Studying South African Sports History: A Current Perspective

Studying South African Sports History: A Current Perspective

Dean Allen [bio]
Senior Lecturer
School of Psychology and Sport Sciences
Northumbria University

The history of sport in South Africa is about more than mere games. Within the preface to his study of The Games Ethic and Imperialism, J.A. Mangan expressed the wish that he:

Would not like [the] study of cultural diffusion to be naively and erroneously catalogued under “Games”. It is concerned with much more: with ethnocentricity, hegemony and patronage, with ideals and idealism, with educational values and aspirations, with cultural assimilation and adaptation and, most fascinating of all, with the dissemination throughout the Empire of a hugely influential moralistic ideology.[1]

Arguably, nowhere more than in South Africa have such processes been played out through sport. This makes the country an ideal case study for sports historians. Based on recent experiences from my research, this paper will provide a contemporary perspective of studying South African sports history as well as discussing some of the key issues facing future researchers in this area.

The ‘cultural diffusion’ of which Mangan talks, of course, relates to the ideology of British Imperialism that arrived in South Africa during the nineteenth century. The origins of South Africa’s most popular sports (soccer, rugby, and cricket) can be traced to the period of British domination in South Africa – the late 1800s, of Victoria, of Empire – that laid the foundations upon which the sport and societial structures of today are being contested. My research explores South African cricket and society during this important period and provides a rich experience of the opportunities and challenges facing historians exploring sport in South Africa’s past.

In the early 1980s, Eric Hobsbawm argued that sport was one of the most important new social practices of late nineteenth – early twentieth century Europe, and as such played a significant role in the creation of politically and social cohesive ‘invented traditions.’[2] Since then, Stoddart has observed how, “the evidence is now quite clear on just how central a social institution sport was in the development of British colonial rule.”[3] Based upon this, this paper will also briefly detail the relevant sport and imperial historiography relating to South African sport and the British Empire. It will also review the methods used to collect data and how this information can be accessed from a variety of sources, both in South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Biographical Study
Kitson Clark considers the most important reason to conduct historical research is the hope of making “a valuable addition to knowledge on a subject which you believe to be … important.”[4] Indeed, whilst much has been written about empire, imperialism, and the Anglo-Boer War in South Africa’s history, there are still many questions to be investigated regarding social and political events as well as the key individuals who shaped this era. James Logan was a man of his time whose contribution not only to cricket but also to the wider processes of colonial society has been largely missed by the pens of twentieth century historians. My research has attempted to address this void, using a range of sources from archives in both Britain and South Africa. While this paper does not present findings on James Logan specifically, it does acknowledge the value of research on individuals who are significant to the wider sociological and historical processes.

For purposes of methodological appraisal, however, it is important to first define history – not only to show its value as a study and the various uses to which it may be applied, but also to direct the course of research. As Vincent points out, “The choice of a theme of inquiry and the amount of attention which it deserves should be determined by the relation of the subject to the larger development of the nation or of society. However small the topic, the treatment should have in view its contribution to the larger history of which it is part.”[5] My research endeavours to do this with its treatment of James Logan – to show not only his contribution to the development of South African cricket but also how he was representative of the colonial executive that was so influential in late nineteenth century South Africa. In doing so, the research represents an original contribution to existing South African sport and imperial historiography.

During the 1940s, following an invitation by the Social Science Research Council’s Committee on Appraisal of Research, Louis Gottschalk, a historian at the University of Chicago, endeavoured to define history and its practice.[6] Many of his principles are still relevant today. “History”, Gottschalk proposed, “is the mother of the social studies”[7] and it is the historical method that has a special significance for the scholar seeking knowledge of the past. In many respects, historians are the ‘gatherers’ of information for other disciplines. Using historical methods, data are accumulated from documents that have survived from the past and then used by the philosopher, the political scientist, the sociologist, the linguist, or the physicist to construct a history of thought, of political institutions, of social customs, of literature, or of science.[8] Importantly, they are also used by the historian to enhance our knowledge of “past personalities, narratives of past events, or pictures of past cultures.”[9]

“It is time,” according to Mangan, “that it was more widely recognised that by the late nineteenth century sport lay close to the heart of Britain’s imperial culture.”[10] My research addresses Mangan’s concern by using a biographical approach – with particular focus on the influence of Scotsman James Logan on the development of cricket throughout Southern Africa. Cricket, like other forms of British sport, “formed a distinct, persistent and significant cluster of cultural traits isolated in time and space, possessing a coherent structure and definite purpose. While it had many cultural functions, it had certainly become a means of propagating imperial sentiments.”[11] Certainly, the tours of the English cricket teams to South Africa at the end of the nineteenth century were “imperialist in nature” and intended, in some part, “to promote imperial ideology.”[12] James Bradley views the sending of touring teams abroad as “the most important area of imperial cricket” for it,

Served the twin purpose of giving an opportunity for the hosts to re-affirm their faith in Britain and the Empire, and also of stimulating the game in the colonies by setting an example and a standard to be followed. The private tours, which became another expanding and important part of cricket in the 1890s, were an important aspect of developing this bond, whether this was the intention of their organisers or not.[13]

Prior to the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC).and South African Cricket Association (SACA) taking full responsibility for international tours between England and South Africa,[14] it was left to the private enterprise of individuals such as Lord Hawke and James Logan to organise and fund these ventures.

If justification was needed for adding to existing knowledge by concentrating on an individual, then we need look no further than the words of Martin Johnes, who proclaimed recently: “If we are to assemble the wider collective biography that academic history seeks, then we should not be afraid of telling the stories of individuals and specific places. Only by doing so, can we start to even remotely see our past in the terms of those who actually lived it.”[15] By focussing on Logan, as a form of microhistory, the wider context in which he operated can be appreciated and understood.[16] C. Wright Mills, for one, recognised the inter-relation between society and the individual:

We have come to see that the biographies of men and women, the kinds of individuals they variously become, cannot be understood without reference to the historical structures in which the milieux of their everyday life are organised. Historical transformations carry meanings not only for individual ways of life, but for the very character – the limits and possibilities of the human being. As the history-making unit, the dynamic nation-state is also the unit within which the variety of men and women are selected and formed, liberated and repressed – it is the man-making unit.[17]

The dynamic then between Logan, cricket, and colonial society is the focus of my current study and, while Perkin asserts that “the history of societies is reflected more vividly in the way they spend their leisure than in their politics or their work”,[18] recent research into South African sport has shown how it is a combination of all these factors that provides an accurate historical representation of the time.[19] In agreement, Marwick has stated how, “Historians often have to cover what may conventionally, if inadequately, be defined as the political, economic, and social aspects of their topic.”[20] As such, issues of economics and politics feature as readily as sport throughout my research in order to highlight the workings of both South African and British society during the period in question.

Sport in History
Cricket in particular is a sport that has received considerable literary attention during its history. Nevertheless, while there has been a plethora of works detailing tours, players and important matches, the actual significance of the game and what is has stood for within the British Empire has not been comprehensively addressed. In his landmark work of 1963, C.L.R. James was a pioneer in exploring the significance of cricket ‘beyond’ the playing arena,[21] and since then, others, inspired by such insight, have followed his initiative.[22] Only recently, Jon Gemmell, one of the most recent analysts to explore cricket’s significance in South Africa, exclaimed how, “The contest between bat and ball, with all its complexities, intrigue and insights into character, serves no purpose to the political scientist beyond mere aesthetics.”[23] Certainly this rings true. For social historians of cricket the primary concern is, after all, not with results or performances but with “what the game represents and its place in a model of society.”[24] Christopher Merrett and John Nauright have both alluded to the relevance of studying cricket as part of South Africa’s colonial past. Throughout their chapter within The Imperial Game they reiterate how “cricket in South Africa represented British imperialist ideology”[25] and how the game “has long been part of the imperial dimension in South African history.”[26]

Yet sports history itself is a relatively new addition to the field of social history. In 1992, Dennis Brailsford wrote how “the social history of sport is still a young study, with many blank pages to be filled.”[27] Since then, the socio-historic study of sport and leisure has developed at a rapid rate and has increasingly become an accepted and effective part of ‘mainstream’ social history. As Sandiford explains within his study of Cricket and the Victorians, “Historians now know that it is hardly possible to write intelligibly about work without also dealing intelligently with play; … it is universally recognised that sport is one of the most important features in any society’s culture.”[28] In addition, Harold Perkin advocates how “the history of sport gives a unique insight into the way a society changes and impacts on other societies it comes into contact with and, conversely, the way those societies react back upon it. In the case of Britain and its Empire in the last hundred years or so, sport played a part in holding the Empire together.”[29]

Moreover, successful sports history is, according to Johnes, a “carefully constructed narrative of events based upon a survey of all the evidence and developed with an analysis of why things happened and what they meant.”[30] Based on this premise, the motivation behind my study is to make a significant contribution to the existing knowledge of South African sport and society by focussing on the life and times of James Logan. By using primary information from a variety of sources, including personal archives that have never been accessed,[31] this study explores the contribution of Logan to the social history of cricket in colonial South Africa for the first time. Using a biographical approach and examining the individual as an agent of change, it also adds to existing sport and imperial historiography by showing how cricket was integrated into all areas of South African society. Additionally,it also provides valuable context to the process of colonial imperialism.

South African Sport and Imperial Historiography
Broadly speaking, the history of South African sport remains undeveloped. In 1997 John Nauright acknowledged that the academic study of sport within South Africa was in its infancy and despite increased attention since then, many gaps still exist within the social history of South African sport.[32] Using archives that have become more accessible since the dissolution of apartheid,[33] my research  will be one of many new studies that explore the significance of sport in South Africa’s rich history.

Intiially, it is fair to ask, what has previously been written in this area? As Nauright points out, because of the racially-driven nature of South African sport, there already exists a large and long-established popular literature on the dominant white male team sports of cricket and rugby and as a result, these sports had been largely overlooked by social historians.[34] In the mid 1990s, however, Albert Grundlingh led a number of South African academics in publishing works exploring the significance of these traditional ‘white sports’ in the formation of South African cultural identity.[35]

A constituent part of these studies has been an analysis of the sport’s colonial development and British heritage. While Grundlingh, Floris Van der Merwe, and Robert Morrell have concentrated their efforts on South African rugby, André Odendaal, Christopher Merrett, and Bruce Murray have since explored the development of cricket within the country.[36] Producing Cricket in Isolation in the 1970s, Odendaal was among the first academics to examine the history of black and non-racial cricket within South Africa and his 2003 publication, The Story of an African Game, marks a further advance in this area.[37] Inspired by this, a small number of overseas scholars have recently examined the history of cricket in South Africa. Jon Gemmell’s book, The Politics of South African Cricket,[38] contains significant reference to the imperial heritage of the game and follows the South African publication of Murray and Merrett’s Caught Behind: Race and Politics in Springbok Cricket.[39] Produced in 2004, this book highlights the early colonial tours as a significant factor in the game’s development.

Merrett and Murray have shown how the development of South African cricket has been inextricably linked with that of politics.[40] Throughout its history, from the days of Logan and Hawke and the early tours, an imperial agenda thrust politics upon the sport in much the same way that policies of racial segregation during the apartheid era politicised cricket throughout South Africa.[41] Therefore, the game in this context requires an understanding of much more than simply ‘bat and ball’. Within The Imperial Game, Brian Stoddart and Keith Sandiford also recognise the link that existed between cricket and imperial politics in the late eighteen hundreds.[42] As part of this collection, Merrett and Nauright examine the specific case of South Africa and detail how the game became associated with a British imperialist ideology during this period.[43]

International works examining South African sport in general  also deserve attention. Despite its more contemporary focus, within Sporting Colours Mihir Bose recognises the entrenched nature of sporting identities in South Africa and how these stemmed from events at the end of the nineteenth century.[44] Bose acknowledges the imperial background of South African cricket and how it developed as the exclusive game of the colonial British within the country.[45] In The South African Game, Robert Archer and Antoine Bouillon also recognize how “sport is embedded in South African history” and how, after being brought to South Africa by British immigrants, “sport and British cultural values … were thereafter inseparably linked.”[46] This British model for modern sport, they suggest, “coincided with the height of Empire” and gave rise to an “ideology of sport [that] was in its turn assimilated by the ideology of colonialism.”[47] In a subsequent study of sport and apartheid, Douglas Booth describes in The Race Game how “Britain actively pursued a policy of social imperialism in South Africa in the last decade of the nineteenth century.”[48] Based upon these findings, this study adds context by examining the role of an individual agent within South Africa’s colonial society.

In designing this study, the author had to define the boundaries of the subject – not always an easy task. As John Nauright explains within his introduction to SportCultures and Identities in South Africa:

South Africa is perhaps one of the most complex of modern nations and made up of so many competing cultures, identities and ideologies that close analysis is always fraught with danger. Any study will be criticised from some angle as not being inclusive enough of this group or that group or issue, in particular sport and its role in identity-formation in South Africa is also a difficult topic to understand.[49]

In his own words, Nauright’s book “is an attempt to explain and understand the various meanings that sport, and in particular team sport, has had in the diverse communities that comprise present day South Africa.”[50] In doing so, the first two sections of Nauright’s work provide an historical background to the construction of modern day sporting identities within the country: Chapter one “providing a short, but very necessary, overview of South African history and the writing of social and sporting history in South Africa. The second section examines the rise of sporting cultures during the imperial and apartheid eras.”51 By focussing on South Africa’s white colonial society at the end of the nineteenth century, this study adds specific detail to general overviews such as this.

It also explores themes such as the importance of war and masculinity to Victorian sport. In Manliness and Morality, J.A. Mangan and James Walvin examine the ‘cult of manliness’ and its relationship to war and the spread of sport throughout the British Empire.[52] “Between approximately 1850 and 1940,” they argue, “the cult of manliness became a widely pervasive and inescapable feature of middle class existence in Britain and America: in literature, education and politics, the vocabulary of the ethic was forcefully promulgated.”[53] According to them, the qualities embraced by ‘manliness’ include “physical courage, chivalric ideals, virtuous fortitude with additional connotations of military and patriotic virtue.”[54] In agreement, Patrick McDevitt, in May the Best Man Win, investigates the “connection between the playing field and the battlefield” that characterised sporting endeavour across South Africa the rest of the Empire at the time of Anglo-Boer War.[55] “By the late Victorian and Edwardian age, a dominant vision of athletic masculinity in the British Empire was characterised by the ideals of sportsmanship, strength and endurance.”[56] Both Mangan and Walvin and McDevitt’s works are useful in underpinning an analysis of sport’s development in South Africa at a time of intense conflict throughout the region.

Within the Oxford History of the British Empire, Robin Winks also recognises the importance of studies of manliness and sport to the future of imperial history.[57] Similarly, and as part of the epilogue to Volume IV, The Twentieth Century,Judith Brown describes how shared sporting cultures represent a significant legacy of Britain’s Empire.[58] Works relating to imperialism in general and the British Empire have thus been used alongside sporting historiography to provide a context for this study of James Logan and South African cricket. The Oxford History has been particularly useful in explaining “how varying conditions in Britain interacted with those in many other parts of the world to create both a constantly changing territorial Empire and ever-shifting patterns of social and economic relations.”[59] The social and political tension in South Africa at the end of the nineteenth century is highlighted throughout the collection while William H. Worger provides a useful account of South African historiography in the century leading up to the 1990s.[60]

The significance of the 1880s and 1890s to the expansion of the Empire is discussed by Wm. Roger Louis.[61] Describing “a scramble for remaining territory in Africa” and “a Darwinian atmosphere of survival of the fittest”, Louis, along with John Darwin, investigates a distinct ‘Britannic nationalism’ that emerged towards the end of the nineteenth century.[62] A vibrant and jingoistic identity became associated, they suggest, with the Empire around the time of war in South Africa and provides context for this study in its analysis of cricket and imperialism. The political and commercial activities of James Logan during this period, as well as the development of cricket in South Africa, took place against a backdrop of an assured British nationalism that, in the words of Darwin, “rested upon an aggressive sense of cultural superiority as the representatives of a global civilization then at the height of its prestige.”[63]

Within his examination of the Second British Empire, Bayly also asserts how “Imperial history has always been intensely political.”[64] Linked to this is the concept of power and wealth. Based on J.A. Hobson’s dictum that ‘finance is the governor of the imperial engine,’[65] Cain and Hopkins’ account of British Imperialism 1688-2000 builds a new interpretation of British imperialism as the product of ‘gentlemanly capitalism.’[66] The concept of middle-class capitalism is useful in an analysis of James Logan and sport, and is central to this study’s main themes. Describing South Africa as the “turbulent frontier of empire”, Cain and Hopkins provide an indication of the dynamics at work during Logan’s period of influence in the Cape.[67] Patrick Brantlinger’s Rule of Darkness, a study of British Literature and Imperialism, also sheds light on the concept of a ‘New Imperialism’ that emerged in South Africa towards the end of the nineteenth century.[98] As he explains, “Studies of British imperialism as an ideological phenomenon have usually confined themselves to the period from the 1870s to World War 1, in part because those years saw the development of a militantly expansionist New Imperialism.”[69] With South Africa the focus of Britain’s imperial intentions towards the end of the eighteen hundreds, sources such as these are useful in providing the background for any historical study of South African sport.

Historical Sources
Philip Brooks argues that, “The official records of an organisation … may provide the framework, the skeleton, of a historical narrative. Private correspondence or memoirs can enrich it with the flesh of personal feeling, opinion or interpretation.”[70] In the case of James Logan’s story, information derived from official records, such as the minutes of the South African Cricket Association and the proceedings of the Cape House of Assembly, provided a backdrop for Logan’s personal papers from the Logan Family Collection at Matjiesfontein. It is the subjective character of a ‘human’ or ‘personal’ document that makes it a particularly useful source in a study such as mine.

The human document has been defined by the sociologist as “an account of individual experience which reveals the individual’s actions as a human agent and as a participant in social life.”[71] The psychologist’s interpretation of a personal document has included, “any self-revealing record that intentionally or unintentionally yields information regarding the structure, dynamics and functioning of the author’s mental life.”[72] For whatever purpose they are used, both forms of document (official and personal) do, however, share an essential characteristic: they function as a repository of attitudes. They are both of significant value to the social historian.

Personal correspondence and letters can be of particular value to a socio-historical study of sport. In particular, if “spontaneous and intimate, [these] rank high in credibility” suggests Gottschalk.[73] Unfortunately, despite access to the archives at Matjiesfontein, only limited personal documentation about James Logan remains. Newspaper reports and dispatches have proved invaluable, however in providing contextual information particularly those contained within Logan’s personal scrapbook. Newspapers are a form of reportage for the public with the time lapse between event and recording usually short and so newspapers, in the main, are a reliable and accessible source of information. Editorials and letters pages can also be among the best sources for gauging contemporary opinion.[74]

‘Local’ Knowledge
For ‘traditional’ historians like Arthur Marwick, the distinction between primary and secondary sources is fundamental:

Primary sources, as it were, form the basic ‘raw material’ of history; they are the sources which came into existence within the period being investigated. The articles and books written up later by historians, drawing upon these primary sources, converting the raw material into history, are secondary sources.[75]

Whilst it is through the secondary sources that one becomes familiar with the field and aware of the gaps in knowledge, it is through the use of primary material that real advances are made. “If you are planning to make an original contribution to historical knowledge, you are,” according to Marwick, “unlikely to make much of a stir if you stick strictly to other people’s work, that is, the secondary sources.”[76] This has often been the case with past works on South Africa where a failure to explore the archives in that country has resulted in an overuse of secondary literature.[77] There is “an urgent need,” asserts Collins, “to establish the historical record. Too much work on sport has been produced which relies on secondary sources and half-digested myth.”[78]

Recently, Wray Vamplew has championed the position of ‘empiricist history’ over ‘sociological history’ and derided those social scientists who claim to embrace empiricist methods but who, in reality, are prone to “factual error, over-reliance on secondary sources and the corollary of limited use of contemporary primary sources, misinterpretation of the evidence, and arguing by limited (in both senses) examples.”[79] Similarly, Paul Dimeo has also been critical of sports historians who ignore the “conventions of historiography … both by focussing on secondary or discursive forms of evidence and by selectively misrepresenting specific individuals’ positions.”[80]

Perhaps it is only by immersing ourselves in the culture of a particular setting that we can alleviate the need for speculation within our writing. “Experience is the sole arbiter of truth”, suggests Evans, “there is no universal truth, only truths particular to specific groups of people.”[]81 Taken literally, would this mean then, that as a white male, I should only write about the historical contributions of other white males? Whilst this is a contentious argument, I would certainly concur with the belief that one must ‘experience’ another country or culture in order to report upon it. Many have attempted to write about South Africa and its history ‘from a distance’ without the innate knowledge of ‘being’ South African or having lived among its people.[82] Even French historian Fernand Braudel, much of whose work had been devoted to the history of Spain and Italy, argued paradoxically in his book, The Identity of France, that “the historian can really be on an equal footing only with the history of his own country; he understands almost instinctively its twists and turns; its complexities, its originalities and its weaknesses.”[83]

But where is the line drawn? Does my fifteen years of living periodically in South Africa entitle me to write about its history or, as an Englishman, does my choice of subject – the archetype British colonial and that most English of games, cricket – allow me into the exclusive realms of writing authentic Anglo-South African history? Whilst my experience of South Africa and of visiting the places and interrogating the evidence about which I write has helped me to ‘visualise’ past events, perhaps Evans is right when he says that “history is as much about the obviously other as it is about the seemingly familiar. It is about bridging a series of gaps, in time, culture and experience, through the use of a disciplined historical imagination. Certainly, the historian can gain by bringing personal experience to bear on the study of the past.”[84]

My experience of living in South Africa and the frequent visits to Matjiesfontein have undoubtedly nurtured in me empathy for James Logan and the times in which he lived. Gottschalk, for one, identifies this as a particular strength when writing history:

The ability to throw oneself into the place of other individuals at other times and to interpret documents, events, and personalities with their eyes, standards and sympathies (without necessarily surrendering one’s own standards) has … been called ‘historical-mindedness’. It is closely related to the processes psychologists call empathy and intuition.[85]

Furthermore, “‘historical mindedness’ requires the investigator to shed his own personality and to take on, as far as possible, that of his subject in the effort to understand the language, ideas, ideals, interests, attitudes, habits, motives, drives and traits of that subject.”[86]  Whether one should attempt to assume the persona of James Logan, or any individual from the past, is debatable, although by becoming immersed in the sources and environment from which they came, it is possible, I believe, to obtain an authentic ‘feel’ for the subject under investigation.

My experience of South Africa has proved invaluable during the research for this study. As Philip Brooks has recognised: “The riches that lie in countless repositories can be mined productively only if the seeker knows what he is looking for, where he may expect to find it, and how to recognise it.”[87] Although it has been a lengthy apprenticeship, past experience of research in South Africa, particularly in the Western Cape, has afforded me knowledge of the region’s archives; what they contain, and where to find them. An important part of the research process in history is, after all, familiarising oneself with the available resources and their locations. This, however, can be a time consuming process, so if any advantage can be gleaned from previous experience in the field then this should be seized. When commitments elsewhere have limited the time spent conducting field research this has been vital.

With South African sports history still in its infancy, there is undoubtedly a need for more (quality) studies to be conducted. No one could argue that South Africa does not provide a rich context to explore the significance of sport within a diverse society and for those of us of historical mind who have worked in the country’s archives, the examination of sport and society has already led to some useful publications in this area. Long may this continue to be true.

As we have seen from a number of studies, the emergence of British sports in South Africa came as part of the process of imperial expansion. During the 1890s, as Rhodes was endeavouring to secure South Africa for British control, cricket benefactors, James Logan, and increasingly as time went on, Abe Bailey, were attempting to secure their part in the sport’s new role. At an early stage, they appreciated the relationship that existed between cricket, economics and politics. While my research has made strides in this area, it represents only one study towards a wider understanding of the processes involved in South Africa’s sporting identity.

Given South Africa’s undoubted passion for sport, conferences such as the one held recently at Stellenbosch University (from which this paper is originally taken) should be commended for launching the initiative to bring together scholars (both South African and international) interested in filling in the gaps in the country’s sporting and social history.[88] At a time when freedom of information and improved access to archives has revealed an abundance of primary data, sports historians should be encouraged now to actually spend time investigating these sources in order to increase our understanding of the central role of sport in South Africa’s past.

1 J.A. Mangan, The Games Ethic and Imperialism: Aspects of the Diffusion of an Ideal, 1998, p.17.

2 E.A. Hobsbawm, & T.O. Ranger, (eds.). The Invention of Tradition, 1983, p.298.

3 B. Stoddart, West Indies. In Stoddart, B. & Sandiford, K.A.P. (eds.), The Imperial Game, 1998, p.83.

4 G. Kitson Clark, Guide for Research Students Working on Historical Subjects, 1968, p.10.

5 J.M. Vincent, Historical ResearchAn Outline of Theory and Practice, 1911, pp.11-12.

6 See L. Gottschalk, The Use of Personal Documents in History, Anthropology and Sociology, 1945.

7 Ibid., p.6.

8 Ibid., p.3.

9 Ibid., p.3.

10 J.A. Mangan, Britain’s chief spiritual export: Imperial sport as moral metaphor, political symbol and cultural bond. In Mangan, J. A. (ed.), The Cultural Bond: Sport, Empire, Society, 1992, p.1.

11 Ibid.

12 B. Murray, & C. Merrett, Caught Behind: Race and Politics in Springbok Cricket, 2004, p. 7.

13 J. Bradley, The M.C.C., society and empire: A portrait of cricket’s ruling body, 1860-1914. In Mangan, J.A. (ed.), The Cultural Bond: Sport, Empire, Society, 1992, p.39.

14 Sandiford has shown how Victorian cricket was never governed by the MCC to the same extent as soccer, for example, which fell under the control of the Football Association after 1863. Reluctantly taking charge of the county championship in 1894, it was not until 1903-04 that the first fully-fledged MCC team was sent abroad (to Australia). See K.A.P. Sandiford, Cricket and the Victorians, 1994, pp.73-76. As my PhD reveals however, the South African Cricket Association did have a higher degree of involvement in South Africa’s international tours during this period.

15 M. Johnes, ‘Putting the history into sport: On sports history and sports studies’, 2003, p.5.

16 Microhistory involves “the detailed investigation of individual life histories.” R. Ross, ‘Transcending the Limits of Microhistory’, Journal of African History, 42 (1), 2001, p.126. For an example of its use in sports history, see M. Cronin, ‘The Gaelic Athletic Association’s Invasion of America, 1888: Travel Narratives, Microhistory and the Irish American ‘Other’. Sport in History, 27 (1), 2007.

17 C. Wright Mills, The Sociological Imagination, 1959, p.158.

18 H. Perkin, Teaching the nations how to play: Sport and society in the British Empire and Commonwealth. In Mangan, J.A. (ed.), The Cultural Bond: Sport, Empire, Society, 1992, p.211.

19 See, for example, J. Gemmell, The Politics of South African Cricket, 2004 and B. Murray, & C. Merrett, Caught Behind: Race and Politics in Springbok Cricket, 2004.

20 A. Marwick, The New Nature of History, 2001, p. 207.

21 See C.L.R. James, Beyond a Boundary, 1963.

22 See, for example, H.M Beckles (ed.). A Spirit of Dominance. Cricket and Nationalism in the West Indies, 1998; B. Stoddart, & K.A.P. Sandiford (eds.), The Imperial Game, 1998 and J. Williams, Cricket and Race, 2001.

23 J. Gemmell, The Politics of South African Cricket, 2004, p.1.

24 Ibid. This of course assumes that cricket and other sports are, as Gemmell states, “subject to the extensive dynamics that shape our social and political environment.”

25 C. Merrett & J. Nauright, South Africa. In Stoddart, B. & Sandiford, K.A.P. (eds.), The Imperial Game, 1998, p.56.

26 Ibid., p.55.

27 D. Brailsford, British Sport. A Social History, 1992, p.i.

28 K.A.P. Sandiford, Cricket and the Victorians, 1994, p.5.

29 H. Perkin, Teaching the nations how to play: Sport and society in the British Empire and Commonwealth. In Mangan, J.A. (ed.), The Cultural Bond: Sport, Empire, Society, 1992, p.211.

30 M. Johnes, ‘Putting the history into sport: On sports history and sports studies’, 2003, pp.16-17.

31 Access was granted for the first time to Logan’s personal collection within his house. These items included trophies, personal mementos (including items from the likes of Rhodes and Kipling) as well as Logan’s own private photo albums. Logan’s scrapbook had been the only item that had previously been made available by the family to other researchers.

32 J. Nauright, Sport, Cultures and Identities in South Africa, 1997, p.17.

33 Archival access was similarly transformed in South Africa in 1948 when the government records for the Anglo-Boer War period were opened – resulting in a flood of academic monographs from the mid 1950s onwards. See J.E. Flint, Britain and the Scramble for Africa. In Winks, R.W. (ed.), The Oxford History of the British Empire. Volume V: Historiography, 1999, p.455.

34 J. Nauright, Sport, Cultures and Identities in South Africa, 1997, p.18.

35 For example, see A. Grundlingh,, Beyond the Tryline: Rugby and South African Society, 1995; A. Grundlingh, Playing for power? Rugby, Afrikaner nationalism and masculinity in South Africa, c.1900-70. In Nauright, J. and Chandler, T. (eds.), Making Men: Rugby and Masculine Identity, 1996; R. Morrell, Forging a ruling race: Rugby and white masculinity in colonial Natal, c.1870-1910. In Nauright, J. and Chandler, T. (eds.), Making Men: Rugby and Masculine Identity, 1996 and F.J.G. Van der Merwe, Rugby and Afrikaner Nationalism during World War Two. 6th ISHPES congress, “Sport and politics”, Budapest, 14-19 July 1999.

36 For example, see C. Merrett, & J. Nauright, South Africa. In Stoddart, B & Sandiford, K.A.P. (eds.), The Imperial Game, 1998 and B. Murray, & C. Merrett, Caught Behind: Race and Politics in Springbok Cricket, 2004.

37 See A. Odendaal, Cricket in Isolation, 1977 and A. Odendaal, The Story of an African Game, 2003.

38 J. Gemmell, The Politics of South African Cricket, 2004.

39 B. Murray, & C. Merrett, Caught Behind: Race and Politics in Springbok Cricket, 2004.

40 See J. Gemmell, The Politics of South African Cricket, 2004.

41 Even as recently as 2003 when the Cricket World Cup was held in South Africa, the game has continued to be affected by issues of politics. See B. Majumdar and J.A. Mangan, (eds.). Cricketing Cultures in Conflict: World Cup 2003, 2004.

52 B. Stoddart, & K.A.P. Sandiford, (eds.), The Imperial Game, 1998.

42 See C. Merrett, & J. Nauright, South Africa. In Stoddart, B. & Sandiford, K.A.P. (eds.), The Imperial Game, 1998, pp.55-61.

43 M. Bose, Sporting Colours: Sport and Politics in South Africa, 1994, pp.10-16.

44 Ibid., p.16.

45 R. Archer, & A. Bouillon, The South African Game: Sport and racism, 1982, p.2.

46 Ibid., p.3.

47 D. Booth, The Race Game: Sport and Politics in South Africa, 1998, p.20.

48 J. Nauright, Sport, Cultures and Identities in South Africa, 1997, p.1.

49 Ibid.

50 Ibid., p.3.

51 J. A. Mangan, & J. Walvin, (eds.). Manliness and MoralityMiddle-Class Masculinity in Britain and America 1800-1940, 1987.

52 Ibid., p.2.

53 Ibid., p.1.

54 P.F. McDevitt, May the Best Man Win. Sport, Masculinity, and Nationalism in Great Britain and the Empire, 2004, p.11.

55 Ibid., p.9.

56 R.W. Winks, Future of Imperial History. In Winks, R.W. (ed.), The Oxford History of the British Empire. Volume V: Historiography, 1999, p.658.

57 J.M. Brown, Epilogue. In Brown, J.M. & Loius, W.R. (eds.). The Oxford History of the British Empire. Volume IV: The Twentieth Century, 1999, p.705.

58 W.R. Louis, Foreword. In Winks, R.W. (ed.), The Oxford History of the British Empire. Volume V: Historiography, 1999, p.vii.

59 W.H. Worger, Southern and Central Africa. In Winks, R.W. (ed.), The Oxford History of the British Empire. Volume V: Historiography, 1999.

60 W.R. Louis, Introduction. In Brown, J.M. & Loius, W.R. (eds.). The Oxford History of the British Empire. Volume IV: The Twentieth Century, 1999, pp. 2-5.

61 See Ibid., p.2 and J. Darwin, A Third British Empire? The Dominion Idea in Imperial Politics. In Brown, J.M  & Loius, W.R. (eds.). The Oxford History of the British Empire. Volume IV: The Twentieth Century, 1999, pp. 72-73.

62 J. Darwin, A Third British Empire? The Dominion Idea in Imperial Politics. In Brown, J.M  & Loius, W.R. (eds.). The Oxford History of the British Empire. Volume IV: The Twentieth Century, 1999, p.72.

63 C.A. Bayly, The Second British Empire. In Winks, R.W. (ed.), The Oxford History of the British Empire. Volume V: Historiography, 1999, p.71.

64 See J.E. Flint, Britain and the Scramble for Africa. In Winks, R.W. (ed.), The Oxford History of the British Empire. Volume V: Historiography, 1999, p.461. Flint is referring to Hobson’s critique of imperialism within J.A. Hobson, Imperialism: A Study, 1902.

65 See P.J. Cain, & A.G. Hopkins, British Imperialism. 1688-2000, 2002.

66 Ibid., p.325.

67 P. Brantlinger, Rule of Darkness: British Literature and Imperialism, 1830-1914, 1988.

68 Ibid., p.19.

69 P.C. Brooks, Research in Archives, 1969, pp. 8-9.

70 H. Blumer, An Appraisal of Thomas and Zwaniecki’s ‘The Polish peasant in Europe and America’, 1979, p.29.

71 G.W. Allport, The Use of Personal Documents in Psychological Science, 1941, p.xii.

72 L. Gottschalk, The Use of Personal Documents in History, Anthropology and Sociology, 1945, p.18.

72 Newspapers are, according to Vincent, “unconscious relics of the period … a literary product of [their] time … each part [should be] judged and made use of according to the class in which it belongs.” J.M. Vincent, Historical ResearchAn Outline of Theory and Practice, 1911, p.16. More recently, Wray Vamplew has advocated the historian’s use of the contemporary press as the “simple way to determine what actually happened.” W. Vamplew, ‘Empiricist Versus Sociological History: Some Comments on the ‘Civilizing Process’’. Sport in History, 27 (2), 2007, p.169.

73 A. Marwick, The New Nature of History, 2001, p. 26. The distinction is further compounded by Robin Winks: “By a “source” the historian means material that is contemporary to the events being examined. Such sources include, among other things, diaries, letters, newspapers, magazine articles, tape recordings, pictures and maps. Such material may have appeared in print before, edited or unedited, and still be a source. The term is meant to be restrictive rather than inclusive, in that it attempts to indicate that works of secondary scholarship, or synthesis, are not sources, since the data have been distilled by another person.” R.W. Winks, (ed.). The Historian as Detective,1968, p.xx.

74 A. Marwick, The New Nature of History, 2001, p. 26.

75 For discussion on this see D. Allen, ‘Book Review: Jon Gemmell, The Politics of South African Cricket’. Sport in History, 25 (1), 2005, pp.158-163.

76 T. Collins, Rugby’s Great Split: Class, Culture and the Origins of Rugby League Football, 1998, p.xviii.

77 W. Vamplew, ‘Empiricist Versus Sociological History: Some Comments on the ‘Civilizing Process’’. Sport in History, 2007, p.163. In an attack on sociologists (in particular Dominic Malcolm) who have written on cricket and the ‘civilizing process’, Vamplew suggests they “should be encouraged to use empirical historical data to test their hypotheses” Adding that: “Sociologists have criticized historians for a lack of theoretical base to their work. This is the reverse: sociologists with false notions of how to do history.” Ibid., p.169.

78 P. Dimeo, ‘A Critical Assessment of John Hoberman’s Histories of Drugs in Sport’. Sport in History, 27 (2), 2007, p.335.

79 R.J. Evans, In Defence of History, 1997, p.211.

80  For example, one author who has written a book on South African sport , admitted to me recently of never having visited South Africa or its archives. This book relies largely on secondary sources.

81 F. Braudel, The Identity of FranceVol.1: History and Environment, 1988, pp.15, 19-21.

82 F. Braudel, The Identity of FranceVol.1: History and Environment, 1988, pp.15, 19-21.
t in order to produce an accurate history of ‘another’ place or society it is absolutely essential to consult the primary sources contained within the archives of that place or society. Unfortunately far too many have failed to do this in relation to South Africa.

83 L. Gottschalk, The Use of Personal Documents in History, Anthropology and Sociology, 1945, pp.32-33. Emphasis in original.

84 Ibid., p.33.

85 P.C. Brooks, Research in Archives, 1969, p.1.

86 South African Sports History Conference, Stellenbosch University, South Africa, June 2008.

Dean Allen Bio

Dean Allen is a Senior Lecturer at Northumbria University, specialising in the history of sport and society. He recently joined Northumbria from Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia; prior to that, Dean had been based at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland as a Lecturer in the social science of sport. Having completed his Masters degree at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, Dean finished his PhD by exploring cricket and imperialism in South Africa during the Anglo-Boer War era. He has published in a number of leading journals and in 2002 was presented with the award for outstanding young scholar by the International Society for the History of Physical Education and Sport. His work on South African rugby was showcased at the Museum of Rugby at Twickenham as part of the recent Springbok centenary celebrations.

He is currently beginning a six month appointment as a Research Associate in the Centre for Human Performance Sciences at Stellenbosch University in South Africa.


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