AA 2018 Volume 50 Issue 2

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  • ItemOpen Access
    Hetero-sexing the athlete: public and popular discourses on sexuality and women’s sport in South Africa
    (University of the Free State, 2018) Engh, Mari Haugaa
    On the African continent sport has, particularly in the last two decades, been hailed as a useful tool in the quest for nation building and social cohesion. A popular claim is that sport has a particularly powerful role to play in achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment. Yet what often remains silenced in assertions about the benefits and potentials of sport, are the ways in which sport also produces and sustains exclusion, frequently along sex/gender and racial lines. Sport has social and cultural significance precisely because it provides an avenue for the reproduction of normativities of embodiment, gender and sexuality. In this article, we critically examine how South African discourses on sport reproduce heteronormative and racialised ideas about women’s sport and women athletes. Focusing in particular on representations of South African women’ athletes, we raise questions about the type and form of visibility that is afforded South African sportswomen. Using examples of public debates and media coverage regarding three South African women athletes –Eudy Simelane, Caster Semenya and Portia Modise – we argue that three representational regimes shape discussions of gender, sexuality and women’s sport in South Africa; annihilation, domestication, and expulsion.
  • ItemOpen Access
    A century of mountaineering: race, class and the politics of climbing Table Mountain, 1890 – 1990
    (University of the Free State, 2018) Khan, Farieda
    Mountaineering in Cape Town was first practised as a sport by the colonial elite during the late 19th Century. This historical review of two mountain clubs analyses the linkages between race, class and mountaineering in Cape Town, South Africa. The origins of mountaineering are inextricable from the racial hierarchy of colonial society, which was founded upon discrimination, segregation and unequal power relations between black and white. This is evident in the development of the exclusively white Mountain Club of South Africa – an organisation deeply embedded in the privileged political establishment. Similarly, the racialised power relations of the 20th Century would be reflected in the club’s distant, exclusionary and paternalistic relationship with local black mountaineers and the Cape Province Mountain Club. Through an exploration of the developmental trajectories of these two, at one time racially exclusive, mountaineering clubs, their interaction with each other and their navigation of the contemporary socio-political context, this paper tells the history and politics of climbing Table Mountain between 1890 to 1990.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Saturday night at the Speedway: class, race, gender and a ‘lynching’
    (University of the Free State, 2018) Roos, Neil
    This paper will reflect on some contemporary reenactments of whiteness by a white subaltern crowd attending an oval track speedway meeting in central South Africa in 2017. It will also consider my role as ethnographer/observer, this latter aspect positioning the paper as a kind of ‘gonzo-ethnography’. I tracked several individuals including an ‘organic comedian’, a number of women and some children through what turned out to be a key event at the night’s sport, an act of crowd violence directed at three Bangladeshi men. This episode was spontaneous, populist and bottom-up, with evidence of strong gendered roles. It can best be described as a kind of organized disorder as the three racial outsiders were isolated, humiliated, and stripped of the veneer of common humanity; in other words, it bore the characteristics of a lynching, albeit in symbolic form. This carnival rendering of violence was central to the identity and coherence of the crowd that night. The violence on show was ironically of a kind which the apartheid state itself sought to police and prohibit among subaltern whites from as early as the 1950s, reminding us once again that whiteness, was never homogeneous or without internal tensions and fractures.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Sporting subalternities and social justice: rethinking South African sports studies
    (University of the Free State, 2018) Kaur, Tarminder
  • ItemOpen Access
    Ousting South Africa: Olympic clashes of 1968
    (University of the Free State, 2018) Sikes, Michelle
    South Africa modified its sport policy, though not its national policy of apartheid, prior to the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games. Black and white South African athletes would compete as one team at the Olympics for the first time. This reversal of its previous allwhite policy persuaded the majority of IOC members to accept South Africa’s participation at the 1968 Olympics. African nations were the first to withdraw in protest. Taking this stand, despite South Africa’s concessions, they sought nothing less than the end of apartheid itself. Recognising that a detailed historical interrogation can shed light on the struggles, politics, limitations, and achievements of social justice in and through sport, this article demonstrates when and how these different visions of social justice emerged, gained traction, and were resisted when it came to apartheid South Africa.