Christian Høgsbjerg
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‘Don’t play with apartheid’
Anti-racist solidarity in Britain with South African sports
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The success of the Stop the Seventy Tour Committee (STST) in halting the 1970 tour of England by a white South African cricket team represented a remarkable victory over racism in general and the apartheid nature of South African sport in particular.  The STST had formed in 1969 and was the catalyst helping to generate an inspiring mass grassroots movement of international solidarity which included mass non-violent civil disobedience and militant direct action on a scale in the world of sport previously unseen in Britain. Focused mainly on the protests against the South African rugby union tour, it was a campaign in defiance of police brutality and violent racist intimidation which involved over 50,000 people.  The question of apartheid South Africa had helped politicise and radicalise a generation of young activists in Britain. These young activists then, in turn, amid the wider revolutionary tumult of ’68 and workers and student protest internationally, helped transform a campaign based on a strategy of ‘respectability’ and appeals to ideas of ‘fair play’ by elite figures in the world of British politics, sport and civil society into a mass grassroots movement that inspired further anti-apartheid activism internationally. This chapter recovers some of what David Featherstone has called ‘the hidden histories and geographies of internationalism’ in relation to the campaigns around the politics of South African sport in 1960s Britain to situate the interconnections between these and wider radical activism in this tumultuous period.

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