Divided Country

Divided Country explains how segregation and apartheid became entrenched in a unique way in cricket in South Africa between 1915 and the 1950s. While the rest of the cricket world increasingly rubbed out old dividing lines, South Africa reinforced them until seven different South Africas existed at the same time in cricket. Each of them claimed the title ‘South Africa’ and ‘national’. Each ran leagues and provincial competitions and chose national teams. This book continues the task started by Cricket and Conquest (2017), which re-wrote the foundational narratives of cricket in southern Africa between 1795 and 1914. One reviewer noted it was ‘simply the finest book ever written about sport in South Africa’. Another that it had the effect of ‘bowling over prevailing histories, de-colonising existing narratives of the game ~ [and] throwing all that came before into a spin’ so that ‘what was will never be the same’. Divided Country similarly attempts to paint an entirely new picture of cricket in South Africa during a crucial and complex period. It completely inverts previous whites-only general histories of cricket, showing that the game has an infinitely richer history than has been recorded to date. Without knowing how apartheid in cricket unfolded one cannot even begin to understand the journey the country has travelled since the 1950s, and how, slowly, painstakingly, the cricket unity we take for granted today was struggled for and constructed. This will be the explosive theme of Volume 3 of this series.
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