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Transsexual model led Zim team at opening

Published Feb 24, 2003

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The model hired to lead the Zimbabwe cricket team on to Newlands at the opening ceremony of the 2003 ICC Cricket World Cup is a transsexual.

Barbara Diop, a Senegalese national, came to South Africa two years ago from Milan to work as a female model. After her appearance at the cricket showpiece it transpired that Diop was a man and undergoing a sex change.

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Diop had been booked by The Base model agency to work in Cape Town, but later lost her job for reasons unrelated to her sex change.

Agency boss Neil Vincent said he found it "extremely funny" that Diop was chosen to lead Zimbabwe at the opening "because (Zimbabwean President) Robert Mugabe regards homosexual people as pigs fit for slaughter".

"I don't know what will happen, but the fact is that old Mugabe will not be happy if he hears about the issue and she is not even from Zimbabwe," said Vincent.

Diop was not available for comment on Sunday.

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