet gar­nered 214 replies in 24 hours.

“It re­ceived so many replies within a day and I re­alised it was out of my my pay grade,” chuck­led Xhali.

With in­ter­est ris­ing, Xhali sought as­sis­tance from SA beer brand Cas­tle Lager which spon­sored 400 tick­ets and free beer to first-time cricket watch­ers on Satur­day through the brand’s #SmashTheLa­bel Cam­paign.

The la­bel was launched in July 2018 to shine the spot­light on stereo­types and la­belling and to en­cour­age South Africans to judge peo­ple on their char­ac­ter and their ac­tions and not their cul­tural back­grounds.

Xhali said: “#SmashTheLa­bel was a won­der­ful in­ter­ven­tion. I did not know about the cam­paign but they got in­volved and asked me how many peo­ple I had for the game and if they were cricket lovers.

“I told them it’s just peo­ple with dif­fer­ent in­ter­ests but who want to be around peo­ple they can in­ter­act with; peo­ple com­ing to­gether not nec­es­sar­ily in the name of cricket but de­bunk­ing the stereo­types we have.”

As a re­sult, the 30-year-old met some of his so­cial me­dia friends for the first time at the game.

“There’s a friend I met to­day, we have been fol­low­ing each other for three years on so­cial me­dia. I don’t know where I would have been with­out this Test match or Cas­tle in­ter­ven­ing.”

He urged the youth to use so­cial me­dia as a cat­a­lyst for change.

“The scale of so­cial me­dia has changed so dra­mat­i­cally in the time that I’ve been on it. I’ve seen so­cial me­dia tear peo­ple down, but I’ve also seen so­cial me­dia en­able peo­ple to pay school fees to grad­u­ate.

“Peo­ple have met their spouses on so­cial me­dia, it’s got the power to unite and to­day is a per­fect ex­am­ple of how it can be used for the good.”

ABinBev spon­sor­ship man­ager Gregg Fry said: “We want to bring #SmashTheLa­bel to sport, we want new fans to go to soc­cer, cricket and rugby and to­day is a nice ex­am­ple of how one per­son’s tweet, who re­ally un­der­stands our mes­sage of bring­ing peo­ple to­gether, ended up en­cour­ag­ing us to give 400 tick­ets to peo­ple who have not been to cricket be­fore and we were all keen to sit to­gether with new peo­ple.

“We are a home­grown brand, we call our­selves the spirit of the na­tion, we sup­port all our na­tional teams.”

Fry said peo­ple needed to cel­e­brate SA’s cul­tural di­ver­sity.

“Qhama’s tweet ask­ing peo­ple to come to the cricket res­onated with us as a brand. The fact that he wanted to meet new peo­ple and bring them to watch cricket has been amaz­ing. The num­ber of peo­ple who wanted to come to the cricket for the first time and en­joy a beer to­gether is more im­por­tant than the spon­sor­ship of the cricket.”

Con­tin­ued Fry: “We can all be proud of the mes­sage. We re­ally an­swered a call to bet­ter so­ci­ety, and we all know sport unites so­ci­ety and it feels like one place where peo­ple from all walks of life can come to­gether.

“If we can con­tinue bring­ing peo­ple to­gether to sta­di­ums, open­ing up con­ver­sa­tions about stereo­types that we have – it’s only a pos­i­tive thing for the peo­ple and fu­ture of our coun­try,” he said.

I don’t know where I would have been with­out this Test match or Cas­tle

Pic­ture :BHONGO JA­COB

UNITED WE STAND: Qhama Xhali, whose tweet saw 400 peo­ple re­ceiv­ing tick­ets to the third Test match be­tween the Proteas and Pak­istan, en­joys the game with some of the fans who came to watch the sport for the first time at the Wan­der­ers Cricket Sta­dium in Johannesburg on Satur­day.

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