Professor Ashwin Desai
University of Johannesburg
Ashwin Desai is Professor of Sociology and Director pf the Centre for Sociological Research and Practice 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.
Dressed in White: Writing Cricket in Post-apartheid South Africa
A plethora of books have been published that chronicle South Africa’s entry into international cricket in the 1990s and sport in general. Many of them have taken the form of autobiographies. Seminal in this regard are those by cricket administrators, such as Ali Bacher and Samba Ramsamy, as well as national cricketers that include Allan Donald, Fanie de Villiers and Herschelle Gibbs, and coaches, most notably the writings of Bob Woolmer and Mickey Arthur. Journalists and academics have also penned their own perspectives of this period in cricketing history. This paper seeks to offer a critical reading of these works, in particular focusing on their predominant narrative; the normalisation of whiteness, the sometimes concealed but often blatant alibi that these authors provide for apartheid sport, and the persistently, when not ignoring Black cricket history, exceptionalising it.