Sporting Colours: Sport and Politics in South Africa

ISBN: 0-8605-1861-2
Robson Books Ltd (1994)

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Runner-up in William Hill Sports Book of the Year, 1994

In November 1991 a group of South African cricketers — all but two of whom were white — arrived in Calcutta. The two countries did not recognise each other; there had been no diplomatic or formal contact since 1948, when the white nationalists came to power in South Africa; this was the first time a direct flight had been made from South Africa to India. The visitors did not even have visas to enter the country. But within minutes of the aircraft touching down, thousands of cheering Indians, who only weeks previously would have seen these young men as ambassadors of apartheid, lined the streets to welcome them as if they were conquering heroes.

Since these extraordinary scenes occurred, South Africa has returned to all the major sporting events from which it had been banned due to its apartheid policies. For over 20 years South Africa was the pariah of international sport, its very presence at any international event threatening to destabilise the whole edifice of sporting competition between nations. Now, suddenly, South Africa was welcomed everywhere, including the Olympic Games from which it had been banned since 1964.

In Sporting Colours: Sport and Politics in South Africa, author and journalist Mihir Bose presents a vivid portrait of one of the most complicated, racially scarred countries in the world. He explains why the poison of racism led to the highly effective sports boycott, looks at the efforts to break the boycott by the white authorities and recounts the dramatic way in which these sports authorities are now endeavouring to shed their racist image. With first-hand accounts by many of the principal players in this drama, this timely and compelling book describes how the sports which once helped to divide South Africa are now transforming it.

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