The importance of sport in the revision of the past has gained much recognition in recent times and the genre of sport history has become ever more popular as a result. This dissertation attempts to locate and trace the historically binary relationship of sport with concepts such as unification and division, inclusion and exclusion, while focussing on the historical divide in South African rugby. While it is true that sport creates community and pulls people together, it is also true that sport often serves as a stage for division and social exclusion. This is well illustrated in the development and diffusion of rugby in South Africa. Various theories have been developed to analyse division within societies which may shed more light on the effectiveness of sport as a social divider in the nineteenth century. The concepts and theories include B. Bernstein, H. L. Elvin and R. S. Peters's ideas on rituals and symbols; Eric Hobsbawm's "Invented Traditions"; Benedict Anderson's "Imagined Communities"; as well as Antonio Gramsci's "Cultural Hegemony". These theories, employed within a strong legacy of British cultural imperialism, could explain how the rugby community in South Africa came to be racially stratified. This dissertation sets out to show how the establishment of schools based on the English public school model, and exclusive rugby clubs and unions in South Africa, all aided in the formalisation of rugby and in doing so unlocked the political power of the sport. By looking to the formalisation, and thus politicisation of rugby, this dissertation attempts to trace the origins of separation in South African rugby. It is thus the aim of this study to discern the link between middle class schools, the establishment of exclusive clubs and unions and the racial stratification of South African rugby.
Dissertation (MHCS)--University of Pretoria, 2017.