South Africa hosted the 2003 Cricket World Cup. During the Parade of Nations, as part of the opening ceremony, the event’s organizers appointed models to walk in the parade, holding banners to represent each participating country. Senegalese-born model Barbara Diop had done modeling work in South Africa and on international runways in Italy prior to this event and she was appointed to carry the banner for the cricket team members from Zimbabwe.

A few days later rumors started circulating that Barbara was a transwoman.  She initially denied the rumors but eventually corroborated the claims.

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe responded with anger and said that it was done in a deliberate act to embarrass Zimbabwe.  This sentiment by President Robert Mugabe is one of the many homophobic anecdotes he has expressed in the past about LGBTI persons, including publicly expressing that ‘homosexuals’ are worse than pigs and dogs. He threatened to withdraw the Zimbabwean team from the Cricket World Cup but did not have to follow through with his threat as Zimbabwe was eliminated from the competition early.