Friday, 24 January 2014


The 1981 anti-tour protesters have exaggerated their influence on the apartheid politics of South Africa.  There were already changes under way, especially in the sporting area. I visited South Africa in the 1970’s and was convinced that the situation was too complex and fragile to risk interference from outsiders.  The reforming F.W. De Klerk was engaged in a battle with conservative right wing forces.  He believed that the international sanctions had been detrimental to his careful work breaking down the attitudes of the right wing making this conservative group even more determined to resist change. Bullying was not going to work. Isolationism also obstructed the international dialogue wanted by the liberals, academics, and sports bodies.  It is interesting that in De Klerk’s autobiography, New Zealand, the All Blacks, and rugby, are not mentioned. De Klerk was awarded the Noble Peace Prize in the same year as Nelson Mandela.



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