Home » The Level Playing Field: How the Aurora Cricket Club Stumped Apartheid by MR Chris Nicholson
The Level Playing Field: How the Aurora Cricket Club Stumped Apartheid MR Chris Nicholson

The Level Playing Field: How the Aurora Cricket Club Stumped Apartheid

MR Chris Nicholson

Published August 6th 2015
ISBN : 9781515382225
Paperback
216 pages
Enter the sum

 About the Book 

On the 13th October 1973 a dozen South African Security Branch policemen descended on a cricket match being played in defiance of a Group Areas Act proclamation issued to ban it. This amendment to a cornerstone of the apartheid system was the lastMoreOn the 13th October 1973 a dozen South African Security Branch policemen descended on a cricket match being played in defiance of a Group Areas Act proclamation issued to ban it. This amendment to a cornerstone of the apartheid system was the last act of a five month campaign of intimidation and threats by the National Party government to prevent Pietermaritzburgs Aurora Cricket Club initiating multi-racial league sport in South Africa. Before this, South African league sport had been strictly segregated by race, and only after Aurora had set the precedent by defying the forces of apartheid could South African sport start to move towards non-racialism. Authors Chris Nicholson and Mike Hickson have catalogued in humorous vein the teams battle with the Security Branch and the dramatic meeting with Sport Minister Piet Koornhof, who stigmatised the cricketers as sporting terrorists. Incidents that are high-lighted include persuading white cricketing authorities to show some courage in defying Apartheid and the ploy by two leading Natal white cricketers trying to dissuade the Aurora team by suggesting non-racial cricket along the lines of an Elvis Presley Fan Club. The authors also recount Auroras time in leagues organised under the banner of the non-racial South African Council on Sport, the role of Aurora in early township cricket development and the landmark Pietermaritzburg mass demonstration against the rebel international tour of Mike Gatting. The book illustrates how hierarchies of nation, race and class have limited access to a level playing field in sport in South Africa over the years. Although the initial ANC policy stigmatised the inadequate sporting facilities for blacks as one of the cruellest legacies of Apartheid, recent changes have benefitted only the upper reaches of sport, with an emphasis on high-performance centres. The rapid commercialisation of cricket in recent years has seen huge salaries being paid to officials and professional cricketers, while the grassroots players are neglected. So the battle for the level playing field is by no means over. The real challenge to apartheids racist sports laws was instigated by .. Pietermaritzburgs .. mixed race Aurora Cricket Club in 1973. The regimes sports minister, Dr Piet Koornhof, did everything possible to persuade them to abandon this project. However, the members persevered and triumphed. In this process, the hypocrisy of white sports administrators and its sportsmen was totally exposed. The book on the Aurora Cricket Club is a most interesting read in many ways. Besides exposing the machinations of the apartheid government and the excuses of its apologists, it explores the evolution of cricket with many interesting and inspiring anecdotes. Aurora confronted government stupidity and challenged the mindless orthodoxies and political correctness of the age. These are further compelling reasons why all South Africans, young and old, black and white should read this book. Sam Ramsamy Member - International Olympic Committee (IOC) Previously Chairman - South African Non-Racial Olympic Committee