None has caused greater reverberations than Basil D’Oliveira. “Unlike most progressive campaigns for justice it achieved its objectives 100%.”. Hain and the South African cricket historian, Andre Odendaal, have written a book about that campaign called Pitch Battles: Protest, Play and Prejudice which will be published next May. The horror of it burnt deep into my memory. His movement was bolstered by the case of cricketer Basil D’Oliveira. Rugby and cricket were symbols of white supremacy and after the horrific repression of the African National Congress - notably the Sharpeville massacre of 1960, in which 69 black Africans were killed by police during a peaceful protest - the battle lines for the anti-apartheid movement were drawn on the sporting field. Then we’d separate because there were white and black sections. So there is unfinished business in South Africa.”. “None of us wanted to go. In cricket, so-called rebel tours were staged between 1982 and 1990. But without the Stop the Tour protests, South Africa would never have seen a multi-racial team, captained by a black man born into destitution, rule the rugby world once again. The 1969 protests marked a seminal moment in the rise of the anti-apartheid movement in Britain. And memories of the Springboks winning the Rugby World Cup are still so vivid. So the MCC cancelled the tour.
The controversy related to England’s 1968-69 tour of South Africa and D’Oliveira’s potential inclusion in the touring party. Our white suburban lives were shaped by racism and privilege and it needed the sports protests and eventual boycotts to force boys like me to wonder what was wrong with our country. South Africa were suspended by FIFA and barred from the Olympics. ‘It was for the right reason — never in my mind were we going to tour again until the country changed as a whole.’ Eventually the British government stepped in, cancelled the 1970 tour and the ICC banned South Africa from international cricket for 21 years. The only snag? “Having been barred from South Africa because they included a ‘non-white’ player in D’Oliveira the English cricket authorities issued an invitation to the South Africans three months later to tour in the summer of 1970. Shortly after the D’Oliveira controversy there were widespread protests during the 1969-70 rugby tour of Britain and Ireland.
“Then we realised the rugby tour was happening and decided to use it as a dummy run. The film showcases the powerful impact that protest movements had and is a reminder of the symbiotic relationship that binds sport and society. They were labelled ‘the Dirty Dozen’ by MPs and a major national newspaper screamed ‘good luck and good riddance to the rebels’. ‘It was automatic as far as I was concerned,’ said Procter. I got a flood of emails from white South Africans of a certain age, saying ‘I still hate you for what you did to the Springboks but this was fantastic.’, “I always replied, saying, ‘Thank you very much but please understand the values that motivated me to speak out against corruption today are exactly the same values of integrity, morality, justice and equality that motivated me to stop the 1970 cricket tour. Stop the Tour, an instalment in BT Sport’s award-winning series of feature-length documentaries, is the story of how sport changed South Africa and why it was needed. The rebel tours were finally stopped after months of negotiations. It was horrible.
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