n Journal for Contemporary History - A history of Collegian rugby club's survival : from apartheid to democracy

Volume 40, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0258-2422
  • E-ISSN: 2415-0509



Since the establishment of democracy in 1994, South African sport has been influenced deeply by sociopolitical and economic changes. Political transformation and professionalization emerged as elements that define the sporting fraternity. Sport became a vehicle for nation-building. South Africans are encouraged to show patriotism through support for national teams but, at the same time, many township sports clubs are struggling to survive. This article relates the history of Collegians, a Mitchell's Plain-based rugby club, formerly from District Six. It asserts that since its establishment, Collegians experienced two threats of extinction: apartheid, which they survived; and democracy, which brought uncertainty and a sense of insecurity. The research question addressed is, "having survived apartheid,what are the club's future prospects in the face of sport transformation in democratic South Africa?" Semi-structured interviews, newspaper sources and self-reflexivity provided data. Drawing on rugby memory from District Six to re-establish the club in Mitchell's Plain, the present malaise in the club can be ascribed to a combination of factors such as political, economic and structural changes in the rugby fraternity. Recommendations are made concerning the current impasse in the club.

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