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South Africa: The New Ball Game

1 minute read

Of all the sanctions aimed at South Africa, none have upset the white population more than the country’s isolation from international sports events, especially rugby, the national sport. In a bid to return to global competition, two leaders of the white-administered South African Rugby Board last week struck an unprecedented deal with the anti-apartheid black Rugby Union and the outlawed African National Congress. The parties urged the formation of a single rugby association that could field an integrated team for foreign tournaments.

Right-wingers attacked Danie Craven, head of the Rugby Board, for meeting with A.N.C. leaders. State President P.W. Botha also denounced the get- together. Yet some government leaders were privately pleased that the A.N.C. had dropped an antiapartheid line that declared, “There can be no normal sport in an abnormal society.” The A.N.C., for its part, demonstrated a willingness to bargain, undermining the government’s contention that the group is dedicated only to violence.

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