The Natal Inter-Race Soccer Tournament (1946-1960) and race identities in KwaZulu-Natal.
Ngidi, Mphumeleli A
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This article focuses on the Natal Inter-Race Soccer Tournament, a littleknown but popular tournament which was held under the auspices of the Natal-Inter-Race Soccer Board (NISB) between 1946 and 1960. Coloured, Indian and African teams participated in this competition which was staged at an important time in “race” relations in the province of Natal. This was a period of growing tension “on the ground” between Indians and Africans as they came into competition over housing and jobs in urban centres, but it was also a period of political co-operation across racial lines amongst the middle classes mainly through alliances between bodies such as the Natal Indian Congress (NIC) and African National Congress (ANC). This article provides a narrative history of the tournament and, as such, makes an important contribution to the historiography of soccer in South Africa. The article also provides a glimpse into Afro-Indian relations during the middle decades of the twentieth century. None of the major works on South African sporting history focus in any significant way on this tournament. This article discusses some of the outstanding players and administrators, playing styles, scores of matches, and reflects on the importance of sport as a source of power and patronage for Black administrators, which accounts for the reluctance of some to embrace non-racialism when it was mooted in the 1960s.