An Americanised issue with no place in South Africa?-rodeo sports, muscular and cultural identity and animal rights in urban South Africa
Prior to 1980, rodeo events in South Africa were either organised as entrepreneurial ventures or as public displays for their spectacle value. With the establishment of the Rodeo Association of South Africa (RASA) in 1979 and the hosting of its inaugural event on 1 January 1980 in the city of Vanderbijlpark, rodeo in South Africa officially became a sport, and a new era was inaugurated. In 2003 the Working Cowboys Association (WCA), an organisation which combined work and horse and cattle sport, was established, and in 2005 the South African Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association (SAPRCA) was founded. In contrast to its predecessors, one of the SAPRCA's key objectives is to work towards the selection of a national team to compete on the international circuit. All of the former bodies operated and continue to operate from a largely urban base and they have attracted a predominantly white audience. In the recent past, the presence of politically inspired Afrikaner symbols and public broadcast of poetry of the late Eugène Terreblanche, a prominent right-wing leader, along with the provision of a public platform for Afrikaner-interest organisations such as Afriforum saddled the sport with various social functions in the post-apartheid environment. This article, in addition to broadly tracing the emergence, growth and contestation of rodeo as an increasingly urban sport in South Africa, also reflects on the social functions of rodeo within the local context based as understood from the public pronouncements of its fans, participants and opponents. © 2011 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.