Soccer & the Apartheid regime
Soccer in South Africa dates back to the 1860s, when the British soldiers would play matches against the civil servants; this was then taken to the townships of Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Pretoria, and was usually played by barefoot children that were below the poverty line.
Due to the apartheid none of our players were allowed to play international games and the whites only South African Football Association was founded in 1892, while the black leagues were founded in 1920. In 1935 the first official interracial tournament was launched.
Soccer was a means for blacks in impoverished and unauthorized urban settlements to build their communities, develop their own heroes and break down ethnic barriers.
Some of the great, predominantly black teams now playing in the Premier Soccer League and have remarkable histories dating back to their humble pre-apartheid origins. The Orlando Pirates were founded in 1937, the Moroka Swallows in 1947.
A group of breakaway Orlando Pirates formed the Kaizer Chiefs in 1970, and those two clubs, each drawing fans from the huge black township of Soweto, have developed one of the fiercest rivalries in the sport.
It was all about invention, innovation and the love of the game and the free flowing daring style of the township games was unique and very powerful. For many soccer fans the township games meant freedom and if you were good enough you were honoured with a nickname, if you didn’t have one, you might as well not be on the field.
So lets remember these stars – Keith Broad ‘Ace’ Ntsoelengoe , ‘Teenage’ Dladla, ‘Masterpieces’, ‘Let Them Dance’, and ‘Computer’ Lamola — also known as ‘The General’.