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date: 21 April 2019

Sport History and Historiography

Summary and Keywords

Imperial expansion cast European sport, embedded with moral codes and social divisions, across Africa. The government, the church, schools, and the army encouraged colonized peoples to play sport because of its professed ability to discipline and to civilize. Yet sport in Africa developed in the context of existing local ideas about appropriate human movement. Over time, African sport reflected both indigenous and European organization, ideas, and aesthetics, with football (soccer) becoming a particular object of passion. The era of decolonization came with sporting independence. Sport provided a platform for newly independent African nations to consolidate national and pan-African identities and assert full membership and power in the international community, though it could prove divisive as much as integrative, depending on the situation. From continental cups to Western-style sport gatherings, continuities with imperial pasts informed postcolonial African sport. Yet sport also provided a bulwark of resistance against colonial hegemony and racist regimes on the continent. Well into the 20th century, boycotts of sport gatherings and events were threatened and carried out in protest against racist regimes in southern Africa.

Keywords: African sport, games, football/soccer, boycotts, South Africa, Olympics, athletes, African history

Imperial and Indigenous Pastimes: The Origins of Sport in Africa

The high point of European imperial expansion in the late 19th century coincided with the rise of a panoply of newly codified games throughout the industrializing world, with importance for the evolution of sport in Africa. In Britain, the genitor of many modern games, contests that had previously been organized in a local or impromptu manner increasingly came under the control of national governing bodies with participants following a single set of written rules. Games and competitions, from running to boxing to rugby, became more centrally organized and standardized.

Driving the systematic reform of sport and games into recognizably modern forms was a burgeoning middle class rapidly becoming a significant and stable sector of society. Sport, as Eric Hobsbawm wrote, was an increasingly important way to indicate membership in a certain social class.1 The idea of “gentleman amateurism” was positioned as a virtuous ideal, and the notion that sport ought to be played for its own sake was championed. This succeeded in bracketing certain sport codes for the middle and upper classes. Those remunerated for athletic performance or who earned a living from manual labor were largely excluded, though this varied from sport to sport. In cricket, for example, working-class fast bowlers tended to dominate in that role, compared to middle and upper-class batsmen. More working-class involvement could also be found in French rugby in certain parts of the country

Women were also excluded, with moral defenses of sport promulgated via an explicitly enunciated masculinity. As Charles Kingsley (1819–1875), novelist and Anglican clergyman, explained:

Through sport, boys acquire virtues which no books can give them; not merely daring and endurance, but, better still, temper, self-restraint, fairness, honour, unenvious approbation of another’s success, and all that ‘give and take’ of life which stand a man in good stead when he goes forth into the world, and without which, indeed, his success is always maimed and partial.2

These virtues of organized games were extolled at English boarding schools and elite universities, where boys’ and men’s athleticism flourished.

Sport also offered a strong fit for imperialists in their search for moral authority in African colonies. Called an “ideal instrument of colonial purpose,” a collateral benefit of sport was to perpetuate in empire a moral ideology closely associated with Christianity and in line with the imperial enterprise.3 In the imperial imagination, sport presented an opportunity to instill Western ideals in colonized peoples. To encourage indigenous peoples to run, jump, and throw according to Western movement cultures was to justify the righteousness of colonial rule. Colonial decision makers thought sport, replete with footballs, volleyballs, and wickets, might also redirect their subjects’ martial proclivity and predilection for cattle raiding in ways less troublesome and more productive to the colonial state.

Imperial expansion cast European sport, embedded with these moral codes and social divisions, across Africa. The government, the church, and the army encouraged colonial subjects to play sport because of its professed ability to discipline and civilize men, European and African alike. Mission schools in port cities and railway towns taught children of the African elite how to play European games, along with the language, norms, and values of the colonizer. Games that both cultures shared, such as jumping contests and running races, were promoted. Many folk games, martial traditions, and regional cultures that did not match European interests were diluted or gradually disappeared.

Yet sport in Africa did not develop because of the actions of any one group. Rather, it developed in the context of existing local ideas about appropriate human movement. Indigenous communities throughout the continent engaged in an array of physical movement cultures. Foot races, jumping contests, and stick fighting flourished.4 Early European travelers, ethnographers, and missionaries praised the stamina of East African men who undertook days of marching and covered long distances with seemingly little effort. Colonial representations idealized gusimbuka, commonly called Tutsi high jumping.5 In Central Africa, canoe races on the Ubangi River were tests of skill for young men.6 Warriors across the continent trained in archery and spear throwing, and engaged in cattle racing and raiding.7 For military, social, and political purposes, dance was significant.8

Africans also frequently wrestled. Boys trained from an early age to represent their village.9 Wrestling often served as an important community event, with gifts and status accorded to winners, such as was the case for Congolese societies and the Luo in Kenya.10 Among the Yoruba, wrestling (gidigbo) featured in ritual theater at annual festivals.11 References to Senegalese bouts can be traced to 1689, while wrestling traditions in the Canary Islands as an element of games and festivals, where the practice was known as lucha canaria, extend back to the 15th century.12 The Hausa in West Africa practiced dambe, a hand-to-hand combat sport in which the fighter’s dominant fist is wrapped in cloth, while communities in Madagascar and other islands off of the continent’s southeast coast practiced Moraingy, also a striking art, with bare-fisted punches.13

In common with European movement cultures, many of these indigenous pastimes were about gaining status, identity, and power through games and contests that also served as instruments of cultural association. Many aspects of Western sport would therefore have been familiar to colonized Africans. As William J. Baker and James A. Mangan observe, contests and recreations were long performed throughout the continent “with a seriousness akin to sport in modern industrial societies and for purposes not altogether different.”14

Over time, African sport came to reflect both indigenous and European organization, ideas, and aesthetics. As leisure and local culture, for fun and making connections, African communities enjoyed Western sport for their own reasons, and in their own way, with football (soccer) becoming a particular object of passion.15 Winning races, matches, and laurels in Western sport could preserve continuity with older ideals of attaining masculinity and maturity as warriors.16 Africans combined rituals from everyday life with sport, such as pregame consultations with a diviner and during matches, wearing charms, amulets, and ointments produced by healers and sorcerers.17 Different styles of play and distinctive fan behaviors also built vernacular character in football.18 Sport, from boxing in Ghana and South Africa, to wrestling and running in Kenya and football across the continent, was not simply imported and inscribed upon colonized people’s lives. African sports cultures emerged as the product both of imported imperial practices and indigenous responses to them.

South African Sport before Apartheid

The first evidence of European sport on the continent can be found in South Africa, which saw the early and sustained migration of European white settlers to Africa. The British took possession of the Cape in 1795 and soon after established two major sports evocative of English society: horse racing and cricket. Military officers organized the first horse races as a form of sport, complete with jockeys and betting, at Cape Town’s Green Point Common in 1797.19 The second sport to establish itself in the Cape early on was cricket, also played by British soldiers stationed there.20 By the second half of the 19th century, a gamut of British games were thriving in the British colonies of Natal and the Cape as well as in the inland towns of Johannesburg, Kimberley, and Bloemfontein, buoyed by the mineral revolution, an influx of British soldiers campaigning against the Zulu and the Afrikaners, inland railways, and the emergence of Johannesburg as an economic engine.

The first documented football matches took place in Port Elizabeth and Cape Town in 1862, contests between British men and South African men of European descent.21 Soon after, the British brought rugby to South Africa.22 Established in 1875 in Cape Town, Hamilton’s became the first rugby club in Africa. In 1889, the South African Rugby Football Board, a “national” union for white players, was formed. Interest was not restricted to white men, however, with “men of every shade and colour and position” witness to a series of matches between Kimberly and the Cape rugby clubs in 1884.23 Three years later, the South African Coloured Rugby Football Board was established. Rugby was incubated in the Cape Colony while football took root in Natal, where matches were played since the 1860s, the game established in the school system in the 1870s, and a provincial association formed in 1882.24 Also in the 1870s, tennis reached South Africa and organized running competitions began, facilitated by a club structure based on the British model.25 The Comrades Marathon, a fifty-four-mile event founded in 1920 and held annually between the cities of Durban and Pietermaritzburg, became Africa’s best-known road race.26 The South African Football Association (SAFA), a national body for white players, was formed in 1892, and by the mid-1890s, numerous other sports, leagues, and associations had been established.

Amid a burgeoning imperial sporting network, sport provided highly visible links with Britain, which prominent South Africans coveted. In 1891, a British rugby team was invited to South Africa at the expense of Cecil Rhodes, then prime minister of the Cape.27 British cricketers visited for the first time in 1888, and the Corinthians, a leading English amateur football club, made its first of three tours in 1897.28 The first South African association football team to play in Europe was a black team from the Orange Free State in 1899.29 These tours stimulated the growth of sport in South Africa, as did the influx of nearly half a million British soldiers for the second South African War (or Anglo-Boer War, 1899–1902). Mine owners also encouraged physical education, dancing, and sport among African miners, with boxing among the first adopted.30 South Africa continued to seek international sporting links during the 20th century, from instigating the Imperial Cricket Conference (ICC) with England and Australia in 1909 and joining the governing body of football, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), in 1910, to being one of twelve founding members of the International Lawn Tennis Federation in 1913, which was the same year that the International Olympic Committee welcomed its first South African delegate. Natalian Reginald Walker punctuated South Africa’s official Olympic debut in 1908 and gave the continent its first Olympic gold medal with his victory in the 100 meters.

Long pre-dating apartheid, segregated play was the norm among all the “races” into which South Africa’s peoples were divided. White South Africans performed and organized most sports, enjoying sufficient leisure time and the exclusive opportunity to represent South Africa internationally and at prominent domestic tournaments like the Currie Cup. As Jon Gemmell and James Hamill explain, “being white was the single most important criterion for selection to the national side.”31 Not only were the first clubs and federations exclusively reserved for whites, but also black athletes competed separately in racial leagues as Africans, Indians, and Coloureds, with class, ethnicity, and religion further dividing sportsmen. Facilities for black athletes were poorer than those for white athletes. Where facilities were lacking, balls were cobbled together from what was available, and cricketers made do with roughly marked out pitches and improvised equipment. Football became most associated with black Africans, while middle-class games like cricket, cycling, and golf were dominated by white sportsmen. The principal recreations of the white minority, men and women, were tennis and swimming. Rugby, initially a British imperial product, was taken up by Afrikaners and appropriated as their “national game.”32 As Afrikaner nationalism began to flourish, rugby became an important extension of Afrikaner cultural identity.33

However, putting together racial groups with certain sports overly generalizes. From the start, South Africans of color played rugby and cricket. From its introduction in the 19th century, rugby was popular among black Africans, particularly in the Eastern Cape.34 Formally educated Africans throughout the Cape Colony also played cricket, with records of Coloured and Malay cricketers predominating at an early stage.35 References to Indian cricket teams emerge from the 1890s.36 The spread of both sports, as well as football and other games, can be traced to their inclusion on the curriculum in schools in Cape Town and the Eastern Cape, propagated by the educated elite to all parts of the country as well as informally through spectatorship and participation in games.37 By the 1930s, most of the major sports—football, rugby, cricket, tennis, athletics, golf, weightlifting, cycling, and boxing—had filtered down to become an established part of social life in one or more of South Africa’s black communities.38 Athletes of international caliber emerged until the country’s apartheid policies led to the disbarment of South Africa from international competition.

Sport in Colonial Africa

Forces unleashed by colonial capitalism fused with local conditions to shape the contours of African athletic development elsewhere on the continent. Urbanization, railways, and schools were important forces for the propagation of Western sports culture in Africa. Colonial militaries, security forces, and government agencies also promoted sports. During the first half of the 20th century, cricket, rugby, tennis, hockey, athletics, boxing, and gymnastics were all in circulation, though football gained most in popularity.39 Fun, easy to learn, and playable barefooted without specialized equipment or teaching, the game emerged from tentative beginnings at the onset of colonial rule to being the national game of many countries at independence, demonstrating local capacity to accept selectively and transform sport.

After South Africa, this process unfolded across the north of continent. Britain assumed control of Egypt in 1882, from which point upper class Egyptians embraced British sport. They established Al-Ahly (the National Sporting Club) of Cairo in 1907, which became the most successful club in Africa and the Middle East.40 In 1934 in Italy, Egypt was the first country to represent Africa in the World Cup. The Egyptian Olympic Committee was created in 1910. Gold medals for weightlifting went to the Egyptians in 1928, 1936, and 1948. Algerian settlers in French North Africa organized football matches through the Club de Joyeuses d’Oran, established in 1897.41 As in South Africa, proximity to a sizable white colonial population had facilitated the process of sporting enculturation.

Sport was increasingly played and watched elsewhere on the continent. Advancing this were educators who installed sport on the curriculum of elite mission and government schools in the mold of England’s elite boarding schools.42 Many graduates, the first African practitioners of European sport, were integral to organizing and popularizing it.43 Relative to Britain, at the turn of the 19th century other colonizing powers afforded less cultural weight to sport, which held back the development of sport in their African possessions. Yet by 1913, French, Belgian, and other European men were playing football in the capital cities of Brazzaville (French Equatorial Africa), Dakar (French West Africa), and Leopoldville/Kinshasa (Belgian Congo).44 From coastal and capital cities, sport percolated into the African interior by way of colonial railways that carried civil servants, soldiers, merchants, and other sport enthusiasts.45 Police forces and colonial militaries, such as the King’s African Rifles in East Africa and the Royal West African Frontier Forces, propagated sport, seeing in it a means to enhance discipline and fitness among the troops.46 Government agencies, too, contributed by affording facilities, time, and resources to athletically endowed employees. In Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, for example, government departments like the Post Office and Railways saw in sport a way to create social cohesion, camaraderie, and fealty to the colonial state.

During the interwar years, the growth of sport across urban Africa mirrored the expansion of the cities and towns in which these games were played. In Leopoldville, the Association Sportive Conglaise, a colonial body that promoted athletics, football, and other European sports, was formed in 1919. Accra in the Gold Coast was one of the first cities in sub-Saharan Africa to host a formal football league in 1920. Arab and African Sports Associations established in Nairobi and in Kampala in the mid-1920s introduced regular competition structures, after which organized sport took off.47 Both the Dar es Salaam Association Football League and the Sports Association of Zanzibar were under way by 1929.

Army championships, inter-territorial competitions, and international tours also spurred expansion. In 1924, for example, a Kenyan football team toured Uganda for the first time.48 Two years later, the two sides contested the inaugural Gossage Cup competition, which became an annual single match event alternating between Nairobi and Kampala.49 In 1934, Kenyan and Ugandan athletes competed in the inaugural East African Athletics Championships, a catalyst for the development of track and field in the region.50 The Coupe d’Afrique Occidentale Française (French West African Cup) football competition between sixteen Francophone African clubs started in 1947 and swelled to 302 clubs by 1959.51 The competition fanned nascent national identities, which were given further stimulus in 1956 by France’s policy change that granted African territories new power over their domestic affairs.52 During the ten-year period beginning in 1949, the British Colonial Office, also alive to the burgeoning nationalisms on the continent and intent on integrating African colonial subjects into British society through sport, invited football teams from the Gold Coast (Ghana), Nigeria, and Uganda to tour Britain.

Representing the Empire: Cultures of Race and Gender in Colonial Sport

Until the 1950s, African territories were not officially recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), apart from South Africa, Rhodesia, and Egypt. African men from other parts of the continent did participate in the Games, however, by representing one of the principal colonial rivals, Britain or France. running, as a sport that required little infrastructure or equipment, was favored by Algerian colonial administrations and throughout the French Empire.53 Athletics clubs first introduced to North Africa in 1900 had expanded to forty-eight clubs in Algeria alone by 1908.54 At the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam, Boughèra El Ouafi, Algerian by birth but representing France, won the marathon. French cross-country teams long included North Africans, notably Algerian-born Alain Mimoun, who also won silver medals behind Emil Zatopek at the 1948 and 1952 Olympics, and triumphed over Zatopek to win gold at the 1956 Olympics in his first ever marathon.55 Abdoulaye Seye’s bronze medal in the 1960 Rome Olympic Games was credited to France. Papa Gallo Thiam of Senegal won the French championships in the high jump. The acclaim he drew as the first “Frenchman” to break the two-meter mark underscores France’s assimilationist imperial ideology. Britain also claimed African athletes. Silvanus Olatunde Williams of Nigeria won the long jump representing Britain against France and twice was crowned British long-jump champion in 1951 and 1952. At the Olympic Games of 1948, Prince Adegboyega Adedoyin became the first Nigerian-born man to compete in an Olympic final, finishing fifth in the long jump, and representing Britain in both the high jump and long jump. He was one of seven Nigerian athletes in the British delegation at the 1948 London Olympics.

Stimulus for organized sport in British Africa came from the Commonwealth Games, a sports gathering in the mold of the Olympic Games in which invitations to compete were predicated on shared British colonial heritage.56 South Africans and Rhodesians were the continent’s only representatives in the British Empire Games held between 1930 and 1938. The 1934 Games were to be hosted in Johannesburg, but auguring what was to come in South African sport, protests against South Africa’s racial policies saw the Games shift to London. Nigeria competed for the first time in Auckland, New Zealand, in 1950. India’s membership in the Commonwealth as an independent nation precipitated a change of name to the British Empire and Commonwealth Games, which it was called between 1954 and 1966. Alongside Nigeria’s team and teams from Southern Rhodesia and South Africa, four African colonial teams competed for the first time at the 1954 Games held in Vancouver: Gold Coast (Ghana), Kenya, Northern Rhodesia (Zambia), and Uganda. This effort contributed to the IOC’s recognition of African National Olympic Committees (NOCs) ahead of political independence. Four new teams from the continent—Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, and Uganda—were accepted for entry in the 1956 Olympics. Nigeria and Ghana first competed at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki.

Kenya debuted at the 1954 Empire and Commonwealth Games and the 1956 Olympics Games amid the Mau Mau Emergency at home. As further indication of the “winds of change” in sport and other spheres, Kenya’s inaugural participation in these sport gatherings followed the landmark decision by the leaders of Kenyan athletics to provide opportunities for African men to compete directly with white men at colony championships and for selection to international teams. Other African colonies took similar steps to desegregate male sport during this period. Little was done to incorporate women, however. Throughout the colonial period, sport failed to provide for female African athletes the opportunities for success that it offered its men.

Sports cultures during this period were shaped by the institutionalized racism and sexism of colonial rule. Governing bodies that organized competitions for African men were run by white male sports administrators, solidifying a structure of racial hierarchy in the advancement of Western sport. Kenyan society illustrates the generally segregated nature of sport that emerged across colonial Africa wherein sport was built along lines that recreated the social exclusion that characterized sport in Europe. Golf courses, swimming pools, and tennis and squash courts were available exclusively to white communities, where rugby, cricket, and field hockey were also encouraged. The Indian community engaged in hockey, cricket, tennis, and badminton but did so through separate facilitates and leagues. Indigenous peoples predominately contested track and field athletics, boxing, and football in racially separate and poorly equipped leagues, matches, and championships. Kenya was not unusual in this regard. Segregation burdened sport in other settler colonies like Algeria, Rhodesia, and South Africa, but divisions between black and white characterized sport in colonies that lacked a large settler population as well.

Sport in colonial Africa was also a male preserve. Religious leaders, soldiers, colonial officials, and educators who had little experience with European women’s involvement in physical games perpetuated this version of masculinity in Africa. Many of the European officials responsible for administering and organizing sport for the duration of the colonial period had been students at elite schools and colleges, where the masculine nature of organized games was assumed.57 Abroad, they shaped the culture of athletics according to these codes of behavior and according to an exclusive gender regime that was expressed at the highest levels of sport. Yet sport did attract female fans and athletes, especially in mission schools, where girls were taught field hockey, netball, track and field, and tennis.

African Sport after Independence

Less than a decade after Oxford’s Roger Bannister became the first person to break the four-minute barrier for the mile in 1954, African runners began to claim titles and records from upper-class European athletes. One of the first was Ethiopia’s Abebe Bikila, double Olympic marathon winner and the first black African Olympic gold medalist at the 1960 Rome Games. From 1960 to 1972, the period during which most African nations gained independence, African athletes won twenty-eight Olympic medals in track and field, all but one in running events of 400 meters or longer. All but six medals were won by citizens of three countries in East Africa: Uganda, Ethiopia, and Kenya.58 The geographic concentration of running success was evident at other major international competitions. Kingston, Jamaica, hosted the 1966 Commonwealth Games, which saw Kenyan Kipchogo “Kip” Keino winning both the one- and three-mile races in Commonwealth record times. At the 1973 All-Africa Games, held in Lagos, East Africans took twenty-two of twenty-four possible medals in individual men’s running events from 400 meters up.

The values in athletics that the Oxford-educated Roger Bannister personified in the early 1950s—amateurism, privilege, and white imperialism—were being replaced a decade later as African athletes, representing newly independent nations, stepped into that space of colonial achievement. A procession of world-class African runners rose to the highest level of international athletics competition that white men had long occupied. The Mexico City Olympic Games of 1968 were a particular breakthrough for Kenyan men running distance events. They won three gold medals (1,500 meters, 10,000 meters, and the 3000-meter steeplechase), four silver medals (800 meters, 5,000 meters, 3,000-meter steeplechase, and the 4 x 400-meter relay), and one bronze medal (5,000 meters).

The blossoming of African athletes in the 1960s reflected broader social and political changes. The era of decolonization came with sporting independence and increased opportunities for male athletes and, to a lesser extent, female athletes. This provided a platform for newly independent African nations to consolidate national identities and assert full membership and power in the international community. At the 1948 London Games, South Africa and Egypt alone represented the continent. In 1964, twenty-one African nations participated in the Tokyo Olympics, from which South Africa was suspended. As of the mid-1960s, more than thirty African countries had joined FIFA, also by then absent South Africa.

Sport could be an integrative force as a factor of pan-Africanism in the late colonial period and during the first decade after independence, though in the context of African unity and within individual countries, sport, and in particular “football nationalism,” could also be divisive. In Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah employed domestic and international football competitions to promote an agenda of national unity, patriotism, and pan-African solidarity.59 Football festivals for nation-building purposes were held throughout decolonizing Africa, including in Uganda, Kenya, Zambia, Nigeria, and Togo.60 New stadiums decorated African capital cities with names like Independence Stadium in Accra and Lusaka and Stadium of the Revolution in Brazzaville that signaled their government’s political arrival.61

Also contributing to a collective African identity were a number of interregional sports gatherings and associations that grew into continental federations and games. Reserved for French-speaking countries initially, the Jeux de l’Amitié (also known as the Friendship Games or the Community Games) were large-scale sport gatherings held in 1960, 1961, and 1963. By 1963, when the Friendship Games were held in Senegal, 2,400 athletes participated from France and twenty-four African nations, five of which were English-speaking. Notably, African women competed for the first time. This gathering revived and helped to establish the All-Africa Games (later known as the African Games), a concept that had first been raised in the 1920s by the founder of the Olympic movement, Baron Pierre de Coubertin. Brazzaville hosted the inaugural All-Africa Games in 1965 with official recognition by the IOC as a continental event. Its aim was to provide “a genuine means of fostering friendship, unity and brotherhood among African nations.”62 More than 2,500 athletes from thirty African states took part, not including South Africa or Rhodesia. Subsequent editions at varying intervals were held in Lagos (1973), Algiers (1978), Nairobi (1987), Cairo (1991), Harare (1995), Johannesburg (1999), Abuja (2003), Algiers (2007), Maputo (2011), and Brazzaville (2015). Football also took on a continental dimension with the 1957 formation of a governing body for African football, Confédération Africaine de Football (African Football Confederation, CAF), which organizes the African Cup of Nations.63

From continental cups to Western-style sport gatherings, continuities with imperial pasts significantly informed postcolonial African sport. In emphasizing centralized control and the development of international Olympic and professional excellence in sports from the colonial era, independent African governments tended to view the organization of sport in ways similar to their colonial predecessors. International success in Western sport traditions was what counted; indigenous movement cultures remained on the periphery. In addition, economic resources for sport were scarce and many social inequalities left unaddressed. Within the sport of track-and-field, one in which African athletes excelled, funding, facilities, and equipment were scarce, making mastery of the technicalities of field events a challenge. Despite its inherent accessibility, the spread of modern track and field running continued to occur unequally, especially along lines of gender. Women became increasingly involved but still significantly lagged behind men in terms of resources and opportunities. As elsewhere, exclusive sports that require expensive infrastructure, like golf, swimming, and tennis, the preserves of colonial elites, remained inaccessible for most people.

Yet sport also provided a bulwark of resistance against colonial hegemony and racist regimes on the continent. Rugby had long reflected struggles across empire over the meaning of nationhood, even as competitions linked colonies, protectorates, and dominions to British and French nationalism.64 In the aftermath of the concentration camps and scorched earth policy that the British unleashed during the second South African War, rugby became a means through which the Afrikaner community challenged British hegemony.65 The expansion of sport also assisted mobilization more directly during anticolonial struggles. In Algeria, for instance, football played an important role in the Front de libération nationale (FLN) strategy for liberation from France.66 The FLN, appreciating the international reach of sport, and particularly the popularity of football, created an Algerian revolutionary football team in 1958 that toured, and won, internationally to raise awareness of the Algerian bid for independence. Across the continent well into the 20th century, boycotts of sport gatherings and events were threatened and carried out in protest against racist regimes in southern Africa.

African Nations and the Struggle against Apartheid Sport

As African nations became independent, their politics were mirrored in sport, particularly with respect to opposition to apartheid South Africa. In December 1966, the Supreme Council for Sports in Africa (SCSA) was established to represent a collective of African states on sporting affairs; it was recognized by the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in 1967. One of the SCSA’s founding objectives was to intervene in international sport to exert pressure on the white minority governments of southern Africa. The isolation of these regimes in the realm of international sport was an opportunity for African states to play a serious role in international politics around a unifying cause.67 At the heart of the opposition to apartheid was the belief that ordinary, everyday activities, such as sport, could not be done amid the abnormalities of the racial divisions that permeated society.68

Apartheid’s antecedents were located in colonial South African racial segregation. Following the election of the Nationalist Party in 1948, apartheid saw the entrenchment of South African race relations, culminating in an unprecedented racially circumscribed socioeconomic and political landscape. Apartheid encroached on sport in various forms. Black champions and white champions could not meet. Separate, racially determined associations divided athletes. Separation was also deeply unequal, with superior facilities and international sport reserved for white athletes. From 1908 to 1960, South Africa had been represented at the Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games only by athletes who were not black. As one of three founding members of the world’s governing cricket body, South Africa had never played cricket against the three black members—India, Pakistan, or the West Indies—before leaving the Commonwealth in 1961.69

For the rest of the continent that became independent in the 1950s and 1960s, as well as nonracial sport organizations within the country and externally, this was unacceptable. The Olympic Charter, which served as a model for other international sports federations, established principles of equality in sport along lines of race, religion, and politics. South Africa’s segregated clubs, leagues, and governing bodies and racially discriminatory provision of facilities and sports opportunities violated the fundamental rule against discrimination on grounds of race, religion, or political affiliation. Central to the campaign to deny South Africans access to the Games was the larger moral challenge that white minority rule posed to other African states.

Sport thus became an arena of opposition to apartheid, and international isolation a weapon of choice.70 In 1963, South Africa had refused to select an Olympic team composed of black and white athletes to compete as one at the Games. In 1964, South Africa’s Olympic Committee declined to denounce apartheid policy in sport publicly, leading finally to its suspension from the Tokyo Olympic Games—the first Olympics South Africa had missed since its official debut in 1908. That year also saw South Africa’s 1961 suspension from FIFA renewed.71 Suspension in 1964 did not constitute expulsion, however.

With eligibility still intact, South Africa was initially readmitted to compete in the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games. Thirty-two African nations led by the SCSA issued a united threat to boycott the Games should South Africa compete. Abetting the SCSA’s efforts were African nations’ control over the world’s access to some of its fastest runners. Any Games absent these African athletes would be tarnished. Their call to boycott received widespread international support, including from Eastern Bloc nations. Finding favor in keeping South Africa from Olympic participation was colored by the broader context of the Cold War. This greater strife being played out in the world along the capitalism/communism conflict was manifested in IOC discussions and international sport circles. Soviet sports officials were critics of South Africa and receptive to African nations’ anti-apartheid lobby in ways that Western nations were not.72 The IOC was ultimately cornered into dismissing South Africa from the Games of 1968. A similar exchange preceded the 1972 Munich Olympic Games.73 African nations and African American athletes, with support from the Eastern Bloc, threatened to withdraw from the Games if Rhodesian athletes took part. The IOC capitulated, and Rhodesia was not invited to Germany.

Other major international sport associations distanced South Africa from their federations. In the decade after the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, South Africa was barred, excluded, or suspended from twenty international sports organizations and excluded from thirty-six international sports events. Threats of boycott, too, left the IOC with little choice but to expel southern Africa’s racist regimes from the Olympic fold entirely. South Africa was expelled from the Olympic participation in 1970; Rhodesia’s team was dismissed in 1975 before being welcomed back to the 1980 Moscow Games as Zimbabwe. In 1976, twenty-eight African nations boycotted the Montreal Olympic Games because the IOC refused to exclude New Zealand after its rugby team toured South Africa. Between 1970 and 1989, at least nine official rugby tours involving South Africa were cancelled, and anti-apartheid demonstrations persistently disrupted competitions featuring South African athletes.74

Within South Africa, international exclusion encouraged reform in the guise of “multinational” sport, a vain attempt to persuade the rest of the world that the boundaries of apartheid had been significantly moved within the context of an enduring racist society.75 Absence of international sports contact also led to subterfuge and “rebel tours,” particularly in white South Africa’s favorite pastimes, cricket and rugby.76 Unsanctioned by international federations but occurring regularly during the 1980s, rebel tours involved South Africa paying foreign teams generously to compete within the country. The tours generated significant negative publicity internationally, with the West Indies cricket team receiving a life ban for taking part. The final rebel tour, an English cricket team led by Mike Gatting, commenced in 1990 but was canceled due to mass protests. Most international federations lifted their boycotts in the early 1990s after the legislative foundations of apartheid were repealed, culminating in the first democratic elections in 1994. Cricket was the first to be returned to international sport, in 1991 with the formation of the United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCB).77 In early 1992, racially delineated rugby boards amalgamated into a new unified sporting body, the South African Rugby Football Union (SARFU), which won clearance for international rugby tours to resume that year. South Africa was also invited to take part in the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games.

Discussion of the Literature

The historical literature on African sport emerged from several developments. Scholarly research and writing on sport history established itself in the early 1970s with a focus on Europe and North America and on the sporting activities of men. The increased attention given to sport history in the English-speaking world found its equivalent in France some ten to fifteen years later.78 The study of African history was well developed by that point whereas sport on the continent had received little attention, despite its scale and significance in people’s lives.

Historians were, however, working to explore other dimensions of past experiences, using different sorts of evidence, from painting to popular history.79 In her 1987 essay on the “Popular Arts in Africa,” Karin Barber describes the arts as “social facts” that fall under an umbrella of broader social activities.80 African men’s and women’s sports had long been a constituent part of this domain and—like popular arts—merited scholarly attention as a way better to understand how Africans occupied, and negotiated, their leisure time.

Early examples of this, though not precisely about “modern” sport, include Clyde Mitchell’s The Kalela Dance: Aspects of Social Relationships among Urban Africans in Northern Rhodesia (1956) and Terence Ranger’s Dance and Society in Eastern Africa (1975).81 In both texts, dance illuminates and reflects important aspects of the societies in which they feature. Ranger identifies in the Beni dance a variety of responses to colonial rule. In his conclusion, he attests that through the “concreteness of a topic like Beni one could reach . . . reality.”82 By the 1970s, scholars of South Africa were also publishing on sport, circulating work that critiqued apartheid sport and demonstrated the intersection of politics and sport in the country.83

The establishment of both African studies and sport history as fields of scholarly inquiry saw broader convergence between the two in the 1980s. Historians were finding that sport, akin to dance performances and the arts, provided a set of sources through which to examine the complex and multidimensional nature of African pasts.84 Signaling this was Sport in Africa, a collection of essays published in 1987 and edited by William Baker and James A. Mangan.85 The volume contains work on indigenous pastimes and movement cultures, the “diffusion” of European sport in Africa, and colonial and postcolonial games and sports. The consolidation of the international sports boycott of South Africa, and the significance of contestations over sport within the country, continued to stimulate research on sport, race, and the liberation struggle, with Archer and Bouillon’s The South African Game the decade’s seminal text.86

The end of apartheid placed this work at the vanguard of several important sport histories focused on South Africa. The country’s predominantly male sports of rugby union, association football, and cricket received the most attention, though work was also forthcoming on other sport codes, such as track and field, swimming, and boxing.87 John Nauright’s Sport, Cultures and Identities in South Africa provided a sound general history of the major sports.88 The nexus of politics, race, sport, and the anti-apartheid struggle continued to garner interest, with Douglas Booth’s award-winning The Race Game: Sport and Politics in South Africa standing out for its account of the genesis, impact, and cessation of the anti-apartheid sport boycott.89

Work on South African sport history initially outpaced scholarly output focused on the rest of the continent, though there was some scholarship outside South Africa, such as the substantial work on Algerian football by Rabah Saadallah and Djamel Benfars.90 However, since the 1990s, the study of sport history in other parts of Africa has steadily developed.91 This body of scholarship embeds African sport within wider society and uses sport to illuminate specific and concrete historical situations. In doing so, it contributed to establishing African sport history as a field of research that has grown since the end of the 20th century. Focus shifted from how sport “diffused” to how it developed in the context of both an existing athletic tradition and Western movement cultures.92 As Phyllis Martin argued, sport and leisure time may have been introduced to create a productive, “civilised” workforce, but Africans negotiated the meaning and experience of sport in ways that suited their own interests.93 This has been made clear in an important thread of scholarship, led by Peter Alegi, Chris Bolsmann, and Paul Darby, on African football.94 The women’s game has also received attention, drawing upon both oral and written sources to illustrate how girls and women in sport were marked as outsiders.95 Scholarship on North African sport continues to advance, with work on Moroccan sport and that region featuring in Nauright and Amara’s 2018 publication Sport in the African World.96

The history of sport in Africa is gradually being written to include details about the role that sport played in all African ethnic communities, but this work is yet incomplete. Similarly, as African sportswomen increasingly produced world-class athletic performances, scholarly work has been forthcoming such as Women’s Sport in Africa.97 This small but growing body of literature on African women’s sports history illustrates that women have had much richer athletic lives than previously thought. However, further examination of gender in sport in Africa remains on the agenda for future research. Work within the subfield of “East African running” exemplifies how academic studies of African sport can become an interdisciplinary endeavor.98 Further work in this vein would be welcome. Calls from Chris Bolsmann and Scarlett Cornelissen for histories of (South) African sport that remain under-explored, particularly for “minor” sports that have received less attention than rugby, cricket, or football, should be taken seriously.99 African sport history has an important contribution to make to the discipline, and scholars should continue to explore it in its historical and cultural context.

Primary Sources

Primary source material on African sport history can be found in a number of forms, from newspapers to institutional archives to private papers. The sports sections of African newspapers are a valuable source of information for scholars seeking information about the lives of the men and women who have contributed to Africa’s sport history.100 A broad range of newspaper and magazine holdings can be found in repositories on the continent and in university, city, and museum libraries around the world. Northwestern University’s Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies, for example, has more than 400 newspaper titles of the past. It also contains a wealth of material on African sport, from photographs and printed ephemera to films and magazines spanning the continent. Some early newspapers have been digitized and are available through the African Newspapers, Series 1 & 2, 1800–1925 (World Newspaper Archive) Collection, which offers subscription online access.

Another place to search for records on sport would be in national archives, such as the Kenya National Archives (Nairobi). Various records and minute books can also be found at the offices of some African national, regional, or local sport federations, such as the Ghanaian Football Association in Accra. The libraries of international sport organizations also house primary source material that includes African sports. The following are a useful starting point: the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) archives (Zurich), the Confédération Africaine de Football archives (CAF, Cairo), the International Olympic Committee archives found at the Olympic Studies Centre, Lausanne; the British Olympic Association archive collection (University of East London); the archives of the Commonwealth Games Council for Scotland (University of Stirling); and the Marylebone Cricket Club archives (Lords, London). The Avery Brundage Collection (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) contains a wealth of documents related to Brundage’s tenure as president of the International Olympic Committee (1952–1972), including documentation of South Africa and Rhodesia’s participation in and eventual expulsion from the Olympics.

South African sport history can further be explored through the country’s rich archival collections. For state narratives of sport, consult the National Archives in Pretoria and archives in Bloemfontein, Cape Town, and Pietermaritzburg, among other locations. There are also well-established university archival collections that hold material on sport, such as the Sport and Liberation Archives, housed in the National Heritage and Cultural Studies Centre (NAHECS) at the University of Fort Hare; the University of the Western Cape-Robben Island Mayibuye Archives, located at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) in Cape Town; and the South African History Archive (SAHA) and the Historical Papers Research Archive based at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. The South African Rugby Board archives have been deposited at the University of Stellenbosch. Sport museums like the Springbok Experience Rugby Museum in Cape Town also afford insight into the country’s sports past.101 Collections outside of the country containing material related to the sport and liberation struggle include those of the Anti-Apartheid Movement (Oxford), the South African Apartheid Collection (Yale), the Brutus Papers (University of York and Northwestern University), the National Archives (Kew, London), the National Library of New Zealand (Wellington), and the National Archives of Australia (Canberra).

Further Reading

Akyeampong, Emmanuel. “Bukom and the Social History of Boxing in Accra: Warfare and Citizenship in Precolonial Ga Society.” International Journal of African Historical Studies 35, no. 1 (2002): 39–60.Find this resource:

Alegi, Peter. Laduma! Soccer, Politics, and Society in South Africa. Scottsville, South Africa: University of KwaZulu-Natal Press, 2004.Find this resource:

Alegi, Peter. African Soccerscapes: How a Continent Changed the World’s Game. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2010.Find this resource:

Alegi, Peter, and Chris Bolsmann, eds. South Africa and the Global Game: Football, Apartheid and Beyond. London: Routledge, 2010.Find this resource:

Archer, Robert, and Antoine Bouillon. The South African Game: Sport and Racism. London: Zed Press, 1982.Find this resource:

Armstrong, Gary, and Richard Giulianotti, eds. Football in Africa: Conflict, Conciliation and Community. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.Find this resource:

Baker, William, and James A. Mangan, eds. Sport in Africa: Essays in Social History. New York: Africana Publishing, 1987.Find this resource:

Bale, John, and Joe Sang. Kenyan Running: Movement Culture, Geography and Global Change. London: Frank Cass, 1996.Find this resource:

Booth, Douglas. The Race Game: Sport and Politics in South Africa. London: Frank Cass, 1998.Find this resource:

Cleveland, Todd. Following the Ball: The Migration of African Soccer Players across the Portuguese Colonial Empire, 1949–1975. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2017.Find this resource:

Cobley, Alan. The Rules of the Game: Struggles in Black Recreation and Social Welfare Policy in South Africa. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1997.Find this resource:

Darby, Paul. Africa Football and FIFA: Politics, Colonialism and Resistance. London: Frank Cass, 2002.Find this resource:

Deville-Danthu, Bernadette. Le Sport en Noir et Blanc: Du Sport Colonial au Sport Africain dans les Anciens Territoires Français d'Afrique Occidentale, 1920–1965. Paris: L’Harmattan, 1997.Find this resource:

Fair, Laura. “Kickin’ It: Leisure, Politics and Football in Colonial Zanzibar, 1900s–1950s.” Africa: Journal of the International African Institute 67, no. 2 (1997): 224–251.Find this resource:

Hargreaves, Jennifer. “Race, Politics and Gender: Women’s Struggles for Sport in South Africa.” In Heroines of Sport: The Politics of Difference and Identity, 14–45. London: Routledge, 2000.Find this resource:

Martin, Phyllis M. “Colonialism, Youth, and Football in French Equatorial Africa.” International Journal of the History of Sport 8 (1991): 56–71.Find this resource:

Murray, Bruce, and Christopher Merrett. Caught Behind: Race and Politics in Springbok Cricket. Johannesburg: Wits University Press, 2004.Find this resource:

Nauright, John. Long Run to Freedom: Sport, Cultures and Identities in South Africa. Morgantown, WV: Fitness Information Technology, 2010.Find this resource:

Novak, Andrew. “Rhodesia’s ‘Rebel and Racist’ Olympic Team: Athletic Glory, National Legitimacy and the Clash of Politics and Sport.” International Journal of the History of Sport 23 (2006): 1369–1388.Find this resource:

Pelak, Cynthia. “Women and Gender in South African Soccer: A Brief History.” In South Africa and the Global Game: Football, Apartheid and Beyond. Edited by Peter Alegi and Chris Bolsmann, 63–78. London: Routledge, 2010.Find this resource:

Ranger, Terence. Dance and Society in Eastern Africa 1890–1970: The Beni Ngoma. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1975.Find this resource:


(1.) Eric Hobsbawm, Age of Empire, 1875–1914 (New York: Pantheon Books, 1987), 174.

(3.) James A. Mangan, The Games Ethic and Imperialism: Aspects of the Diffusion of an Ideal (London: Frank Cass, 1988), 18. See also Allen Guttmann, Games and Empires: Modern Sports and Cultural Imperialism (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994).

(4.) Joe Sang and John Bale, Kenyan Running: Movement Culture, Geography and Global Change (London: Frank Cass, 1996), 47–68; and Benedict Carton and Robert Morrell, “Zulu Masculinities, Warrior Culture and Stick Fighting: Reassessing Male Violence and Virtue in South Africa,” Journal of Southern African Studies 38, no. 1 (2012): 31–53.

(5.) John Bale, Imagined Olympians: Body Culture and Colonial Representation in Rwanda (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2002).

(9.) Sigrid Paul, “The Wrestling Tradition and Its Social Functions,” in Baker and Mangan, Sport in Africa, 23–46.

(10.) Matthew Carotenuto, “Grappling with the Past: Wrestling and Performative Identity in Kenya,” International Journal of the History of Sport 30, no. 16 (2013): 1892; and Martin, “Colonialism,” 60.

(11.) E. O. Ojeme, “Sport in Nigeria,” in Sport in Asia and Africa: A Comparative Handbook, ed. Eric A. Wagner (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1989), 249–266.

(12.) Paul, “The Wrestling Tradition.”

(13.) Thomas A. Green, “Dambe,” in Martial Arts of the World: An Encyclopedia of History and Innovation, ed. Thomas A. Green and Joseph R. Svinth (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2010); and Ernest Ratsimbazafy, “Moraingy,” in Martial Arts of the World, ed. Green and Svinth.

(14.) In Baker and Mangan, Sport in Africa, viii.

(15.) Alegi, African Soccerscapes.

(16.) Emmanuel Akyeampong, “Bukom and the Social History of Boxing in Accra: Warfare and Citizenship in Precolonial Ga Society,” International Journal of African Historical Studies 35, no. 1 (2002): 39–60; and Terence Ranger, “Pugilism and Pathology: African Boxing and the Black Urban Experience in Southern Rhodesia,” in Sport in Africa, ed. Baker and Mangan, 196–213.

(17.) Alegi, African Soccerscapes, 26–29.

(18.) Laura Fair, Pastimes and Politics: Culture, Community and Identity in Post-Abolition Urban Zanzibar, 1890–1945 (Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2001), chap. 5.

(22.) Albert Grundlingh, Andre Odendaal, and Burridge Spies, Beyond the Tryline: Rugby and South African Society (Johannesburg: Ravan Press, 1995); and David Black and John Nauright, Rugby and the South African Nation (New York: Manchester University Press, 1998).

(23.) Jonty Winch. “Unlocking the Cape Code: Establishing British Football in South Africa,” Sport in History 30, no. 4 (2010): 516.

(24.) Lloyd Hill, “Football as Code: The Social Diffusion of ‘Soccer’ in South Africa,” Soccer & Society 11, no. 1–2 (2010): 12–28.

(25.) Archer and Bouillon, The South African Game.

(26.) Christopher Merrett, “Race, Gender and Political Dissent in the Comrades Marathon, 1921–1981,” South African Historical Journal 59, no. 1 (2007): 242–260.

(27.) Archer & Bouillon, The South African Game, 61.

(28.) J. Winch, “Guardians of the Game: The Role of the Press in Popularising the 1888/89 Tour and Establishing the South African Cricket Association” in Empire and Cricket: The South African Experience 1884–1914, ed. Bruce Murray and Goolam Vahed (Pretoria: UNISA Press, 2009), 45–60; Chris Bolsmann, “South African Football Tours at the Turn of the Twentieth Century: Amateurs, Pioneers and Profits,” African Historical Review 42 (2010): 91–112; and Dean Allen, Empire, War and Cricket in South Africa: Logan of Matjiesfontein (Cape Town: Zebra Press, 2015).

(29.) Chris Bolsmann, “The 1899 Orange Free State Football Team of Europe: ‘Race,’ Imperial Loyalty and Sports Spectacle,” International Journal of the History of Sport 28 (2011): 81–97.

(30.) Tyler Fleming, “‘Now the African Reigns Supreme’: The Rise of African Boxing on the Witwatersrand, 1924–1959,” International Journal of the History of Sport 28, no. 1 (January 2011): 47–62.

(31.) Jon Gemmell and James Hamill, “‘No One in Dolly’s Class at Present?’ Cricket and National Identity in Post-Apartheid South Africa,” in Cricket and National Identity in the Postcolonial Age: Following On, ed. Stephen Wagg (London: Routledge, 2005), 65.

(32.) John Nauright, Sport, Cultures and Identities in South Africa (London: Leicester University Press, 1997).

(33.) Albert Grundlingh, “Playing for Power: Rugby, Afrikaner Nationalism and Masculinity in South Africa,” Beyond the Tryline, ed. Grundlingh, Odendaal, and Spies, 106–135.

(34.) André Odendaal, “South Africa’s Black Victorians: Sport and Society in South Africa in the Nineteenth Century,” in Pleasure, Profit, Proselytism: British Culture and Sport at Home and Abroad 1700–1914, ed. James A. Mangan (London: Cass, 1988).

(35.) Odendaal, “South Africa’s Black Victorians”; and André Odendaal, The Story of an African Game: Black Cricketers and the Unmasking of One of Cricket’s Greatest Myths, South Africa, 1850–2003 (Cape Town: David Philip, 2003).

(36.) Odendaal, “South Africa’s Black Victorians.”

(37.) Odendaal, “South Africa’s Black Victorians.”

(38.) Archer and Bouillon, The South African Game, 112.

(40.) David Goldblatt, The Ball Is Round: A Global History of Soccer (New York: Riverhead Books, 2008), 485.

(41.) Goldblatt, The Ball Is Round.

(42.) James A. Mangan, “Ethics and Ethnocentricity: Imperial Education in British Tropical Africa,” in Sport in Africa, ed. Baker and Mangan, 138–171.

(43.) Schools attended by early African sport enthusiasts include, for instance, the Hope Waddell Training Institute in Calabar, Nigeria, which Peter Alegi credits with “giving birth” to football in Nigeria; the Gordon Memorial College in Sudan, known as “Winchester by the Nile”; Alliance School in Kenya; École Supérieure in Cameroon; and Tabora, “the Eton of Tanganyika.” See Alegi, African Soccerscapes, 9–12.

(44.) Alegi, African Soccerscapes, 3; and Martin, “Colonialism.”

(45.) Alegi, African Soccerscapes, 6–7.

(46.) Anthony Clayton, “Sport and African Soldiers: The Military Diffusion of Western Sport throughout Sub-Saharan Africa,” in Sport in Africa, ed. Baker and Mangan, 114–137.

(47.) Bale and Sang, Kenyan Running; and Carotenuto, “Grappling with the Past,” 1893.

(48.) Wycliffe W. Simiyu Njororai, “Colonial Legacy, Minorities and Association Football in Kenya,” Soccer & Society 10, no. 6 (2009): 866–882; and Robert Chappelll, “Sport in Postcolonial Uganda,” Journal of Sport & Social Issues 32, no. 2 (2008): 177–198.

(49.) Njororai, “Colonial Legacy,” 869. The Cup expanded to include Tanzania in 1945 and Zanzibar in 1947; Alegi, African Soccerscapes.

(50.) Bale and Sang, Kenyan Running.

(51.) Alegi, African Soccerscapes, 44.

(52.) Alegi, African Soccerscapes.

(53.) Philip Dine, “Shaping the Colonial Body: Sport and Society in Algeria, 1870–1962,” in Algeria and France, 1800–2000: Identity, Memory, Nostalgia, ed. Patricia Lorcin (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2006), 46.

(54.) Dine, “Shaping the Colonial Body.”

(55.) Dine, “Shaping the Colonial Body,” 47.

(56.) From 1930 to 1950, the sport gathering was known as the British Empire Games. From 1954 to 1966, it was the British Empire and Commonwealth Games. The name was changed to the British Commonwealth Games in 1970 to 1974, and from 1978, “British” was removed altogether, making it simply the Commonwealth Games.

(57.) James A. Mangan, Athleticism in the Victorian and Edwardian Public School: The Emergence and Consolidation of an Educational ideology (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1981).

(58.) The exceptions were a bronze medal in the 200 meters in 1960 by Abdoulaye Seye, a Senegalese athlete running for France; Moroccan Abdesselem Ben Rhadi’s silver medal in the 1960 marathon; and Tunisia’s Mohamed Gammoudi’s four medals in the 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters at the 1964, 1968, and 1972 Games.

(59.) Paul Darby, “‘Let Us Rally around the Flag’: Football, Nation-Building, and Pan-Africanism in Kwame Nkrumah’s Ghana,” Journal of African History 54 (2013): 221–246.

(60.) Alegi, African Soccerscapes.

(61.) Alegi, African Soccerscapes.

(62.) Mathias Ukah, “Socio-Cultural Forces in the Growth of the All-African Games,” Journal of the International Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation 26, no. 2 (1990): 16.

(63.) Darby, Africa, Football, and FIFA.

(64.) John Nauright and Timothy Chandler, eds., Making Men: Rugby and Masculine Identity (London: Frank Cass, 1996); and Patrick McDevitt, May the Best Man Win: Sport, Masculinity, and Nationalism in Great Britain and the Empire, 1880–1935 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), chap. 1, 1–13.

(65.) Albert Grundlingh, Potent Pastimes: Sport and Leisure Practices in Modern Afrikaner History (Pretoria: Protea Book House, 2013), 61.

(66.) Mahfoud Amara and Ian Henry, “Between Globalization and Local ‘Modernity’: The Diffusion and Modernization of Football in Algeria,” Soccer and Society 5, no. 1 (2004): 1–26.

(67.) Scarlett Cornelissen, “Resolving ‘the South Africa Problem’: Transnational Activism, Ideology and Race in the Olympic Movement, 1960–91,” International Journal of the History of Sport 28, no. 1 (2011): 153–169.

(68.) Douglas Booth, “The South African Council on Sport and the Political Antinomies of the Sports Boycott,” Journal of Southern African Studies 23, no. 1 (March 1997): 51–66.

(69.) Murray and Merrett, Caught Behind.

(71.) Alegi, Laduma!; and Darby, Africa, Football and FIFA.

(72.) Baruch Hanzan, “Sport as an Instrument of Political Expansion: The Soviet Union in Africa,” in Sport in Africa, ed. Baker and Mangan, 250–271.

(74.) Grundlingh, Potent Pastimes, 96.

(75.) Joan Brickhill, Race against Race: South Africa’s “Multinational” Sports Fraud (London: International Defence and Aid Fund, 1976).

(76.) Booth, The Race Game; and Murray and Merrett, Caught Behind.

(77.) Murray and Merrett, Caught Behind.

(78.) Thierry Terret, “Is There a French Sport History? Reflections on French Sport Historiography,” International Journal of the History of Sport 28, no. 14 (2011): 2061–2084.

(79.) For example, Johannes Fabian, Remembering the Present: Painting and Popular History in Zaire: Narratives and Paintings by Tshibumba Kanda Matulu (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996).

(80.) Karin Barber, “Popular Arts in Africa,” African Studies Review 30, no. 3 (1987): 41.

(81.) Clyde Mitchell, The Kalela Dance: Aspects of Social Relationships among Urban Africans in Northern Rhodesia (Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1956); and Ranger, Dance and Society.

(82.) Ranger, Dance and Society, 165.

(83.) Mary Draper, Sport and Race in South Africa (Johannesburg: South African Institute of Race Relations, 1963); Richard Lapchick, The Politics of Race and International Sport: The Case of South Africa (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1975); and Brickhill, Race against Race.

(84.) Odendaal, “South Africa’s Black Victorians”; Tim Couzens, “An Introduction to the History of Football in South Africa,” in Town and Countryside in the Transvaal: Capitalist Penetration and Popular Response, ed. Belinda Bozzoli (Johannesburg: Ravan Press, 1983), 198–214.

(85.) Baker and Mangan, Sport in Africa. Mangan’s work on the “diffusion” of sport in empire is relevant for the history of sport in Africa. See, for instance, Mangan, The Games Ethic; and Mangan, Athleticism. Also see Guttman, Games and Empires.

(86.) Grant Jarvie, Class, Race and Sport in South Africa’s Political Economy (London: Routledge, 1985); Bruce Kidd, “The Campaign against Sport in South Africa,” International Journal 63 (1988): 643–664; and Archer and Bouillon, South African Game.

(87.) On rugby see Grundlingh, Odendaal, and Spies, Beyond the Tryline; and David Black and John Nauright, Rugby and the South African Nation: Sport, Cultures, Politics, and Power in the Old and New South Africas (Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1998). On football see Ian Jeffrey, “Street Rivalry and Patron-Managers: Football in Sharpeville, 1943–1985,” African Studies 51 (1995): 69–94; and Peter Alegi, “Katanga vs. Johannesburg: A History of the First Sub-Saharan African Football Championship, 1949–1950,” Kleio 31 (1999): 55–74. On cricket see Ashwin Desai et al., Blacks in Whites: A Century of Cricket Struggles in KwaZulu-Natal (Pietermaritzburg, South Africa: University of Natal Press, 2002); André Odendaal, The Story of an African Game: Black Cricketers and the Unmasking of One of Cricket’s Greatest Myths, South Africa, 1850–2003 (Cape Town: David Philip, 2003); Jon Gemmell, The Politics of South African Cricket (London: Routledge, 2004); Murray and Merrett, Caught Behind; and Dean Allen, Empire, War and Cricket in South Africa: Logan of Matjiesfontein (Cape Town: Zebra Press, 2015). On track and field see Christopher Merrett, “From the Outside Lane: Issues of ‘Race’ in South African Athletics in the Twentieth Century,” Patterns of Prejudice 38, no. 3 (2004): 233–251. On swimming see John Nauright and Tara Magdalinski, “A Hapless Attempt at Swimming: Representations of Eric Moussambani,” Critical Arts 17, no. 1–2 (2003): 106–122. On boxing see Fleming, “Now the African Reigns Supreme.”

(88.) Nauright, Sport, Cultures and Identities.

(89.) Rob Nixon, “Apartheid on the Run: The South African Sports Boycott,” Transition 58 (1992): 68–88; Mihir Bose, Sporting Colours: Sport and Politics in South Africa (London: Robson Books, 1994); Christopher Merrett, “‘If Nothing Else Are the Deprivers So Deprived’: South African Sport, Apartheid and Foreign Relations, 1945–71,” International Journal of the History of Sport 13, no. 2 (1996): 146–165; Booth, “The South African Council on Sport,” 51–66; Marc Keech and B. Houlihan, “Sport and the End of Apartheid,” Round Table 88, no. 349 (1999): 109–121; and Booth, The Race Game.

(90.) Rabah Saadallah and Djamel Benfars, Le Football Algérien à la Conquête des Continents avec la Glorieuse Équipe du FLN (Alger: ENAL, 1985). For other early world of sport history beyond South Africa, see Samuel Ekpe Akpabot, Football in Nigeria (London: Macmillan, 1985).

(91.) John Bale and Joe Sang, Kenyan Running: Movement Culture, Geography and Global Change (London: Frank Cass, 1996); Hamad Ndee, “Sport and Africa: An East African Perspective—Pre-Colonial Origins, Colonial Deconstruction, Post-Colonial Reconstruction,” International Journal of the History of Sport 27, no. 5 (2010): 733–1000; and Todd Cleveland, Following the Ball: The Migration of African Soccer Players across the Portuguese Colonial Empire, 1949–1975 (Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2017).

(92.) E. Akyeampong, “Bukom and the Social History of Boxing in Accra: Warfare and Citizenship in Precolonial Ga Society,” International Journal of African Historical Studies 35, no. 1 (2002), 39–60; and Anne Leseth, “The Use of Juju in Football: Sports and Witchcraft in Tanzania,” in Entering the Field: New Perspectives on World Football, ed. Gary Armstrong and Richard Giulianotti (Oxford: Berg, 1997), 159–174.

(93.) Phyllis Martin, “Football Is King,” in Leisure and Society in Colonial Brazzaville (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 99–126. See also L. Fair, “Colonial Politics, Masculinity, and Football,” in Pastimes and Politics: Culture, Community, and Identity in Post-Abolition Urban Zanzibar, 1890–1945 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001).

(94.) Alegi, Laduma!; Alegi, African Soccerscapes; Alegi and Chris Bolsmann, South Africa and the Global Game: Football, Apartheid and Beyond (London: Routledge, 2010); Chris Bolsmann, “South African Football Tours at the Turn of the Twentieth Century: Amateurs, Pioneers and Profits,” African Historical Review 42 (2010): 91–112; Bolsmann, White Football in South Africa: Empire, Apartheid and Change, 1892–1977,” Soccer and Society 11 (2010): 29–45; Bolsmann, “The 1899 Orange Free State Football Team of Europe: ‘Race,’ Imperial Loyalty and Sports Spectacle,” International Journal of the History of Sport 28 (2011): 81–97; Darby, Africa, Football and FIFA; Darby, “‘Let Us Rally around the Flag’”; and Gary Armstrong and Richard Giulianotti, eds., Football in Africa: Conflict, Conciliation and Community (Houndmills, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004).

(95.) M. Saavedra, “Football Feminine—Development of the African Game: Senegal, Nigeria and South Africa,” Soccer & Society 4, no. 2 (2003): 225–253; Cynthia Pelak, “Negotiating Gender/Race/Class Constraints in the New South Africa: A Case Study of Women’s Soccer,” International Review for the Sociology of Sport 40, no. 1 (2005): 53–70; Cynthia Pelak, “Local-Global Processes: Linking Globalization, Democratization, and the Development of Women’s Football in South Africa,” Afrika Spectrum 41, no. 3 (2006): 371–392; and Prishani Naidoo and Zanele Muholi, “Women’s Bodies and the World of Football in South Africa,” in The Race to Transform: Sport in Post-Apartheid South Africa, ed. Ashwin Desai (Cape Town: HSRC Press, 2010), 105–144.

(96.) Youcef Bouandel and Mahfoud Amara, “Sport and International Relations in North Africa,” in Sport in the African World, ed. John Nauright and Mahfoud Amara (Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 2018), 110–120; and Moncef Lyazghi and Abderrahim Rharib, “Football and Politics in Morocco,” in Nauright and Amara, Sport in the African World, 31–50.

(97.) See Michelle Sikes and John Bale, eds., Women’s Sport in Africa (Abingdon, UK, 2014); Jimoh Shehu, ed., Gender, Sport and Development in Africa: Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Patterns of Representations and Marginalization (Dakar: Codesria, 2010); Jennifer Hargreaves, “Race, Politics and Gender: Women’s Struggles for Sport in South Africa,” in Heroines of Sport: The Politics of Difference and Identity (London: Routledge, 2000), 14–45; Denise Jones, “In Pursuit of Empowerment: Sensei Nellie Kleinsmidt, Race and Gender Challenges,” in Freeing the Female Body: Inspirational Icons, ed. James A. Mangan and Fan Hong (London: Frank Cass, 2001), 219–236; and Denise Jones, “Women and Sport in South Africa: Shaped by History and Shaping Sporting History,” in Sport and Women: Social Issues in International Perspective, ed. Ilse Hartmann-Tews and Gertrude Pfister (London: Routledge, 2003), 130–144.

(98.) Yannis Pitsiladis et al., eds., East African Running: Toward a Cross-Disciplinary Perspective (Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 2007).

(99.) Chris Bolsmann, “Sport and the Post-Apartheid South Africa: Revisiting the Race Game,” Journal of Sport History 41, no. 2 (2014): 331–338; and Scarlett Cornelissen, “Sport Past and Present in South Africa: (Trans)forming the Nation?” International Journal of the History of Sport 28, no. 1 (2011): 2–9. Surfing is an exception. See, for instance, Glen Thompson, “‘Certain Political Considerations’: South African Competitive Surfing during the International Sports Boycott,” International Journal of the History of Sport 28, no. 1 (2011): 32–46.

(100.) Michelle Sikes, “Print Media and the History of Women’s Sport in Africa: The Kenyan Case of Barriers to International Achievement,” History in Africa 43 (2016): 323–345.

(101.) Marizanne Grundlingh, “Showing the Springboks: The Commercialisation of South African Rugby Heritage,” South African Review of Sociology 46, no. 1 (2016): 106–128.