‘Rejects of the Sporting Whites of the Continent’: African Cricket in Rhodesia
The myth has existed in Zimbabwe that Africans did not play cricket until independence in 1980. This chapter explodes this myth through documenting various efforts by Africans to develop domestic cricket, beginning with the arrival of Mfengu immigrants in the late nineteenth century. The significance of the game is recorded in its contribution to building communities and providing a training ground and outlet for African leaders. In Bulawayo, in particular during the 1950s, cricket became integral to the process of assimilation and political mobilisation with Makokoba township central to progress as a meeting point for Africans from various backgrounds. Its community leaders were responsible for using the game not only to draw the separate ethnic structures together but to create opportunities to play representative cricket.