Monday, May 7, 2007

Lawrence Gordon

Lawrence Gordon is the father of Stephen Gordon and a retired career academic who specialised in teacher education. He has been active in Durban sport for over 50 years as a player, coach, umpire referee and spectator. He also participated in or witnessed all the anecdotal material in this article that pertains to this period.

In their chapter, Durban Sport: A Theatre of Spaces, Lawrence and Stephen Gordon argue that Durban sport has ‘a distinctive identity’ evolving from its physical and social environment. But their emphasis is on the social and historical constructions of various sports and their appropriation, notably, by English-speaking whites. They examine how identifications by Anglos and dis-identifications by Afrikaners have influenced the ‘Natal style’ of rugby. As a predominantly white & male sport, rugby is a powerful medium through which versions of whiteness and masculinities are produced. Cricket is also addressed historically as a white English activity. They characterise it as a ‘tool of colonisation’ for inculcating supposedly superior English values and as a ‘home-from-home sanctuary’ for Anglos estranged from a white South Africa dominated by their [Afrikaans-speaking] cultural adversaries. As a white sport, rugby has come to be associated with elitism and discrimination by many 'non-whites' who hailed football as ‘the people’s game’.

Gordon, Lawrence, and Gordon, Stephen. 'Durban Sport: A Theatre of Spaces', in Rob Pattman and Sultan Khan (Eds.), Undressing Durban (Durban: Madiba Press, 2007), pp. 132-142.