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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 28, No. 8. 1965.


page 4


Sport for All
In South Africa Except The Blacks

Race discrimination in sport is almost universally repudiated as incompatible with the ethic of sportsmanship. But in contrast with the international character of sports competitions and sport's inter-racial traditions in the rest of the world, in South Africa the ideal is for sport to be organised rigidly along racial lines.

Selection on merit, however fundamental to sport abroad, is meaningless in South Africa when it comes to the selection of national teams, for no non-white is eligible for selection, however great his ability. For almost every South African national sporting body which admits only white South Africans there exists a parallel non-white body, generally with a non-racial constitution.

In almost all cases, however, it is the exclusively white and not the non-racial body that is affiliated to the international association governing each sport: the non-white sportsmen are confined to the locations and denied all chance of ever providing national representatives.

Non-white South Africans have gained recognition only by going abroad—a choice available to but a few players. Nevertheless, nonwhite South Africans have won professional contracts with cricket, rugby league, and soccer teams in Britain and the Continent.

Amongst these sportsmen are Basil D'Oliviera, who played for Ron Roberts's touring Commonwealth cricket team but is not eligible for selection in any representative South African side; David Samaai, who played tennis at Wimbledon but could not play in mixed matches in Johannesburg: Jake Tuli, who won the Empire Flyweight Championship in Britain but could not box for South Africa; Ron Eland, the coloured weightlifter, who represented Great Britain at the 1948 Olympic Games but was ineligible for selection in the South African Olympic team; Sewsunker Sewgolum, who twice won the Dutch Open Golf title; and Edward Johnson-Sedibe, assistant professional at the Royal Winchester Golf Club in England.

In South Africa itself nonwhite sportsmen have more to contend with than government policy and the monopolising of representative opportunities by white sports bodies.

The gross inadequacy of sports facilities has been the subject of frequent comment. The lack of facilities and the shortage of playing fields make week-day practice very difficult.

It is said that even some of the best players are only able to get a game once in three weeks because teams have to take turns in using the available grounds. In addition, non-white South Africans suffer through a lack of expert coaching and lack of experience against the visiting teams from Britain, Australia, France and New Zealand, which confine themselves to competing with white organisations only.

The Campaign For NonRacial Sport

There was a time when South African sport was organised almost entirely along racial lines—White, Coloured, African and Indian— with the while sportsman monopolising the privilege of representing South Africa at the Olympic Games and in all other international contests.

As non-white sports bodies became stronger, several of their associations formed themselves into inter-racial national bodies. Europeans were invited but rarely joined.

The new organisations began to contest the right of the exclusively while bodies to affiliation with the international association governing each sport.

Sport And The Government

The action of the International Table Tennis Federation in withdrawing recognition from the white South African body and registering the non-white non-racial body had immediate political repercussions. The Chairman of the white Table Tennis Union called for positive action to combat such activities by non-white organisations.

The table tennis decision and the wrathful comments of some Nationalist members of Parliament, together with the insecure position of the white South African body in the International Federation of Football Associations elicited a statement from Dr. T. E. Donges, Minister of the Interior, in Die Burger on June 25, 1956.

Dr. Donges denied the allegation that the South African Government interfered with non-white sport and declared that sport did not fall under the judicial control of the government.

The South African Government, the Minister maintained, was anxious to help all "legitimate Non-European sporting activities," but these must be in accordance with apartheid. Whites and nonwhites should organise their sport separately, no inter-racial competition should take place within the Union's borders, and the mixing of races in teams should be avoided. Sportsmen from overseas "should respect the Union's customs as she respected theirs."

Non-white sportsmen would not be debarred from entering South Africa to compete with nonwhites. Dr. Donges said the government would withhold support from any non-white sports body which sought international recognition and would not grant passports to non-whites guilty of "such subversive intentions."

Apart from regulations which prevented boxing between races, no laws were enacted to prevent interracial sport, and the government was very particular to emphasise that its policy merely reflected the traditions and customs of the country. In 1960, after the South African Sports Association had made representations to the Imperial Cricket Conference regarding race discrimination in the affiliated white South African Cricket Association, this body wrote to the Minister of the Interior, Mr. J. F. Naude, for a statement of the government's attitude.

In a reply dated June 16, 1960, the Minister stated:

The Government does not favour inter-racial team competitions within the borders of the Union and will discourage such competitions taking place as being contrary to the traditional policy of the Union—as accepted to all races in the Union.

The policy of separate development is in accordance with the traditional South African custom that Whites and non-Whites should organise their sporting activities separately. The inclusion of different races in the same team would therefore be contrary to established and accepted custom.

The South African Sports Association claimed that the Minister did not issue an express order that the Cricket Association should exclude non-white players, so the while cricketing body must take responsibility for their restrictive membership policy, Questioned in Parliament, Mr. Naude repeated the terms of Dr. Donges's earlier statement, but made it clear that visiting white teams would not be permitted to play non-whiles.

In February, 1962, the Minster of the Interior, Senator de Klerk, stated that as far back as 1956 his predecessor had explained that the policy of separate development expressed the South African custom that Whites and Non-Whites should organise their sporting activities separately; that there should be no inter-racial competitions within our borders; and that the mixing of races in teams to take part in competition within the Republic and abroad should be avoided. This is still the policy of the Government.

The Minister later amplified his statement, saying that the government could not approve the participation of mixed White and Non-White teams from the Republic in world sports competitions, nor would racially mixed teams from other countries be allowed into South Africa.

The Senator also indicated the government's policy on mixed race sport even more bluntly and warned sports administrators that, if this policy was not observed, the government might introduce a law to ban multi-racial sport.

In accordance with stated policy the South African Government has consistently refused passports to representatives of non-white sports bodies seeking to present their case to the international organisation controlling their sport. In March. 1959, on the eve of its departure for the world championships, a non-white table tennis team had its passports seized.

In recent years the South African Government has borne down heavily upon individuals and organisations which encourage sports activities considered to be out of keeping with local conventions. In 1960 the homes of the leading officers of the South African Sports Association were raided and its files and records removed by the police, Mr. Dennis Brutus, the Sports Association's honorary secretary and moving spirit, was placed under hopelessly crippling restrictions.

He was banned from teaching and journalism by which he earned his living; he could not attend social or political gatherings: he could not be quoted in South Africa; he could not leave the magisterial district of Johannesburg even to visit his family in Port Elizabeth; and he had to report weekly to the police.

In September, 1963, while waiting trial for an alleged infringement of the ban on attending meetings, Brutus left South Africa, and in an attempt to reach Baden Baden to plead the case of nonwhite athletes before the International Olympic Committee was captured by Portuguese security police and returned to South Africa. He was shot and seriously injured by the police in Johannesburg white allegedly trying to escape.

Shooting Club: Rife Rifling

shooting club

You may know the University has a shooting club—you may even know they have two. As a guide to the differences between the two clubs, as a guide to shooting as a sport, Michael Birch, of .303 Rifles Club and Miniature Rifles Club has written the following article.

At Victoria two types of target shooting are catered tor: smallbore, or miniature rifles: and fullbore, or .303 rifles.

The term "miniature" is somewhat misleading, since smallbore rifles weigh up to 16 pounds. This heavy weight makes the rifle less susceptible to wobbles, and also reduces the recoil. "Miniature" actually refers to the bullet, the well-known .22 calibre. Naturally enough, .303 rifles use .303 calibre bullets.

303 rifles are fired out-of-doors— locally, on the Army's range out at Trentham. Nearly all the shooters are men, and this leads to the average outdoor shooter being a somewhat more Crumpian character than his indoor counterpart. Miniature rifles are fired on an indoor 25-yard range, with many women participants, and the sport is more socially orientated. Of course, some schizophrenic types do both kinds of shooting!

The smallbore target has a bullseye only [unclear: lin] diameter. The .303 bull is 7 inches in diameter at 300 yards. 15 inches at 500 and 600 yards, and 30 inches at 800 and 900 yards. On an average day at Trentham, the wind (which is never constant) may deflect the bullet up to 5 or 6 minutes of angle. The longer the range, the greater the deviation, and at 900 yards on a windy day the bullet may be blown up to two or three yards off target. Learning to correct the sights on the rifle for varying winds is one of the fundamentals of .303 shooting.

Indoors, of course, there are no problems of varying conditions, and it becomes a matter of aiming in exactly the same manner for each shot. All misses become the fault of the shooter directly, and cannot be blamed on a capricious breeze.

Rifle shooting calls for concentration ton each and every shot), determination (to improve one's technique and hence scores), and judgment (as to whether the sights are set correctly, etc). These things come with practice, and are in themselves worthwhile rewards.

The Victoria shooting clubs are quite strong, both numerically and in ability. At last Easter tournament the .303 team took second place and nearly defeated Canterbury. Two members of the team shot for NZU against a provincial side, while the other four shot for North Island against South Island. The Miniature Rifles team that competed in last year's Winter Tournament did equally as well— second to Canterbury once again.

Anyone who is now convinced that shooting is the sport for him/ her, etc. should garb themselves in ancient raiment, and will be made welcome at the basement of the Winter Show Building on Monday nights at 7.30

First Round Hockey

This year, the Men's Hockey Club acquired a greater number of newcomers than ever before— and their standard of play is encouragingly high. Last year there were four teams, this year six.

The senior team, Wellington champions for the past three years, has been toppled from the top position this year and now lies third. However, the season is comparatively young, and determination to get Co the top again is growing.

The team lost three Wellington reps, from the side last year, C. Wallis, P. Byers, R. Gibson, but R. Kendricks, R. Grant, and R. Gray are filling the positions well this year. The team has been extremely unfortunate in losing some close but vital games. The experience and the talent is there, but this will have to show itself much more forcibly in future. Played 7, won 5, lost 2.

There are two teams in the Senior Reserve Grade, one in each division. The team in Division One, consisting of more experienced players on the whole, started the season badly, but is now starting to pick up.

Unfortunately there has been some swapping of players in the club, and this team and especially the second grade teams have suffered as a result. However, this is inevitable. Played 7, drawn 1, lost 6.

The team in Division Two is comprised almost completely of new players. The enthusiasm and talent they bring with them has made this an extremely strong team which la now leading the competition by three points. With a continued effort they could well win this grade. Played 7, won 5, drawn 2.

There are three teams in the Second Grade. One of the most unfortunate aspects of these teams is that some players are not fulfilling their obligations to the club and the other players by not being readily available to play each Saturday.

Nevertheless, a spirit of enthusiasm continues, and the standard this year is higher than previous years. Indeed, enthusiasm among the players is remarkable, because on a recent Saturday two of the teams travelled out to Strand Park at Lower Hutt merely to find that they could not play because the grounds had not been marked out.

Let us hope their enthusiasm overrides this disappointment!

Div 1: Played 7, won 4, lost 2, drawn 1.

Div 2: "A" team—Played 6, won 3, lost 2, drawn 1.

Div 2: "B" team—Played 6, won 0, lose 6.

On the whole, the season has begun well for the club, and with most second round games on the way, we could see some changes— for better or for worse.—C. J. Milne.