Book Launch

April 10, 2017
11:45  -  12:30


Cricket and Conquest, Volume 1: 1795-1914

Andre Odendaal, Chandan K. Reddy, C. Merrett, J. Winch

The first of its kind for any sport in South Africa. A cricket love story of epic dimensions with details which will blow readers away. Cricket and Conquest goes back to the beginnings 221 years ago and fundamentally revises long-established foundational narratives of early South African cricket. It reaches beyond old whites-only mainstream histories to integrate at every stage and in every region the experiences of black and women cricketers. A purely British military game at first, cricket accompanied the process of colonial conquest every step of the way in the nineteenth century. This book and its companion volumes explains how racism came to be built into the very fabric of cricket’s ‘culture’ and ‘traditions’, and how it was uncannily tied to the broader historical processes that shaped South Africa. The unique experiences of our different cricket communities are described in ways that have not been done before. The exhaustive research and inter-connections highlighted here makes this a completely new general history of South African cricket.

André Odendaal, the lead writer and project co-ordinator of the book Cricket and Conquest: The History of South African Cricket Retold: Volume 1, 1795–1914 and the three accompanying volumes, is an honorary professor in history and heritage studies at the University of the Western Cape. After graduating with a PhD in history from Cambridge University, he taught at UWC and was founding director of both the Mayibuye Centre for History and Culture in South Africa at UWC and the Robben Island Museum, the first heritage institution of the new South African democracy.  (

Reverse Sweep
A Story of post-apartheid South African Cricket

Jacana Media

A brutal and brilliant analysis of transformation in cricket since the late apartheid years.’

‘If you are looking for a scholarly and hard-hitting analysis of South African cricket, its triumphs, its tragedies and its tumultuous path to the new democratic dispensation, you could do no better than to read this book.’

The events leading up to the unification of black and white cricket in South Africa have become the stuff of legend. This book returns to those tumultuous times of the early 1990s. Reverse Sweep: A Story of South African Cricket Since Apartheid brilliantly shows how the broader political context intervenes in the Mike Gatting rogue tour, mainly through the imminent release of Nelson Mandela, nudging pro- and anti-tour groups to the negotiating table. From that moment on, the book takes the reader on a mesmerising journey through the unification process, the excitement of international cricket and the convolutions of transformation speak. Its originality and power derives from the deft skill of the author to stitch the padding in the country’s Long Rooms, the changing of the guard from Bacher to Majola and events beyond the boundary into a riveting story that runs counter to the dominant narrative. This, though, is not just a story about the intricacies of sport and politics – it is also a memoir of a love for the game that takes you from the broken matting wickets of Springfield grounds, to the non-white corral at Kingsmead, to the weighty matters of the changing nature of the game, all the time challenging existing ways of writing the game.

Ashwin Desai is Professor of Sociology at the University of Johannesburg. He has written extensively on sport, co-writing Black in Whites: A Century of Cricketing Struggles in KwaZulu-Natal and the edited collection The Race to Transform: Sport in Post-apartheid South Africa. Among his other books are Reading Revolution: Shakespeare on Robben Island.

Session Category :  Book Launch  Session