Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Destruction of Non-Racial Sport - Dr Basil Brown

NAHECS:Sport and Liberation Conference, East London 14-16 October 2005
Dr Basil Brown

The “new democracy “that came into being in South Africa in 1994 came about as the result of a Negotiated Settlement between the ruling National Party Government under the leadership of FW de Klerk on the one hand and the ANC led Alliance on the other. This process was overseen by US, Britain and the USSR.
The Negotiation process began in the early eighties with overtures first being made to Nelson Mandela while he was imprisoned on Robben Island. Although the negotiations proper only commenced after Nelson Mandela had been released from prison and the ANC, PAC and SACP unbanned in 1990, the ground work for setting up the negotiated settlement had begun to be laid much earlier. The chief “honest broker” in kick starting the process was the Institute for Democratic Alternatives in South Africa (IDASA) who set up meetings between various role players and interest groups from within South Africa and the ANC leadership in exile. Amongst the role players considered to be important in this process was the Sports fraternity. IDASA set up a landmark meeting in Dakar, Senegal in July 1987 which for all practical purposes may be taken as the beginning of the Negotiated Settlement.

The reason why sport became a part of the negotiated settlement is easy to understand. The white minority, especially the Afrikaner section for whom sport was like a religion, had been deprived of international sporting contacts as the result, firstly, of being expelled from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1969 and secondly, because of a United Nations and Commonwealth supported Sports boycott imposed in 1977 which had a debilitating and demoralising effect on them.
As negotiations proceeded and agreement was being reached on the terms of the Settlement, one of the key concessions, that the ANC needed to make, was to guarantee that the Sport moratorium would be lifted and that South Africa would be re-admitted to the IOC and other international sports federations, in order to allay the fears of Whites that they were not getting much in exchange for agreeing to hand over political power to the Bla