"My team. Bushbacks and Sundowns."

In the football (soccer) game Petrus and David are watching the two teams playing are the Umtata Bush Backs, from the Eastern Cape, and the Mamelodi Sundowns, from North West Pretoria. Although, as of 2011, the Sundowns retain their premier league status, Petrus' team the Bushbacks were relegated in 2006, before going into liquidation.


Soweto Football Match
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeSoweto Football Match - Credit: digitalrob70

During the apartheid years, football in South Africa was a game played in the wilderness, as far as the rest of the world was concerned. It had first been suspended from competing in international competition by FIFA in 1961, then subsequently banned in the wake of the Soweto Uprising in 1976. However, at national level, football was not only an extremely popular sport but also played a significant part in the opposition of apartheid from within. Traditionally, football had a massive following amongst the black majority, and the sense of camaraderie created often led to alliances being forged, which could be carried off the football field and into the political arena. Games were even played by the political prisoners of Robben Island.



South African football fans
Creative Commons AttributionSouth African football fans - Credit: Octagon


In 1991, the South African football team were re-admitted to FIFA and went on to beat Cameroon 1-0 in their first competitive match. Immensely popular, the team known as Bafana Bafana (boys, boys in Zulu), are held up by many as a symbol of the new post apartheid South Africa.



For a more in-depth look at the history of football in South Africa, click here.

An article about football on Robben Island is available by clicking on this link.