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Rhodesia Olympics


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Draft paper presented to the Politics of Sport in Africa conference at Ohio University (2010). Sequel to former published article (2006). Incomplete; please do not cite or quote without permission. Direct any comments to Thanks!

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Rhodesia Olympics

  1. 1. DRAFT Sport, Society, and the Olympic Games in Rhodesia: Domestic and International Responses Andrew Novak, Esq.∗ From Mexico City to Munich: A Prologue Facing a boycott slated to envelop much of the post-colonial world, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) chose to exclude the Republic of South Africa from competing at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, lest it risk collapse of an already politically fragile Games.1 The relatively new African bloc of national Olympic committees was steadfastly opposed; increasing support from the Soviet bloc tipped the scale against South Africa, handing the African bloc its first political victory at the highest levels.2 Within a decade after the installation of de jure apartheid in 1948, South Africa had done the unthinkable, extending apartheid to the playing field so that black athletes could not compete with or against white athletes or represent South Africa abroad.3 As newly independent African nations voiced opposition to South African participation in international sport, many sport federations and games organizers began to exclude whites-only South African teams from competition.4 However, as in cricket and rugby, African efforts to persuade the IOC to expel South Africa initially faced resistance from the 75-year-old body, which had never permanently expelled a country from the Olympics solely for political reasons. According to the opponents of South African Olympic participation, however, expelling South Africa was about condemning racial discrimination in sports, not about delegitimizing an apartheid regime.5 The IOC came to agree and, to the great relief of the Mexico City Games organizers and the Labour Government of British Prime Minister Harold Wilson, South Africa was ∗ Andrew Novak is currently an attorney-advisor to the Hon. Pamela Lakes Wood, administrative law judge, U.S. Department of Labor. He is licensed to practice law in New York. He holds a B.A. in international affairs from George Washington University, an M.Sc. in African Politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies, and a J.D. from Boston University School of Law. He can be contacted at 1 The Mexico City Games were heavily criticized before their opening for their late preparations, the treatment of political opponents, and the high altitude. Claire and Keith Brewster, “Mexico City 1968: Sombreros and Skyscrapers,” in National Identity and Global Sports Events: Culture, Politics, and Spectacle in the Olympics and the Football World Cup, Alan Tomlinson, Christopher Young, eds. (Albany: SUNY Press, 2006), p. 101-103, 110-111. 2 Barrie Houlihan, Sport and International Politics (New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1994), p. 117 (noting consequences of Soviet bloc support of the South African boycott). 3 For an overview of the laws that crystallized this racial separation, see Grant Jarvie and Irene Reid, “Sport in South Africa,” in The International Politics of Sport in the Twentieth Century, Jim Riordan and Arnd Krieger, eds. (New York: Routledge, 1999), p. 238-239 (describing the legal implications of apartheid laws); see also, William J. Baker, “Political Games: The Meaning of International Sport for Independent Africa,” in Sport in Africa: Essays in Social History, J.A. Mangan, ed. (New York: Africana Publishing, 1987), p. 284. 4 For an overview of South African sporting isolation, see Richard E. Lapchick, The Politics of Race and International Sport: The Case of South Africa (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1975). For analyses of South Africa’s relationship with the IOC, see Sasha Soldatow, Politics of the Olympics (North Ride, Australia: Cassell, 1980), p. 124-140. 5 The International Olympic Committee had excluded South Africa from competition in Tokyo in 1964 unless South Africa could show that it had made progress toward ending racial discrimination. “Olympics Rebuff South Africans: Tokyo Invitation Withdrawn Because of Racial Bias,” The New York Times (Jan. 28, 1964). Opposition groups, including the South African Sports Association, the South African Non-Racial Olympic Committee, and the Supreme Council for Sport in Africa tended to focus on racial issues and not the legitimacy of apartheid as a political system. When South Africa was expelled from the Olympics, it was on the basis of racial discrimination. Ramadan Ali, Africa At the Olympics (London: Africa Books, 1976), p. 40-53.
  2. 2. expelled by a lopsided vote in April 1968.6 Soon after South Africa's exclusion from Mexico City, Rhodesia, a white settler-ruled country in south-central Africa, became the new target of the increasingly powerful African bloc.7 After successfully competing in the 1960 Rome and the 1964 Tokyo Games, the white settlers of the British colony of Southern Rhodesia unilaterally seceded from the British Empire in 1965 and became diplomatically isolated as a result.8 The architect of unilateral declaration of independence (UDI) was Prime Minister Ian Smith, the head of the powerful Rhodesian Front party. Mandatory United Nations sanctions stood between Rhodesian athletes and international sporting competition, and Mexico City Games organizers began to panic that they would run afoul of UN sanctions if Rhodesia competed.9 Under British pressure to exclude Rhodesia, Mexico City organizers were able to exclude Rhodesia on technical grounds rather than spark a media frenzy as had occurred over South Africa.10 Mexican officials sent the Rhodesian team press passes but not Olympic identity cards; they implicitly threatened the landing credentials of the airline carrying the Rhodesian team; and they made clear that Rhodesian passports were embargoed.11 Despite protests from the International Olympic Committee, especially its longtime president and former American Olympian Avery Brundage, Mexico City organizers and government officials successfully forced the Rhodesian team to withdraw without a major public relations disaster.12 The exclusion of the Rhodesian Olympic team from Mexico City virtually ensured that an invitation to the 1972 Munich Olympics in West Germany would be explosive. The International Olympic Committee, founded in 1894, strenuously objected to the intrusion of politics in the Olympic Games. Political sentiment, like commercialism, big media, and professionalism in sport threatened the neutral, peaceful myth of amateur sporting competition that the IOC had long defended.13 The IOC sought absolute assurances from West German organizers that all teams would be invited, and threatened to expel any national Olympic committee that boycotted the Games for political reasons.14 Politics and sport must be kept strictly separated, the IOC warned. At the IOC meeting in Luxembourg in 1971, the IOC brokered a compromise to allow Rhodesia to compete in a time warp: it would 6 Baker, op. cit., p. 286; Houlihan, op. cit., p. 117-118. 7 For more on the Rhodesian Olympic team, see Andrew Novak, “Rhodesia’s ‘Rebel and Racist’ Olympic Team: Athletic Glory, National Legitimacy, and the Clash of Politics and Sport,” International Journal of the History of Sport, Vol. 23, No. 8 (2006), p. 1369, et. seq. (hereinafter Novak, “Rhodesian Olympic Team”). 8 For an analysis of the unilateral declaration of independence and the international response, see Robert Good, UDI: The International Politics of Rhodesian Rebellion (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1973), p. 15-28, 251-256. 9 The correspondence between British officials in Mexico City and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London detail this panic. See especially the contents of FCO 36/318 (Rhodesian Participation in International Sporting Events), British National Archives. Mexican officials did not get full British cooperation, and so continued to stonewall by deliberately misplacing documents. 10 A letter from IOC President Avery Brundage to Pedro Vazquez, the chairman of the Mexico City organizing committee, sums up this fear: “You are well aware of the tremendous difficulty in handling the South African situation to save the Games of the XIX Olympiad. I fear that should another controversy arises [sic.], it would be impossible to repeat the miracle.” Letter, Brundage to Vazquez, June 11, 1968, Avery Brundage Papers. 11 Charles Little, Preventing ‘A Wonderful Break-Through For Rhodesia’: The British Government and the Exclusion of Rhodesia from the 1968 Mexico Olympics,” Olympika, Vol. 14 (2005), p. 60 (on losing the paperwork in the mail and disrupting communications); Harry Strack, Sanctions: The Case of Rhodesia (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1978), p. 226 (on the flight and landing credentials). 12 For more on Brundage’s opposition to the South African and Rhodesian expulsions, see Allen Guttmann, The Games Must Go On: Avery Brundage and the Olympic Movement (New York: Columbia University Press, 1984), p. 232-255. Brundage threatened to expel the Mexican Olympic Committee because it had infused politics and sport by making the political decision to keep Rhodesia out. Letter, Brundage to Pedro Vazuez, July 31, 1968. Avery Brundage Papers. 13 For an overview of the political involvement of the IOC, see Christopher Hill, Olympic Politics (New York: Manchester University Press, 1992), p. 31-33; Richard Espy, The Politics of the Olympic Games (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981), p. 163-173 (explaining and critiquing the belief that the Olympics were above politics). 14 IOC Executive Board Meeting Minutes, August 18, 1972, p. 3. IOC Documentation Centre.
  3. 3. compete as the British colony of Southern Rhodesia (RHS), as it had in Tokyo in 1964; on the medal stand, “God Save the Queen” would play as the national anthem under the pre-UDI flag incorporating a Union Jack.15 The so-called “Tokyo conditions” created a firestorm in domestic Rhodesian politics because accepting the conditions essentially meant symbolically undoing Rhodesian UDI on a highly public stage.16 Despite the strings attached to the invitation, and to the surprise of most observers, Rhodesia accepted. Condemnation of the Luxembourg agreement came from the United Nations General Assembly and the Organization of African Unity.17 If Rhodesia attended, they warned, a boycott could result. Several factors guaranteed that Rhodesia’s invitation would create a diplomatic crisis. First, the West German government was much more divided as to whether Rhodesia should be allowed to compete than the Mexican government was.18 The interior ministry in particular defended the commitment to the IOC that all teams must be invited to the Games.19 Second, the Munich organizing committee was much less resistant to political pressure than the Mexico City organizing committee had been. The IOC found a devout disciple of the Olympic myth in the person of Willi Daume, the chairman of the Munich organizing committee.20 Daume warned the West German government that if they kept out the Rhodesian team, he would dissolve the organizing committee and cancel the Munich Games.21 This was a serious threat. West Germany had fought hard to host a postwar Games and undo the damage wrought with the last German Olympiad, the so-called “Nazi Olympics,” held in Berlin, 1936. Third, West Germany was not a member of the United Nations in 1972; it would not join until 1973. As a result, it was not formally bound, as Mexico had been, to comply with mandatory United Nations sanctions on Rhodesia and did not have the same legal obligation to exclude international sports teams.22 As the Munich Games grew closer, the prospect grew that Rhodesia would compete after all. Perhaps the most decisive difference between the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City and 1972 in Munich was that the international political environment had changed. In particular, the Labour Government of Britain under Prime Minister Harold Wilson, which had so strenuously objected to 15 Strack, op. cit., p. 228 (listing the Tokyo conditions). Mexico City organizers had originally devised the idea as a way to prevent Rhodesian participation. Letter, G.W. Harding to D.J. Swan, 3 May 1968, FCO 25/549 (Sport 1968), British National Archives. See also, Telegram Hope to London, 12 June 1968, FCO 36/318 (Rhodesian Participation in International Sporting Events), British National Archives. Both of these documents show that Mexico City had considered enforcing the Tokyo conditions even before the Luxembourg agreement was brokered. 16 The Rhodesian Financial Gazette, a conservative-leaning newspaper in the country, was especially hostile to the Tokyo conditions. See Editorial, Rhodesian Financial Gazette, Sept. 17, 1971. 17 UN General Assembly Resolution 2796 (December 1971). Kurt Waldheim, UN Secretary General, informed the West German government that admitting Rhodesia would violate UN sanctions. Dean McHenry, “The Use of Sports in Policy Implementation: The Case of Tanzania,” Journal of Modern African Studies, Vol. 18, No. 2 (1980), p. 246. The Secretary- General of the Organization of African Unity opposed Rhodesian participation at Munich, and lobbied African governments to that end. See Telegram, Henderson to British Embassies, undated, FCO 36/1297 (Participation of Rhodesia in Olympic Games in Munich 1972), British National Archives. 18 “West Germans Differ over Rhodesia and the Olympics,” Bulawayo Chronicle (21 July, 1972), p. 1. 19 Ibid. 20 Daume continually deferred to the wishes of the IOC on Rhodesia and emphasized that the organizing committee would comply with whatever the IOC decided on Rhodesia. See IOC Meeting Minutes, August 21-24, 1972, p. 8-18. IOC Documentation Centre. Daume’s personal views are reflected in a telegram from the British Embassy in Bonn to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London. Daume “had consistently helped to build up the popular belief that Olympic universality is somehow non-political, and the vote against Rhodesia therefore shattered a non-political ideal which the German public had, perhaps naively, come to regard as an integral part of the Olympic package.” Telegram, Aug. 24, 1972, PREM 15/1220 (1971-72 Sport), FCO Records, British National Archives. 21 Letter, J.D. Campbell to Goring-Morris, 26 May 1971, FCO 36/982, British National Archives. 22 Informally, Rhodesia tended to comply with the sanctions, although it continued to trade under contracts that predated UDI. Guy Arnold and Alan Baldwin, “Rhodesia: Token Sanctions or Total Economic Warfare,” in The Rhodesian Problem: A Documentary Record, 1923-1973, Elaine Windrich, ed. (New York: Routledge, 1975), p. 273.
  4. 4. Rhodesia’s presence in Mexico City and colluded with Mexican government officials to deny Rhodesian passports and documentation, had fallen.23 Wilson was replaced by the Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath, who pursued a very different Rhodesia policy. Instead of lobbying for Rhodesia’s exclusion from Munich, Prime Minister Heath did his best to prevent a boycott, and British embassy officials throughout Africa attempted to persuade African political leaders to allow Rhodesia to compete.24 Britain even considered giving all Rhodesian team members British passports to allow them to travel without problems since Rhodesia was, after all, a British colony.25 But with Britain’s abdication from the boycott movement, the African continent stepped up. As the summer of 1972 wore on, African Olympic teams began defecting from the Games until the continent was almost unanimous in its threat to boycott. The old order on the IOC stood firm, but for the first time, and by a close vote, they lost.26 When forced to choose between the Munich Games and the Rhodesian team, the IOC voted to exclude Rhodesia four days before the opening ceremonies. This paper is about the international response from Britain, the African continent, and West German Games organizers to Rhodesia’s invitation to the Munich Olympics. The threatened boycott of Rhodesia held the African bloc together after South Africa’s expulsion from the Games, the high water mark of African unity. In 1976, the African continent did walk out of the Montreal Olympics in protest of New Zealand’s presence, the most flagrant violator of sport sanctions on South Africa.27 It was the last time the African Olympic bloc would stand together. The boycotts of Moscow in 1980 and Los Angeles in 1984 split Africa down the middle. However, the 1976 boycott may not have been a complete failure in the long run. One country did take the African threat seriously. Canada in particular was stung by a boycott not only of the 1976 Montreal Olympics, but the Toronto Paralympics as well, where South Africa’s presence had sparked a walk-out.28 Canadian pressure on other Commonwealth heads of government in order to prevent an African boycott of the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Edmonton, Alberta led to the drafting of the Gleneagles Agreement, which would result in the exclusion of South Africa from international cricket and rugby.29 By standing firm, boycotting African nations were eventually successful at their ultimate goal. This paper proceeds in four parts. First, I theorize about sport in white settler societies in general and Rhodesia in particular. Sport was a means of social control by the white settler community, but it was also a means of social protest by the indigenous black populations. Second, I analyze the often-repeated claim that sport in Rhodesia was not as racially segregated as sport in South Africa. Racial segregation, and not the political isolation of Rhodesia’s illegal regime, proved to be the ultimate ground on which Rhodesia was expelled from the Olympic Movement. Third, I discuss international and domestic responses to the Rhodesian invitation to Munich. Relying on the records of 23 For more on the Labour government’s attempts to exclude Rhodesia from Mexico City, see Little, “1968 Mexico Olympics,” op. cit., p. 47-68. Little gives an excellent analysis of the Mexico City situation, but the ramifications of the fall of Wilson’s government in 1970 are outside the scope of his article. 24 See Novak, “Rhodesian Olympic Team,” op. cit., p. 1379. I originally drew this conclusion after seeing documents in the British National Archives. See infra for a more detailed analysis of these documents. 25 Letter, Byatt to Le Quesne, 21 August 1972, FCO 36/1297 (Participation of Rhodesia in Olympic Games in Munich in 1972), British National Archives (weighing pros and cons of allowing the Rhodesian team to travel on British passports). 26 IOC Meeting Minutes, August 21-24, 1972, p. 8-18. IOC Documentation Centre. 27 Historians have not been kind to this boycott. See, e.g., John Goodbody, “Montreal Background,” in Olympic Report ’76, James Coote, ed. (Montreal: Select Press, 1976). Goodbody writes that the boycott was essentially without merit. See also the statement by the Vice-President of the IOC, Mohamed Mzali of Tunisia, describing the disappointment among the African team members. “Mr. Mzali: I am Sorry About the Boycott of the Montreal Olympic Games,” Olympic Review, No. 107-108 (Sept.-Oct. 1976), p. 463-465. 28 For the Paralympic boycott, see Andrew Novak, “Politics and the Paralympic Games: Disability Sport in Rhodesia- Zimbabwe,” Journal of Olympic History, Vol. 16, No. 1 (2008), p. 53-54. 29 Donald Macintosh, Donna Greenhorn, and David Black, “Canadian Diplomacy and the 1978 Edmonton Commonwealth Games,” Journal of Sport History, Vol. 19, No. 1 (1992), p. 26-55; Donald Macintosh and Michael Hawes, Sport and Canadian Diplomacy (Buffalo: McGill-Queens University Press, 1994), p. 72-85.
  5. 5. the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the IOC Archives, and the Avery Brundage Papers, I chronicle the African boycott movement and British and IOC attempts to stymie it. I also discuss the reaction of the Rhodesian political establishment to compromising UDI and accepting the Luxembourg agreement. Finally, I place the Rhodesian boycott movement in its proper context: as both a contributor to and a consequence of South Africa’s isolation in international sport. Sport in Rhodesian Society: A Sphere of Social Control and Protest For the white community, sport was a means of social acculturation, allowing contact among relatively remote settlements and contributing to the creation of a unified white culture. The formation of an exclusionary white settler identity was essential to maintaining dominance and control over a much larger population. Kennedy, in his comparative study of white settlers in Kenya and Rhodesia, writes that the power to shape social identity so as to define distinctions between the settler population and the subject population was crucial to their status.30 “Settler culture” was characterized by a refusal to adapt to the host environment and an avoidance of contact and interchange with the indigenous population. While white settler populations in general had enormous power relative to their size, bordering on monopoly control, “settler culture” was often more insecure than it was confident and more anxious than arrogant.31 The diverse origins and class status of white settlers were deemphasized in favor of a mythical, hegemonic, unitary white community. Rhodesian society was also very transient; the yearly turnover of the white population was among the highest in Western societies.32 The transience and underlying heterogeneity of the whites provided strong motive for the manufacture of a Rhodesian identity. The social distance between whites and black Africans insulated the white community from the realities of the black African existence. Sport became part of the white “myth,” one tied to the pioneers and heroes of Rhodesian history and to Cecil Rhodes himself, the godfather of the country, who bequeathed much of the country’s symbolism and self-identity. Sport was both an opportunity for often rural and isolated white settlers to engage in a social activity, and a means by which white settlers could begin to form their own communal identities and allegiances. A sports jersey tagged “Southern Rhodesia” helped to give some content to a Southern Rhodesian identity, separate from British and South African identities. Like “other colonial societies, which used sporting achievements to define and enhance their national self-esteem, the Rhodesians deified their heroes and relied upon their national teams to restore or sustain national morale.”33 This was particularly true of rugby and cricket in the 1970s given their overwhelming popularity and the isolation of Rhodesia in other sports. In 1972, cricket star Mike Proctor outpolled Prime Minister Ian Smith for “Rhodesian of the Year.”34 Sport figured prominently in the white settler history of Southern Rhodesia. The personality of Cecil Rhodes was central to the history of white sports in the territory; Rhodes himself was an avid sportsman and several of the earliest pioneers took part in the organization of early Rhodesian sport. Sir William Milton, the South African cricket player and sponsor, accompanied Rhodes to Rhodesia and became administrator of Southern Rhodesia.35 Tanser recalls that the first “pioneers” from South 30 Dane Kennedy, Islands of White: Settler Society and Culture in Kenya and Southern Rhodesia, 1890-1939 (Durham: Duke University Press, 1987), p. 189. 31 Ibid, p. 187-189. 32 Peter Godwin and Ian Hancock, ‘Rhodesians Never Die’: The Impact of War and Political Change on White Rhodesia, c. 1970-1980 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), p. 17. 33 Ibid, p. 38. 34 Ibid. 35 For an example of the hagiography, see J. de L. Thompson, The Story of Rhodesian Sport, 1889-1935 (Bulawayo: Books of Rhodesia, 1976), p. 8. For a critique of the hagiography, see Jonty Winch, Cricket’s Rich Heritage: A History of
  6. 6. Africa set up sporting facilities very shortly upon their arrival. Soon after the Pioneer Column reached Fort Salisbury, they erected a race course and played cricket in what would later become Cecil Square.36 By 1909, Hone could describe the numerous sports facilities in Salisbury and Bulawayo and write, “Sport in all its varied forms fills a very important part in the life of the people, and perhaps in no other country is so much enthusiasm shown for it.”37 As Hodder-Williams describes of Marandellas, Rhodesia (now Marondera, Zimbabwe), sport increased in popularity after the Second World War since the rationing of gasoline no longer constrained travel.38 Sport was inseparable from white settler identity and contributed to and reflected the social separation of white rulers from black subjects. In early Rhodesia, as in early white settler societies elsewhere in Africa, the first networks of sporting contacts among white settlers developed through “premodern” leisure sports such as hunting, riding, horse and dog racing, and shooting. These sports reflected a sense of class consciousness that developed in Britain. Describing white settlers in Kenya, Nicholls writes, “[t]he cheapness of servants opened to [settlers] many aristocratic pursuits such as polo, racing and hunting,” and indeed the prospect of a kind of social mobility unavailable to working and middle classes in Britain spurred white settlement to the colonies.39 Steinhart, writing of early colonial Kenya, notes that big game hunting by sportsmen was a popular leisure activity until about the First World War, connoting images of wealth and high class standing, a “sport of gentlemen who obeyed a civilized and humane set of rules of the game.”40 Following the war, hunting in Kenya became a tourist industry run by professional white settler hunters rather than a leisure activity for the aristocratic classes.41 Even hunting was a racialized sport. Strict game and gun laws in Kenya and Rhodesia denied black Africans the same hunting privileges, and consequently the same access to dietary sources and wildlife trade, that white settlers had.42 White settlers could be “hunters” while black Africans were “poachers.”43 Sports historians have long noted that these forms of leisure activities were agrarian in origin, strongly parochial, and exclusionary, and thus did not easily adjust to increasing urbanization and heavy industrialization, and the consequent breakdown of traditional class barriers.44 As in Europe half a century prior, modern sport in white settler societies began taking on modern characteristics of capitalist development, competition, team identity, and spectacle by the first two decades of the twentieth century. The diffusion of modern sport in Rhodesia was part of a process of sport globalization more generally, and tended to follow existing imperial networks such as missionary education, military conquest, trade, the activities of medical personnel, and, perhaps most importantly, European settlement. Reflecting on why soccer became the sport of the masses throughout the British Empire while cricket (and derivatively rugby) had more limited appeal, Guttmann argues that soccer peaked in Rhodesian and Zimbabwean Cricket, 1890-1982 (Bulawayo: Books of Zimbabwe, 1983), p. 1, et. seq. (hereinafter, “Winch, Cricket’s Rich Heritage”). For more on the initiatives of Sir William Milton in organizing the colony’s sports, see Jonty Winch, “There Were a Fine Manly Lot of Fellows: Cricket, Rugby and Rhodesian Society During William Milton’s Administration, 1896-1914,” Sport in History, Vol. 28, No. 4 (2008), p. 583-604 (hereinafter, “Winch, Sport in History”). 36 G.H. Tanser, The Guide to Rhodesia (Salisbury: Winchester Press, 1975), p. 313. 37 Percy Frederick Hone, Southern Rhodesia (London: George Bell and Sons, 1909), p. 21. 38 Richard Hodder-William, White Farmers in Rhodesia, 1890-1965: A History of the Marandellas District (London: MacMillan Press, 1983), p. 177. 39 C.S. Nicholls, Red Strangers: The White Tribe of Kenya (London: Timewell Press, 2005), p. 161. 40 E.I. Steinhart, “Hunters, Poachers and Gamekeepers: Towards a Social History of Hunting in Colonial Kenya,” Journal of African History, Vol. 30 (1989), p. 253. 41 Ibid, p. 254. 42 In any case, overhunting and rinderpest sharply depleted herds by 1900. John M. Mackenzie, “Hunting in East and Central Africa in the Late Nineteenth Century, with Special Reference to Zimbabwe,” in Sport in Africa: Essays in Social History, William Baker and James Mangan, eds. (London: Africana Publishing, 1987), p. 172. 43 Ibid, p. 189. 44 Robert T. Malcolmson, Popular Recreations in English Society, 1700-1850 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1973) p. 170-171.
  7. 7. conjunction with the height of the British Empire and thus was diffused most rapidly.45 Cricket had peaked too early. In South Africa, rugby was closely allied to Afrikaner domination, and it was consequently discouraged among black South Africans.46 Cricket in particular tended to be class- stratified, the sport of the colonial service, their collaborators and allies, and small pockets of well- connected colonial subjects.47 “The old boys from the public schools and Oxbridge who went out to the Empire took not only the games they played in school and college but also their obsession with the distinction between the gentleman amateur and the mercenary professional,” Perkin writes.48 Soccer, on the other hand, allowed professional athletes to play and quickly absorbed the working classes in Britain; those working classes became merchants and functionaries throughout the world.49 The divide between cricket and rugby as elite sports on the one hand and soccer, the sport of the masses, on the other, diffused to the Empire. Cricket and rugby were the most central components of white settler sport culture. As Winch writes, cricket and rugby drew the small and scattered white population of Southern Rhodesia together and provided a link with home.50 More importantly, the two sports “promoted imperial ideologies of the power of the British race and of masculinity expressed through sporting prowess.”51 Through the political efforts of Sir William Minton and other early Rhodesian administrators, cricket and rugby governance became highly structured and closely aligned to the settler state.52 Even by 1900, white dominance of the two sports was complete, and mixed race athletes who had participated on white teams in Cape Town were excluded from competition in Rhodesia and ignored by the white press.53 White cricket and rugby organizations would be absorbed into South African structures after World War One. The South African cricket and rugby associations governed their Rhodesian counterparts, and Rhodesian cricket and rugby teams became dependent on the Currie Cup competition annually in South Africa, especially during its period of international isolation.54 Perhaps the most famous Rhodesian sportsman was Colin Bland, who played cricket internationally for South Africa.55 While less prestigious, the domestic Logan Cup competition in cricket was instrumental in conditioning Rhodesian cricketers; the competition continues in modern Zimbabwe.56 While cricket and rugby remained important in wartime Rhodesia, the sports suffered as universal white male conscription depleted sporting ranks.57 The decline has continued, in part because of economic decline and political turmoil, and in part because unlike South Africa, colonial Zimbabwe never had a historically black African cricket and rugby culture.58 Modern sport in Rhodesia was about more than just play; it was also about power. Just as sport in white settler societies helped foster a sense of social belonging among whites by instilling a sense of common identity and friendship in an often lonely rural lifestyle, so too did it help to define a social distance between white Rhodesians and the black population. “Sport for whites—especially cricket— 45 Allen Guttmann, Games and Empires: Modern Sports and Cultural Imperialism (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994), p. 40. 46 David Black and John Nauright, Rugby and the South African Nation (New York: Manchester University Press, 1998), p. 60, et. seq. 47 Harold Perkin, “Teaching the Nations How to Play: Sport and Society in the British Empire and Commonwealth,” in The Cultural Bond: Sport, Empire, Society, James Mangan, ed. (London: Frank Cass, 1992), p. 217-218. 48 Ibid, 216. 49 Ibid. 50 Winch, Sport in History, op. cit., p. 583-584. 51 Ibid, p. 583. 52 Ibid, p. 590, 598, 601. 53 Ibid, p. 589. 54 Winch, Cricket’s Rich Heritage, op. cit., p. ii. 55 Ibid, 97. 56 Ibid, ii. 57 Godwin and Hancock, op. cit., p. 296 (cricket) and corresponding endnote 77 (rugby). 58 Winch, Sport in History, op. cit., p. 601-602.
  8. 8. had been a symbol of racial and national qualities; a ritual of affirmation at which Africans were mere spectators or adjuncts,” Ranger writes.59 Sport imported from Europe helped define the social boundary between white settlers and black populations. When black Africans began learning European sports and becoming quite good at them, more overt and stricter control was required to maintain racial distance through sport. Boxing, for instance, had originally spread organically through black urban populations in Southern Rhodesia and became enormously popular without direct European influence.60 Fearing that boxing was an aggressive and dirty sport, dangerously subversive of the colonial regime, municipal and provincial governments began taking over boxing leagues and competitions and rigorously enforcing rules of combat.61 By structuring forms of African sport, white settlers could maintain control over urban gatherings and, they believed, avoid riots, clan disputes, and political protest. Unlike boxing, the white government never completely captured the field of association football (soccer), long a sphere of autonomous black African control.62 As Giulianotti writes, legal restrictions on public meetings involving large groups of black Africans “had turned football into one of the few arenas in which Africans could gather legally in large numbers,” resulting inevitably in political dialogue.63 However, reflecting the incompleteness of white control, some African sports clubs accepted and recruited white players and officials. Football “provided a rare leisure space in which whites were permitted by an increasingly repressive security system to interact with Africans.”64 Stuart explains the unique historical reasons for the football anomaly. In 1948, when the Bulawayo City Council attempted to assert control over urban football leagues and competition, just as the Salisbury City Council had done ten years earlier with boxing, the black African population in the city boycotted municipality-organized soccer for two years.65 Eventually, the Council backed down. African- organized football developed a sophisticated structure and made important moves toward racial integration before and during the country’s brief entry into and exit from FIFA (1965-1971).66 By 1979 black African-organized football leagues had quit the white-run Football Association of Rhodesia and applied successfully to FIFA as the Zimbabwe Football Association.67 Just as sport could be a tool of social control by the white settlers over black urban-based populations, so too could it be turned around and used as a means of social protest. Racial Discrimination in Rhodesian Sport: A Working Hypothesis Black Rhodesian athletes had made tremendous progress in sport throughout the 1960s and 1970s in at least some contexts, notwithstanding the persistence of racial discrimination in sport. 59 Terence Ranger, “Pugilism and Pathology: African Boxing and the Black Urban Experience in Southern Rhodesia,” in Sport in Africa: Essays in Social History, William Baker and James Mangan, eds. (London: Africana Publishing, 1987), p. 196-197. 60 Ibid, p. 199 61 Ibid, p. 204-206. 62 For a comparison between soccer and boxing, see Preben Kaarsholm, “Si ye pambili, Which Way Forward? Urban Development, Culture, and Politics in Bulawayo,” in Sites of Struggle: Essays in Zimbabwe’s Urban History, Brian Raftopoulos and Tsuneo Yoshikuni, eds. (Harare: Weaver Press, 1999). 63 Richard Giulianotti, “Between Colonialism, Independence and Globalization: Football in Zimbabwe,” in Football in Africa: Conflict, Conciliation and Community, Gary Armstrong and Richard Giulianotti, eds. (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2004), p. 86. 64 Ibid, 87. 65 Ossie Stuart, “Players, Workers, Protestors: Social Change and Soccer in Colonial Zimbabwe,” in Sport, Identity and Ethnicity, Jeremy MacClancy, ed. (Herndon, VA: Berg, 1996), p. 172. 66 Giulianotti, op. cit., p. 85. 67 Ibid, p. 86-87.
  9. 9. Athletics in particular held promise for black athletes. But discrimination did exist. Badenhorst’s observation about sport for black Africans in Johannesburg applies equally well to Rhodesia: “like all attempts at domination, coercive or non-coercive, the process was never complete and never completely dualistic.”68 Racial discrimination existed in Rhodesian sport, just as it existed in Rhodesian life more generally, but it was never total and sport remained a site of contested control until Zimbabwe’s independence. Some observers have claimed racial discrimination did not exist at all in sport. According to Strack, sports were “a major example of multiracial cooperation in Rhodesia,” and different communities simply had different preferences as to which sports they would play.69 This understates the extent to which race did play a role. On the other hand, it is also not true that sport was rigidly segregated along South African lines, in which white athletes were forbidden by law from competing with or against black athletes.70 The sporting sphere in Rhodesia was a patchwork quilt. Some sports had always been and largely remained sites of black African autonomy; other sports were almost completely reserved for whites; and still other sports had parallel, segregated regimes, both in law and in practice. This section is an attempt to theorize these distinctions. The first observation is that sports requiring specialized equipment, facilities, coaching, or training tended to be dominated by the white settler community and had little black African participation. Although black African-controlled clubs did exist in golf, courses were not seen as priorities given the soft interest in the sport among the black African community generally and leading black African players often were unable to compete in major events.71 Non-white athletes also faced overt racial discrimination in field hockey. No integrated teams existed anywhere in the country in 1974 except at the University of Rhodesia.72 Two women’s field hockey players of mixed-race descent were denied a chance to compete for the national team because they were not white.73 Like golf and field hockey, tennis allowed some multi-racial competition, unlike South Africa, but this competition appears to have been rare.74 Disability and wheelchair sport was also generally reserved for white Rhodesians, and Rhodesia’s Paralympic teams in had always been composed only of white athletes.75 According to the International Olympic Committee’s investigative report prior to Rhodesia’s expulsion from the Olympics, shooting, badminton, and yachting were also generally restricted to white athletes.76 These sports required economic means to participate. The second observation is that where a Rhodesian sport was heavily intertwined with its South African partner, the sport’s leagues, competitions, and teams tended to be racially segregated. Cricket and rugby were the paradigmatic examples. Field hockey was another such sport, tending to follow South African rules for racial segregation on the playing field, especially when competition took place inside South Africa.77 For sports in which Rhodesia was excluded from international competition for either the illegality of its regime or for racial discrimination, these sports tended to become more dependent on South Africa for competition. This probably increased the pressure on Rhodesian sports 68 Cecile Badenhorst, “New Traditions, Old Struggles: Organized Sport for Johannesburg’s Africans, 1920-50,” Sport in Society, Vol. 6, No. 2, p. 139. 69 Harry Strack 70 Charles Little, “Rebellion, Race and Rhodesia: International Cricketing Relations with Rhodesia During UDI,” Sport in Society, Vol. 12, No. 4, p. 532. 71 Dorothy Keyworth Davies, Race Relations in Rhodesia: A Survey for 1972-73 (London: Rex Collings, 1975), p. 342-43. 72 IOC Investigating Report, 23 Oct. 1974. British Olympic Association Library. 73 Davies, op. cit., p. 343. 74 For more on Rhodesian competition in the Davis Cup, the premier men’s international tennis event, see Harry Strack, Sanctions: The Case of Rhodesia (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1978), p. 223-224. As Strack notes, Rhodesia remained eligible to compete in the Davis Cup because it did not violate federation rules as South Africa had (although Rhodesia would withdraw in the face of a threatened boycott). 75 Novak, “Paralympics,” op. cit., p. 47, et. seq. 76 IOC Investigating report, 23 Oct. 1974, British Olympic Association Library. 77 Davies, op. cit., p. 343.
  10. 10. federations to comply with South African racial controls. “Well into the 1970s,” Little writes, “Rhodesian teams competing in South Africa always deferred to ‘local custom’ by not including non- European players.”78 The third observation is that even where competition and organization of sports were multiracial, secondary discrimination still existed in robust form.79 As one official noted, “The world knows our soccer on the field is multi-racial,” but “off the field there is a colour-bar for players and officials in clubhouses, changing rooms, and hotels on the road.”80 Stands in sporting venues, for instance, were often segregated. One spectator of a multiracial tennis match noted that he had to sit in the “Non-European” section; organizers also moved white spectators out of section.81 The Bulawayo City Council refused to permit a proposed boxing tournament in City Hall because of the participation of black African athletes in violation of the racial restrictions in the Hall’s lease.82 Because of the importance of private clubs in organizing sport in Rhodesia, the decision of whether to permit multiracial membership was left to the club itself to determine. One sports club that permitted multiracial tennis on its courts did not allow non-white participants to become club members or to be guests at the club house.83 Another all-white soccer club even banned from the clubhouse the black president of the Rhodesian Football Association and the mixed-race wife of its own goalkeeper.84 Over time, some clubs did begin to integrate, especially in the field of athletics; one exclusively white club did open its doors to mixed-race and black athletes in the early 1970s.85 The government, for its part, refused to intervene in the rules of private sports clubs, and many remained exclusively white.86 However, where sports were not organized around private clubs, but by business interests in mining towns and among railroad employees, or by the University of Rhodesia and other integrated educational institutions, multiracial sport was more common.87 The fourth observation is that where sporting venues were segregated by other law, competition was segregated accordingly. This was true especially of swimming, where public pools were sharply segregated by the Land Tenure Act.88 The international swimming federation, FINA, expelled Rhodesia in 1973 because black Africans did not have the same opportunities as whites in competition, training, or facilities.89 The IOC’s investigating report detailed a specific instance where the Salisbury City Council refused to permit a multiracial swim competition.90 The segregation of sports on public elementary school property was the most comprehensive government intervention on the playing field. This policy was apparently quite controversial when first implemented, and remained a frequent target of the political opposition.91 One opponent noted that an inter-school athletic event even excluded a 78 Little, “Rebellion, Race, Rhodesia,” op. cit., p. 532. 79 The famous anecdote of South African golfer Papwa Sewgolum, who had to stand outside in the rain while his teammates were served drinks in the clubhouse by the Indian staff, illustrates this point. Sewgolum had just won the Natal Open that day. He paid his check through the clubhouse window. Colin Tatz, “Race, Politics, and Sport,” Sporting Traditions, Vol. 1, No. 1 (1984), p. 22. 80 Davies, op. cit., p. 335. 81 C.G.. Desai, “Letter to the Editor: Color Bar in Sports,” Moto (May 1971). 82 Davies, op. cit., p. 339. 83 Godwin and Hancock, op. cit., p. 128. 84 Ibid. 85 “Unfriendly Act,” Der Spiegel, No. 28, 1971. 86 IOC Report of the Commission of Enquiry for Rhodesia, 23 Oct. 1974, p. 20. British Olympic Association Library. 87 “Unfriendly Act,” Der Spiegel, No. 28, 1971 (on mining towns); Thompson, op. cit., p. 7 (on railroad companies); IOC Investigating Report, 23 Oct. 1974, op. cit. (on University of Rhodesia’s sports). 88 Godwin and Hancock, op. cit., p. 83. 89 FINA Report, 22 Oct. 1973, Zimbabwe Correspondence File 1973, IOC Documentation Centre. 90 IOC Report of the Commission of Enquiry for Rhodesia, 23 Oct. 1974, p. 9. British Olympic Association Library. 91 Several times opposition members of parliament grilled the Minister of Education about multi-racial sport on school property. See, e.g., Rhodesia Parliamentary Debates, 9 August 1968, p. 1253-1254; 25 April 1969, p. 1504; 29 November 1972, p. 418.
  11. 11. young female athlete who held the high jump record in the district because of her race.92 A group of citizens wrote letters to the Minister of Education and about 200 schools pleading for the reinstatement of multi-racial school sport.93 Multiracial sport among school children could and did take place off school property, such as at police or other government-run fields or on the grounds of private schools.94 On the other side of the debate, parents argued that multiracial school sport lent itself to Communist subversion.95 The government argued that since schooling was compulsory for white and mixed-race students and those of South Asian descent (though not for black Africans), allowing multi-racial school sport would amount to “enforced integration.”96 In 1968, when the policy was first implemented, opponents of the separation even appealed to the International Olympic Committee in order to bring pressure to bear on the Ministry of Education.97 The ban on racially integrated school sport became an increasingly prominent hook on which to base Rhodesia’s exclusion from the Olympics. Once the team was expelled, the ban on multiracial school sport was singled out for another round of criticism.98 The fifth and final observation is that multiracial teams from outside the country were often treated differently than multiracial teams from inside the country. As Godwin and Hancock write, Rhodesians distinguished between local and overseas black athletes.99 The visit of Caribbean cricketer Gary Sobers to Rhodesia received wide praise among white cricket fans; Sobers, a black athlete, even had his photo taken with Prime Minister Ian Smith.100 In 1971, Rhodesia hosted the first international athletics event in which black and white South Africans competed against each other.101 Ten white athletes and ten black athletes were chosen in separate tryouts, as per South African rules, but once in Rhodesia they could compete together. In 1972, black Rhodesian boxers defeated four white South African boxers in a multiracial competition in Salisbury.102 As a corollary, Rhodesian teams were probably more likely to select non-white athletes for competition abroad than they were for domestic competition. A Rhodesian school hockey team even chose an athlete of South Asian descent to tour South Africa, prompting worries that the team would run afoul of South African law.103 A Rhodesian weightlifting team even boycotted a South African event when its multiracial team was denied entry.104 In 1971, a multiracial athletics team was selected to tour West Germany, the first Rhodesian team to visit Europe.105 However, as noted above, when Rhodesia sent teams to compete in the South African Games, the Currie Cup, or other major sporting competitions hosted by South Africa, its teams complied with the regulations for those sports. In short, the reality of Rhodesian sport was complex and ambiguous. Black Rhodesians had made enormous progress in sports by the 1970s. Track and field star Artwell Mandaza held the unofficial world record for the 100 meter race and became the Rhodesian Athlete of the Year for 1970; 92 Letter to the editor, “Double Standard in Rhodesian Athletics,” Rhodesia Herald (Apr. 16, 1971). 93 Davies, op. cit., p. 346. 94 Editor’s Note, Rhodesia Herald (April 16, 1971) (note that the editor’s note does not directly respond to the letter to the editor preceding it, op. cit.). 95 Godwin and Hancock, op. cit., p. 47. 96 Davies, op. cit., p. 346. 97 “We’ll Protest to Olympic Body—Angry Coloureds,” Sunday Mail (Feb. 25, 1968). 98 “Comment: No Setback for the Appeasers,” Bulawayo Chronicle (Aug. 24, 1972), p. 10. 99 Godwin and Hancock, op. cit., p. 47. 100 Godwin and Hancock, op. cit., p. 47. See also, Michael Manley, A History of West Indies Cricket (London: Andre Deutsch, 1988), p. 194-195 (explaining the uproar in the Caribbean over Sobers’s visit). 101 Salisbury Radio, 17:45 GMT, 26 May 1972. Records of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, PREM 15/1220 (1971-72 Sport). 102 Davies, op. cit., p. 339. 103 “S. African Tour—Asian Selected,” Rhodesia Herald (June 18, 1971). 104 “Snub to Rhodesians: Contest Was ‘Not in SA Tradition,’” early October 1971, in FCO 7/672 (clipping in the Records of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office; source unreadable). 105 Salisbury Radio, 5:00 GMT, 24 May 1971. Records of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, PREM 15/1220 (1971-72 Sport).
  12. 12. soccer champion George Shaya became a finalist for the honor in 1976 and became Rhodesian Soccer Star of the Year five times.106 Athletics in particular was well-integrated; the International Amateur Athletic Federation found that Rhodesian track and field was multiracial and did not include racially exclusive clubs or competitions; in addition, the administration of the Rhodesian Amateur Athletic Union was also multiracial.107 Rhodesian track and field stars had also won impressive victories in the South African Games and other important competitions. Outside of athletics and a few other sports such as cycling, however, integrative trends were much less unidirectional. The IOC’s commission of inquiry in 1974 found “complete contradictions,” as reports surfaced of both true multiracial competition and, simultaneously, sharp racial discrimination.108 Lord Michael Killanin, the president of the IOC, expressed concern that in many sporting spheres in Rhodesia, progress was being erased.109 After the ban on multiracial school sport, local governments attempted to enforce racial segregation in their local sports facilities and parks; multiracial events in public swimming pools required a permit.110 The IOC found that the combination of the Land Tenure Act, segregated school sports, and racially segregated private sports clubs were the major obstacles to truly multiracial sports opportunities.111 Like South Africa, racial discrimination in domestic sport prevented Rhodesia from complying with the Olympic Charter.112 Racial discrimination in Rhodesian sport appears to have been considerably less extensive and complete than in South African sport, but this was not enough to save the Rhodesian participation in the Olympic Movement. The Rhodesian Invitation to the Munich Olympics: British and African Responses In 1968, Mexico City officials initially did invite Rhodesia; the head of the Munich organizing committee, Willi Daume, even personally hand delivered the invitation to the Rhodesian Olympic Committee.113 At this point, however, British influence came to bear on the organizers. Documents from the archives of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office show that Britain’s Labour government conceived of a strategy to lobby African and Caribbean governments behind the scenes to help pressure the Mexico City organizing committee to prevent Rhodesian participation.114 The effort was partially successful. Kenya, Jamaica, and Ghana did publicly call for a boycott in the event Rhodesia attended.115 The British continually frustrated the Mexican officials, however, by refusing to condemn Rhodesian participation publicly; Britain was perfectly willing to lobby behind the scenes but did not want the public consequences that such British pressure would trigger.116 Mexican City organizers were stung by Britain’s lack of guidance and public support. The British government’s Rhodesia policy in general was highly controversial with Parliament and Britain’s two longtime representatives on the IOC were strongly in favor of the free and full participation of all teams in good standing, including Rhodesia.117 Documents reveal that the Mexican officials were clear that any 106 Glen Byrom, D. McDermott and B. Streak, Rhodesian Sport Profiles: 1907-1979 (Bulawayo: Books of Zimbabwe, 1980), p. 196 (Mandaza), and p. 168 (Shaya). 107 Statement by Frederick Holder, April 5, 1971. Avery Brundage Papers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. 108 IOC Minutes, 1-3 June 1974. IOC Documentation Centre, Lausanne. 109 Letter, Killanin to Plaskitt, 20 Feb. 1973, Zimbabwe Correspondence File 1973, IOC Documentation Centre. 110 Godwin and Hancock, op. cit., p. 83, 127. 111 IOC Report of the Commission of Enquiry for Rhodesia, 23 Oct. 1974, p. 23. British Olympic Association Library. 112 IOC Minutes, 22 May 1975. IOC Documentation Centre, p. 25-26. 113 It was only the fifth invitation to be handed out. “Rhodesia Invited to the Olympics,” The Guardian, March 30, 1971. 114 This was excellently explained by Little (2005), op. cit., p. 47. 115 “Kenya Seeking Games Ban on Rhodesia,” East African Standard, Aug. 16, 1968. 116 Telegram, Crosec (London) to Nairobi, Aug. 2, 1968, FCO 36/318. British National Archives. 117 A.D. Brightly to Faber, Feb. 13, 1968, FCO 36/317; Telegram, Crosec (London) to Salisbury, Jan. 15, 1968, FCO 36/317. British National Archives.
  13. 13. failure of communication between Mexico City and Rhodesia was intentional.118 This behind-the- scenes maneuvering, vigorously condemned by the IOC before and after the Games, was successful in its ultimate goal, and Rhodesia withdrew.119 In 1972, British policy had made a dramatic reversal. The Conservative government opted not to protest Rhodesian participation in other countries’ sporting events, although they did not lift the ban on Rhodesian sport participation in the United Kingdom itself.120 In March 1971, Willie Daume, the president of the Munich Games, personally travelled to Rhodesia and hand-delivered the invitation to Munich, only the fifth one handed out.121 British officials speculated that the invitation was the result of an intensive Rhodesian lobbying campaign at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne and to West German organizers in Munich.122 Almost as soon as the invitation was delivered, the first African countries lodged protests with the Chancellor of West Germany, Willy Brandt.123 As these protesting nations rightly explained, West Germany had pledged to informally comply with mandatory UN sanctions on Rhodesia in a 1968 letter to the Secretary-General.124 It was in response to these early protests, and to Munich organizers confusion as to the state of German sanctions, which led to the Luxembourg Agreement in late 1971. Heath’s Conservative government made the change of policy clear. In November 1971, Britain voted against a General Assembly resolution calling for all states to ensure the exclusion of Rhodesia from the Olympics.125 British officials were also content to allow Rhodesian athletes to compete abroad as individuals if they did not represent Rhodesia as a national team.126 Foreign Minister Alec Douglas-Home told the U.S. government that the issuance of an invitation to Rhodesia did not imply recognition of the regime; Olympic teams are provided to territories and do not need to be independent states.127 Host governments, including West Germany, must decide their own obligations under Security Council Resolutions; Britain would not intervene.128 The rhetoric of the British government had changed as well. Before Mexico City, British officials protested that Rhodesia’s multiracial Olympic team, and indeed its multiracial sporting sphere, “was not the point,” instead characterizing the real issue as “acceptance of Rhodesia given U.D.I.” since national prestige was “greatly involved” and parading under the national flag would lend legitimacy to the regime.129 Again and again, the Labour government ignored suggestions that Rhodesian sport was less segregated than South African sport; the real issue, according to Wilson’s government, was recognition of an illegal regime.130 To the new Conservative government, the fact that Rhodesian sports teams tended to be multiracial was a critical distinguishing factor. In 1971, several British officials hinted at using Rhodesian multiracial sport as a tactic to prevent an African boycott of the Munich Games.131 One official noted that sporting contacts with Rhodesia involved 118 Telegram, Hope (Mexico City) to FCO London, August 17, 1968; Telegram, Hope (Mexico City) to FCO London, August 21, 1968, FCO 25/549, British National Archives. 119 Strack, op. cit., p. 226. 120 Confidential Note on Rhodesia and the Olympic Games, McCluney to Simcock, Apr. 19, 1971, PREM 15/1220. British National Archives. 121 “Rhodesia Invited to Olympics,” The Guardian, March 30, 1971. 122 123 “Bonn Ponders Olympic Ban on Rhodesians,” The Times (London), April 2, 1971. 124 “Bonn Unsure on Invite to Rhodesia,” Morning Star, Apr. 2, 1971. 125 126 127 Telegram, Douglas-Home to Washington, DC Embassy, April 5, 1971, FCO 36/981, British National Archives. 128 Confidential Note on Rhodesia and the Olympic Games, McCluney to Simcock, Apr. 19, 1971, PREM 15/1220. British National Archives. 129 Telegram, Hennings (Salisbury) to FCO London, December 6, 1967, FCO 25/549, British National Archives. 130 Ibid. 131 Memorandum, Mansfield to Goring-Morris, Apr. 29, 1971, FCO 26/981, British National Archives.
  14. 14. “different considerations” than South Africa since sport was multiracial.132 Not everyone in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office agreed with Heath’s changed direction on Rhodesian participation. First, Britain had always been faithful to West German requests to bar East German teams from British soil, at least until a change of restrictions in 1970 by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).133 Surely, several officials noted, West Germany should return the favor. Second, it was not at all clear initially that Britain could accept the Luxembourg agreement, since it required an illegal, rebellious regime to use the colonial flag and anthem. In 1968, the British government had scoffed at Mexico’s suggestion that Rhodesia comply with the Tokyo conditions, since the Rhodesians still recognized Queen Elizabeth II as the head of state.134 This changed in late 1969 when Rhodesia became a Republic, adopting a new flag and anthem.135 The West German organizers, like the Mexico City organizers before them, had hoped the British would object to the Luxembourg Agreement so that the West German government would not have to make the decision about whether it could allow a Rhodesian team into the country. The British refused to take the bait: the West Germans, one diplomat wrote, “are trying to put the onus on us and would then no doubt say that we had told them that the Rhodesians should not be allowed to participate.”136 The British lamented that the West Germans were not as good at administrative delay as the Mexico City organizers had been.137 By May 1972, it was clear that the British had accepted the Luxembourg agreement; since Rhodesian independence was illegal, after all, use of the Southern Rhodesian colonial flag and anthem was the correct use.138 The West German Foreign Ministry and the Munich Games organizing committee continually attempted to shift responsibility away from West Germany to the IOC instead.139 West Germany did prevent a Rhodesian athletics team from touring the country in 1971, even though the team would have been the first multiracial team from Southern Africa ever to tour Europe.140 Artwell Mandaza, however, slipped past West German customs officials by traveling on a temporary British passport; in a 100-meter event in Cologne, he set an unofficial world record.141 British officials did not protest Mandaza’s presence. More importantly, the West German Foreign ministry was keen to avoid any controversy that would draw blame from the IOC, such as performing “legalistic tricks with Olympic passports,” a decision that would have to be made by the full German cabinet.142 A number of other landmines from 1968 were avoided in 1972: by choosing the Portuguese national airline TAP instead of the Belgian airline Sabena, the Rhodesian team would be flying through Portugal, a country that had relations with both Rhodesia and West Germany. West Germany would have no basis to challenge the landing credentials of the plane or attempt to seize it in compliance with their informal sanctions.143 According to the British Embassy in Bonn, the West Germans were hopelessly divided. The foreign minister and the minister for overseas aid were concerned about the image of West Germany in Sub-Saharan Africa and sought to prevent a boycott at all costs.144 The minister of the interior, however, supported the admission of Rhodesia to the Games.145 The foreign minister personally 132 Letter, P.R.A. Mansfield to Fingland, Feb. 9, 1971, FCO 36/981, British National Archives. 133 Letter, D.A.S. Gladstone to A.K. Mason, March 27, 1972, FCO 36/1296, British National Archives. 134 Letter, G.W. Harding to D.J. Swan, May 3, 1968, FCO 25/549, British National Archives. 135 136 Addendum by Mansfield, June 14, 1972, FCO 36/1296, British National Archives. 137 R.A.C. Byatt to Mansfield and Smedley, June 13, 1972, FCO 36/1296, British National Archives. 138 Ibid. 139 140 Letter, J.D. Campbell to Goring-Morris, July 5, 1971, FCO 36/982, British National Archives. 141 “Visa Ban on Athletes,” The Guardian, June 1, 1971. 142 Letter, Sophia Lambert to A.K. Mason, Feb. 3, 1972, FCO 36/1296, British National Archives. 143 Salisbury Radio, 16:00, March 15, 1972, FCO 36/1296, British National Archives. 144 Telegram, Hibbert to FCO London, July 18, 1972, 36/1296, British National Archives. 145 Ibid. See also, “West German Differ Over Rhodesia and the Olympics,” Bulawayo Chronicle, July 21, 1972, p. 1.
  15. 15. requested that organizing committee president Daume should ask for a new meeting of the IOC to make a formal decision on Rhodesian participation.146 In the end, the West German government refused to act absent an IOC directive, despite the prevailing opinion in the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office that they eventually would.147 The Munich Games organizing committee firmly placed any responsibility for keeping Rhodesia out of the Games on the West German government.148 In early August, Rhodesian athletes received their Olympic identity cards, allowing them to enter West Germany without passports.149 Their identity cards were marked “British subjects.” On August 5, the sailing team arrived in Kiel, and on August 11, the rest of the team arrived in Munich. The British government was slowly being dragged into a public relations crisis, despite its best efforts to remain silent. The IOC began to protest that the British government was politically intervening in the Munich Games. This protest was made extremely effectively by David Cecil, the Sixth Marquess of Exeter and the Vice-President of the IOC. Lord Exeter, a former Olympic champion and head of the 1948 London organizing committee, was a prominent Conservative politician and former MP who protested vigorously to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and to the British Embassy in Bonn over the British government’s continued pressure on Olympic planners.150 In late July 1972, British diplomatic efforts to exclude Rhodesia were abandoned entirely. The Foreign Secretary announced that since Rhodesian athletes would travel on Olympic Certificates of Identity and not on Rhodesian passports, no violation of Security Council Resolution 253 would take place.151 The Rhodesian Olympic Committee used their most effective propaganda weapon against the boycott, showing the world that the presence of an Olympic team in Munich did not further the political ends of a rebellious regime. In late July 1972, Alan David Butler, a charismatic former Rhodesian Olympian who came in fourth place in yachting at the Rome Games in 1960, made a highly public appearance before both the House of Commons and the House of Lords in London.152 He was then the vice-president of the Rhodesian Olympic Committee, and he was due to compete in yachting in Munich. He was a highly effective and sympathetic figure. Butler had been a liberal United Federal Party (UFP) member of the Rhodesian Parliament and an opponent of both increased racial segregation in Rhodesia and the repressive security legislation passed by the Rhodesian government in the early 1960s.153 After squeaking his reelection in 1962, he finally lost his Highlands South seat to the conservative Rhodesian Front in 1965, the engineer of UDI in November of that year.154 He remained a steadfast and outspoken advocate against UDI and the state of emergency in Rhodesia under Prime Minister Ian Smith.155 He told the House of Commons that the Olympic team in Rhodesia was genuinely multiracial and was worth encouraging.156 The House of Lords debated that day, with numerous members expressing the opinion that Britain should leave the Munich organizers alone; the decision was one for West Germany to make.157 On the defensive, Foreign Secretary Alec Douglas- Home assured the members that Britain had not been actively involved in excluding Rhodesia and 146 Telegram, Henderson to Embassies, August 7-9, 1972, FCO 36/1296, British National Archives. 147 148 149 Telegram, Henderson to embassies, Aug. 10, 1972, FCO 36/1297, British National Archives. 150 Letter, J.A.N. Graham to Rhodesian Political Dept., London, July 21, 1972, FCO 36/1296, British National Archives. 151 Telegram, Douglas-Home to British Embassy Bonn, July 25, 1972, FCO 36/1297, British National Archives. 152 For more on Butler’s athletic career, see Glen Byrom, op. cit., p. 81. 153 154 155 Brief, Rhodesia Department, for call of Butler to Douglas-Home, July 24, 1972, FCO 36/1296, British National Archives. 156 Record of call, Butler to Douglas-Home at the House of Commons, 4:30 p.m., July 24, 1972. FCO 36/1297, British National Archives. 157 House of Lords Debate, July 24, 1972, Vol. 333, No. 110, Col. 1038 to 1040. FCO 36/1296, British National Archives.
  16. 16. would not be in the future.158 Four days later, on his way to the Olympic Games, Butler was killed in a car accident in Belgium.159 The result was a tremendous outpouring of sympathetic press in Rhodesia, a new round of recriminations against the British, and even a tribute on the floor of the Rhodesian Parliament by his longtime political opponents.160 If the options of the British government were limited before, this episode narrowed them yet further. The British could no longer stop the boycott momentum. The British Labour Party came out in favor of excluding Rhodesia, turning the issue partisan.161 On August 3, the Jamaican government withdrew its Olympic team.162 The next day, the Organization of African Unity called for an African- wide boycott.163 On August 6, the Supreme Council for Sport in Africa, a major lobbying group for African interests on the IOC, revoked its support of the Luxembourg agreement, surprising the IOC.164 On August 10, the British Embassy in Washington, DC received an urgent communication from the U.S. Department of State expressing concern about a possible walk-out by African-American athletes on the U.S. team.165 On August 11, Tanzania threatened to boycott, refusing to accompany the Kenyan team to Munich.166 British High Commissions in Africa relayed to London further boycott news: Zambia withdrew, then Swaziland, Sierra Leone, and Ghana.167 And when Olympic heavyweight Kenya decided to boycott, the stakes suddenly increased; Kenya’s presence would be sorely missed in the track and field events.168 Ethiopia’s withdrawal would also be painful. Nigerian participation was the most heavily contested. On August 16, the Daily Times published a front-page article describing the efforts of the External Affairs minister to pressure the Nigerian Olympic Committee to boycott.169 At the same time, hope was high for the Nigerian Olympic team in the press, especially in sprinting, long jump, hurdles, and shot put.170 The Nigerian press was unanimous, calling for African unity. Former Nigerian Chief Justice Sir Ade Ademola was the only black African member of the Executive Committee of the IOC and one of Brundage’s closest allies.171 He warned Nigeria not to boycott. The Daily Express retorted that Sir Ademola was too honorable to involve himself in such a messy political debate.172 Calling the multiracial team a farce and accusing Britain and Rhodesia of being in conspiracy together, an editorial in the Daily Times stated that the “only honourable path now is to recall our team immediately.”173 Otherwise, Nigeria would be “bamboozled into recognizing racist Rhodesia as a political equal in the continent.”174 The New Nigerian editorialized that the integrated team was not chosen in fair competition and displayed “calculated racism.”175 “Nigeria’s honour is involved,” wrote the Tribune.176 Civil society 158 Record of call, Butler to Douglas-Home, July 24, 1972, FCO 36/1297, British National Archives. 159 160 161 News Release, Labour Party Information Department, July 26, 1972, FCO 36/1297, British National Archives. 162 Letter, Mansfield to Smedley, Aug. 3, 1972, FCO 36/1297, British National Archives. 163 164 165 Letter, Melhuish (Washington, DC) to Byatt, Aug. 10, 1972, FCO 36/1297, British National Archives. 166 Telegram, Phillips (Dar es Salaam) to Bonn, Aug. 11, 1972, FCO 36/1297, British National Archives. 167 Telegram, Le Tocque (Mbabane) to FCO London, August 19, 1972; Letter, Carter (Accra) to FCO London, August 15, 1972; Telegram, Duncan (Lusaka) to FCO London, August 15, 1972; Telegram Olver (Freetown) to British Embassy Bonn, August 12, 1972, FCO 36/1297, British National Archives. 168 Telegram, Duff (Nairobi) to FCO London, August 17, 1972, FCO 36/1297, British National Archives. 169 “Nigeria Should Quit Munich Olympics, Arikpo Warns on Rhodesia,” Daily Times, August 16, 1972, p. 1. 170 “Nigeria’s Team in Final Preparations,” Daily Times, August 16, 1972, p. 19. 171 Telegram, East (Lagos) to FCO London, August 14, 1972, FCO 36/1297, British National Archives. 172 “Stuff for the Marines,” Daily Express, reprinted in “What Other Papers Say,” Daily Times, August 18, 1972, p. 3. 173 “Call it off,” Daily Times, August 18, 1972, p. 3. 174 Ibid. 175 “Boycott the Games,” New Nigerian, reprinted in “What Other Papers Say,” Daily Times, August 18, 1972, p. 3. 176 “Nigeria’s Honour is Involved,” Tribune, reprinted in “What Other Papers Say,” Daily Times, August 18, 1972, p. 3.
  17. 17. organizations in Nigeria, including trade unions, expressed solidarity with “their fellow Africans in Zimbabwe” and appealed to General Yakuba Gowon, the head of state, to order a recall of the Nigerian team.177 The Nigerian head of the Supreme Council for Sport in Africa, Abraham Ordia, personally urged African teams to be faithful to the hard-won Luxembourg agreement, but even he conceded that he could not stop the boycott.178 The British Embassy in Lagos observed that the split in Nigerian opinion was “widening.”179 The Supreme Military Council, the acting government of Nigeria, eventually sided with Ademola against the boycott, noting that Nigeria had pledged to support the Luxembourg agreement and the Council’s “word shall at all times remain its bond.”180 A similar flurry of activity occurred around the continent. The Youth League of the Tanzanian African National Union, the ruling party, “called on all progressive youths of the world to boycott if the racialists are allowed in.”181 The next day, the Tanzanian Foreign Affairs ministry announced that Tanzania would boycott if a Rhodesian team competed, regardless of the circumstances.182 The Minister of National Education, who held the sport portfolio, clarified that the Tanzanian team was ready to depart at any cost, no matter how late, if Rhodesia’s invitation were withdrawn.183 An opinion piece in the Ghanaian Times encouraged African countries to tell Brundage “to go to hell with his racist ideas and his apparent disrespect for the black African!”184 The week after Ghana decided to boycott, the Times reported that the president of the Ghana Olympic Committee would fly to Munich to attend the IOC debate on Rhodesia and then report back to the team as to whether it should participate.185 The call to boycott came from Ghana’s head of state himself, Col. Ignatius Acheampong, after the Organization of African Unity called on its members to boycott.186 The United Nations Sanctions Committee, which monitored Rhodesian sanctions, met on August 18. Both Britain and West Germany refused to support the efforts of the Soviet bloc and the African nations to tie Rhodesia’s entry into West Germany to a violation of Security Council Resolution 253.187 The meeting fizzled, and the UN Sanctions Committee did not act. On August 22, UN Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim asked the West German government to prevent a Rhodesian team from entering lest a violation of Security Council resolutions occur.188 Again the West Germans deferred to the IOC. Unlike Mexico four years earlier, United Nations opposition to Rhodesian Olympic participation was a risk the West German government was willing to take. The IOC began floating compromise proposals, including having the British government give the Rhodesian team members British passports.189 This set off an extensive debate in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office about whether the British government should be seen as helping the Rhodesian team enter West Germany, although technically Rhodesians, as British subjects, could receive British passports.190 The boycotting Olympic committees had made the non-recognition of Rhodesian 177 “Workers Panel Calls For Boycott of Games,” New Nigerian, August 22, 1972, p. 14. See also, “Recall Team, Gowon Urged,” Daily Times, August 18, 1972, p. 5. 178 “I Cannot Stop Boycott, Says Ordia,” Daily Times, August 18, 1972, p. 5. 179 Telegram, East (Lagos) to FCO London and British Embassy Bonn, August 17, 1972, FCO 36/1297, British National Archives. 180 Telegram, East (Lagos) to FCO London and British Embassy Bonn, August 18, 1972, FCO 36/1297, British National Archives. See also, “Nigerian Decision on Olympics ‘Shocking’,” Daily News, August 19, 1972, p. 1. 181 “Keep Smith Out of Games,” Daily News, August 10, 1972, p. 5. 182 “Tanzania Pulls Out of Olympics,” Daily News, August 11, 1972, p. 1. 183 “We Are Ready To Go If…,” Daily News, August 11, 1972, p. 10. 184 “To Hell With Avery Brundage,” Ghanaian Times, August 17, 1972, p. 11. 185 “Asare for IOC Talks Today,” Ghanaian Times, August 19, 1972. 186 Ibid. 187 Telegram, Crowe (New York) to FCO London and British Embassy Bonn, August 21, 1972. FCO 36/1297, British National Archives. 188 “Keep Out Rhodesia, UN Tells Germany,” Daily Times, August 22, 1972, p. 1. 189 Letter, Byatt to Le Quesne, August 21, 1972, FCO 36/1297, British National Archives. 190 Ibid. The British government had in the past given concessionary passports to Rhodesian citizens in the “public
  18. 18. passports central to the boycott debate, but the issue was somewhat artificial.191 The Rhodesian team members did not need their passports to enter West Germany since they had Olympic identity cards; furthermore, most of the white athletes had passports of South Africa or Great Britain anyway, and Mandaza at least still had an unexpired temporary British passport from the year before.192 Again British abdicated. Foreign Secretary Alec Douglas-Home explicitly stated that Rhodesian athletes had already arrived in Germany, thus creating no need for the issuance of British passports to the team.193 On August 21, 1972, IOC President Avery Brundage put Rhodesia’s invitation to a vote, in his last act as president before Lord Michael Killanin of Ireland was elected his successor. With 31 votes in favor of upholding Rhodesia’s invitation, 36 against, with three abstentions, Brundage had lost, the only time he had been outvoted in his twenty year presidency.194 As the British Embassy in Bonn noted shortly afterwards, the aftermath of the Rhodesian expulsion was “surprisingly bitter.”195 Newspapers around the world condemned the decision as a dangerous precedent for expelling regimes that fell out of favor.196 The African press, however, was vindicated. [Summarize editorial reports in Daily Times (Nigeria), New Nigerian, Ghanaian Times, and Daily News (Tanzania).] Conclusion: Rhodesia and the Human Rights in Sport Movement [As stated in the introduction, the Rhodesian boycott strengthened the African bloc and held the alliance between the African bloc and the Soviet bloc on the IOC together. In 1976, confident by the victories against South Africa and Rhodesia, 33 African and Caribbean Olympic teams walked out of the Montreal Games over the presence of New Zealand, the most flagrant violator of sporting sanctions on South Africa, especially in the non-Olympic sport of rugby. In addition, the presence of South Africa at the Toronto Paralympics led most of the Soviet bloc and developing world to walk out. Canada was financially hurt by this and struggled to prevent a boycott of the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Edmonton, Alberta, where half of the participants were expected to be African and Caribbean nations. Canada’s efforts at lobbying the Commonwealth heads of government led to the drafting of a soft law document known to history as the Gleneagles Agreement, which led to South Africa’s sporting isolation in cricket and rugby. The document largely prevented an African boycott of the Edmonton Games and was an important source for drafting the non-discrimination provisions of the revised Olympic Charter in 1981.] interest.” The FCO was understandably reluctant to do this under the circumstances. 191 192 Memo, A.M. Tebboth, July 16, 1971, FCO 36/982, British National Archives (on Mandaza). See also, Novak (2006), op. cit., p. 1386 n. 48 for a summary of the other known team members. 193 Telegram, Alec Douglas-Home to Prime Minister Edward Heath, August 21, 1972, PREM 15/1220 (1971-72 Sport), British National Archives. 194 IOC Meeting Minutes, Aug. 23, 1972, IOC Documentation Centre. 195 Telegram, Henderson (Bonn) to FCO London, Aug. 24, 1972. PREM 15/1220 (1971-72 Sport), British National Archives. 196