Unlocking the cape code: Establishing British football in South Africa
This paper examines the emergence of modern forms of football in southern Africa during the late nineteenth century. It focuses on Cape Town - 'the birthplace of South African sport as we know it today' 1 - and draws on comparative material from elsewhere in the region and overseas. It also locates events within wider social and political developments at a time when Britain sought to establish its supremacy through a federation of the South African colonies and republics. Central to the investigation is the need to discover more about the existence of a Cape football code and to ascertain the means by which William Milton championed rugby in the course of promoting a broader imperial sporting culture. In exploring the changes which occur, the article will pay attention to the stance of the press and take into account soccer's struggle for recognition; the establishment of parallel black football organisations, and the escalation in Afrikaner support for rugby. © 2010 The British Society of Sports History.