Charles Bennett (Buck) Llewellyn was born in Pietermaritzburg to an English father and black mother. Being of mixed–raced meant that Llewellyn was significantly darker than the average white person. Even so, he would pass himself off as a white person since it was easier to be White in South Africa  in those days. His parents were never married and he was considered an illegitimate child. Though he was darker, he was closer to white in appearance than he was to black, so much so that he could get away with it at times.

From a young age, Llewellyn displayed great talent in cricket. He was an all round cricketer, being a hard hitting left-handed batsman, slow left arm bowler (with a dangerous china man as part of his arsenal) and a great fielder, particularly at mid-off.  In 1895, he was chosen to make his first class debut agaisnt Transvaal, a privilege that other non-white cricketers did not enjoy. His nearly white appearance meant that he could escape some of the racial prejudice in sport during the 19th century. Unfortunately nothing could shield him from being mistreated by other cricketers because of his skincolour.

In 1896 at the age of nineteen, he was selected to make his test debut for South Africa against England. But his performance was poor. He failed to make a wicket and was consequently omitted from the rest of the series. To redeem himself, Llewellyn gave an impressive performance in the Currie cup for the next two seasons, which led to him being called back to the national team.

In 1899 He left South Africa for England to play for English country side Hampshire County Cricket Club. He played for the club for a decade, occasionally returning to represent South Africa in International matches.1902/03 he returned to South Africa to play in the three Test series against Australia. In 1910 he toured Australia with South Africa, where he gave an impressive performance. On his return to England he joined the club sideAccrington, making him the first cricketer to play in the Lancashire League.

Llewellyn retired from all forms of cricket in 1938 at the age of 62. He died in Surrey in 1964 at the age of 87. He had broken his leg just two years before and was unable to make a full recovery. His movement was affected until his death. Even after his death, his daughter refuted claims that he was not white. He had been referred to ascolouredthroughout his cricket career. His family claimed that just like his father, his mother was also an English-born white. He is regarded as the first non-white South African Test cricketer.


Cricinfo Charles Llewellyn - An early D'Oliveira [online] Available at: [Accessed on 25 September 2013]|

Cricket Archive Charlie Llewellyn [online] Available at: [Accessed on 25 September 2013]

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