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Pitch Battles: Protest, Prejudice and Play


Many rugby and cricket fans were horrified by the widespread disruption of the all-white 1969/70 Springbok rugby tour and the sub-sequent stopping of the 1970 cricket tour to Britain. Yet, with 50 years of hindsight, that presaged the end of apartheid sport. Former Cabinet Minister Lord Peter Hain led militant demonstrations against those tours and, with South Africa’s foremost sports historian and fellow anti-apartheid activist André Odendaal, shows how decades of international and domestic sports-political campaigning helped change a country and led to a Springbok team captained by a township kid, Siyabonga Kolisi, winning the 2019 World Cup. A riveting story of sacri- fice, struggle and triumph that reveals how sport can never be divorced from politics or society’s values.

Peter Hain spent his childhood in South Africa. After his anti-apartheid parents were jailed, banned and forced into exile in Britain, he led campaigns to stop all-white Springbok and other all-white sports tours, later becoming a Labour MP and Cabinet Minister, then a member of the House of Lords and author of over twenty books.
Andre Odendaal is Honorary Professor in History and Heritage Studies at the University of the Western Cape. A former first-class cricketer and anti-apartheid activist, he is author or co-author of a dozen books on the social history of sport and the history of the liberation struggle in South Africa.

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