Olonga, the first black cricketer to play for Zimbabwe, left the country in 2003 after he joined his senior white colleague Andy Flower in making a protest against Mugabe ahead of the 2003 World Cup by wearing a blank arm band signifying the death of democracy.
Olonga tells a story about his stance against Mugabe but also his unusual upbringing and battle for acceptance in a Zimbabwean dressing room dominated by older, white players.
He told Daily Mail: “’Yes, there were tensions in our team and there were two sides within it that were very polarised,’ said Olonga. ‘It was very unpleasant. I found the Zimbabwe dressing room a very cold environment towards some players, particularly me.
‘I didn’t shirk away from the issues affecting our country and Andy and I had a couple of runins. We weren’t chums. But it wasn’t a big deal.’ Now that has changed. ‘We’re much closer,’ said Olonga. ‘When you risk your lives together you can only have a deepening bond.’
On ever coming back home, Olonga who is also working on his second album and doing some drama, was candid.
‘There have been some positive changes,’ said Olonga. ‘We can’t wait for Mugabe to die before we get things back on track. I’m a passionate Zimbabwe supporter and I even got a phone call asking me to go back, telling me everything was forgiven and forgotten. I was like “really?” I don’t think I’ll go back in the short or medium term but maybe in the future. It’s not simple for me to go back anyway because Zimbabwe has refused to give me a new passport.’
He is now married to an Australian wife but the passport issue means he remains in limbo, unable to leave Britain and wondering if he can accompany his wife to Adelaide for the birth of his child