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Too Black To Wear Whites

Publish date: 10 February 2020
Issue Number: 859
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: general

Too Black To Wear Whites

 

Jonty Winch and Richard Parry

Penguin. $18

 

William Henry ‘Krom’ Hendricks was the first sportsman to be formally barred from representing SA on the basis of race. Hailing from Cape Town’s Bo-Kaap, he played in 1892 for the South African Malay team against the touring English, who insisted that he was among the best fast bowlers in the world. This made his exclusion from SA's tour of England in 1894 and subsequent Test series all the more unjust. Ranged against Hendricks were virulent racism and a political alliance between arch-imperialist Cecil John Rhodes, Afrikaner Bond leader J.H. Hofmeyr, and cricket administrator William Milton. Too Black to Wear Whites documents Hendricks’ tireless struggle for recognition and the public controversies around his exclusion. The book shows how Hendricks was further sidelined at senior club level by a cricket establishment determined to save its white players the embarrassment of being shown up by the country’s best fast bowler. Considering his importance in South African sports history, surprisingly little is known about Krom Hendricks. The story of his life is told here for the first time in a fascinating drama that describes the formation of a segregated SA through the career of an exceptional cricketer who challenged the boundaries of the system.

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