Academic and popular studies of South African sport generally reveal a bias towards cricket and rugby and this perpetuates the myth that these games are the most popular in South Africa. This in turn is often viewed through the lens of 'race' in which the simplifications of sport along racial lines occur. This paper argues that football was more important in South Africa among all South Africans in the late 19th and early 20th century than has been previously acknowledged. It reveals that not only was the game important and popular in South Africa but its teams and administrators played a significant role in globalising the game during this period. Tours to and from South Africa were important politically, financially and for sporting reasons. Five ground breaking football tours took place during a ten year period and these serve as the basis of discussion in this paper.
Bibliographical noteThis is an electronic version of an article published in Bolsmann, Chris H. (2010). South African football tours at the turn of the Twentieth Century: amateurs, pioneers and profits. African Historical Review, 42 (1), pp. 97-112. African Historical Review is available online at: http://www.informaworld.com/openurl?genre=article&issn=1753-2523&volume=42&issue=1&spage=97
- South African Football Association
- Corinthian Football Club
- Orange Free State football
- football tours