Unlocking the cape code: Establishing British football in South Africa

Winch J. (2010)


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.

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