n Image & Text : a Journal for Design - Potent pastimes. Sport and leisure practices in modern Afrikaner history, Albert Grundlingh : book review

Volume 24, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1020-1491



There is no shortage of books in South Africa that deal with sport, its history and its place in society. Equally prominent are books that document the demise of apartheid, the rise of democracy, identity politics, and the construction of South African nationhood in various eras. More infrequent, however, are books that deal critically with leisure and sport as key components of identity construction of a specific ethnic grouping, possibly because this could be seen as an essentialist or deterministic explanation of taste or aptitude. Albert Grundlingh, Head of the History Department at Stellenbosch University, negotiates a competent course between these traps and delivers a useful addition to the field. He combines (social) history with cultural studies and the sociology of sport to explore a variety of sport and leisure practices and their alignment with Afrikaner cultural and political aspirations from the 1930s onwards. By incorporating a cultural studies approach, Grundlingh is able to show that even less 'serious' undertakings in society reveal the operations of ideology and so-called 'deep politics'. In particular, the fact that these sport and leisure practices are , makes them apt for an examination of some of the different ways in which a nationalist ideology can be asserted and enacted in society.

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