Long Run to Freedom:Sport, Cultures and Identities in South Africa

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The Long Run to Freedom: Sport, Cultures and Identities in South Africa analyzes the meaning attached to sport in South African societies, past and present. It explores the history and changing meanings attached to particular sports in the old and new South Africas, and the ways in which sport is being used in the present. In particular, it examines the prominent team sports of rugby, soccer, and cricket in the creation of social divisions and unities over the course of South African history.

“This is a timely publication as South African sport is in the process of adapting to wider changes in the country as well as competing internationally after a long period of isolation. Nauright explores the hidden social dimensions of sport in South Africa and provides a comprehensive analysis of the inter-relationship between identity formation and various sporting codes in an ethnically fragmented South Africa.” —Professor Albert Grundlingh, University of South Africa, Pretoria

“There is now a substantial literature analyzing racial aspects of South African sport. What distinguishes Sport, Cultures, and Identities in South Africa is the author’s clever focus on the embodiment of cultural identity. . . . Nauright’s highly original approach to the embodiment of racial culture makes the book essential reading.” —Douglas Booth, Journal of Modern African Studies

“. . . reading Nauright’s book one feels like being on a high-speed train ride through South Africa’s social geography of sport. . . . bring[s] out deeply revealing sights, sounds, and smells of a novel, powerful and textured local sport culture.” —Peter Alegi, International Journal of the History of Sport


Dedication   vii

List of Abbreviations ix
Preface               xi
Introduction       1
chapter  1 The Making of Modern South African History and Sport 5
chapter  2 Imperial Games: The Emergence of White-dominated Sport 24
chapter  3 Respectability, Urban Culture and the Development of Modern Sport in South Africa’s Black Communities  47
chapter  4 ‘White Tribe Dreaming’: Rugby, Politics and White Identities in ‘White’ South Africa 1948-90           76
chapter  5 The Development of Soccer and Urban Black Culture and Identity                                   101
chapter  6 ‘No Normal Sport in an Abnormal Society’: Apartheid, The Rise of Non-racial Sport and International Boycott Movements 1958-90  124
chapter  7 South Africa in Union? Sport ‘Unity’, Identities and the Rainbow Nation                           157
chapter  8 The Burden of the Past: (Re)Presentation, History, Sport and Society in the Rainbow Nation           182
    References                                                                                           198
    Index                                                                                           212
    About the Author                                                                                   215

News and Reviews

  • Play the Game recommends this book to anyone who seeks more insight into the meaning and history of sport in South Africa.
    Read more here.
  • Nauright talks about the cultural and economic benefits in South Africa from the 2010 FIFA World Cup Listen to the story on KCRW public radio here.
  • Global Sport Management students share their experiences from field trip to 2010 FIFA World Cup with Dr. John Nauright. Read more here.
  • FiT re-releases book on role and importance of sports in South Africa's history. Learn more here.