A RED carpet ceremony was held to posthumously award the Freedom of the City of Worcester to local cricketing legend Basil D'Oliveira.

The Mayor of Worcester Jabba Riaz presented the Freedom of the City Certificate to the cricketer's son, Shaun D’Oliveira, and unveiled an inscribed plaque which will be permanently on display at the Guildhall.

The accolade was made 50 years after the so-called D'Oliveira Affair, which prompted a sporting boycott of apartheid South Africa. 

The Affair saw Basil D’Oliveira, who was of Indian-Portugese descent, initially not selected to play a tour of South Africa because of South Africa’s apartheid rules.

After a national outcry in the British press, Mr D’Oliveira was called up to the England squad, a move that prompted South Africa to cancel the tour.

The D'Oliveira Affair is now seen as a watershed in the sporting boycott of apartheid South Africa.

It led to a dramatic turn in international opinion against the South African regime and is credited as being a landmark on the road to the eventual fall of apartheid in the early 1990s.

Cllr Riaz said: “Basil D’Oliveira became a symbol of the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, linking Worcestershire cricket to international politics in the process. 

"Millions of people around the world owe him a debt of gratitude – it's a great honour to posthumously award the Freedom of the City of Worcester to his family.”

A banquet was held after the ceremony, on Friday, September 14.

Mr D’Oliveira was born into a Catholic family in South Africa in 1931.

A keen cricketer from an early age, he played in South Africa’s national non-white team before emigrating to England in 1960.

He joined Worcestershire County Cricket Club in 1964 and was first selected for the England team in 1966.