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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Playing to the Gallery? Sport, Cultural Performance, and Social Identity in South Africa, 1920-1945
Author:Alegi, Peter C.
Year:2002
Periodical:International Journal of African Historical Studies
Volume:35
Issue:1
Pages:17-38
Language:English
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:football
history
1920-1929
1930-1939
1940-1949
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Ethnic and Race Relations
Architecture and the Arts
Link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/3097364
Abstract:This article examines the transformation of football (soccer) in South Africa from a mission-school pastime for the 'amakholwa' (Christian, educated) elite to a popular form of urban African leisure in the segregation era (1920-1945). The institutionalization of black soccer occurred during a period of enormous social change brought about by increasing urbanization, industrial expansion and racial segregation. Football enabled African workers, community leaders, and entrepreneurs to compete, forge collective identities and networks, build alternative institutions, and enjoy temporary relief from the hardships of institutional racism, police pass checks, and low-paying work. The emergence of indigenous playing styles - 'marabi' football, the Motherwell style -, the active involvement of fans, and the game's connection to the entertainment life of city slums and 'Native Locations' explain the vernacularization of the sport. Football enabled politically voiceless South Africans to create a leisure culture on their own terms. By the 1940s, football had spread to remote small towns and rural villages, and by the end of the Second World War, it was the leviathan of black sport. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]
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