Throughout the twentieth century, colonial authorities believed in the power of sport as a tool for moulding submissive labour. Belgian and British colonialists, industrialists and Christian missionaries introduced football to the Katangese and Rhodesian Copperbelts respectively towards the end of the nineteenth century and at the beginning of the twentieth century and attempted to use it as a tool for controlling, and ‘civilising’ colonised Africans. This paper argues that Africans found alternative ways of eluding colonial and capitalist exploitation in the mining towns, appropriated football, used it to build urban networks and sometimes even to express aspirations for independence. The two Copperbelts exchanged football tours that played a role in strengthening existing commercial networks for the Europeans and comradeship for colonised Africans. Interestingly, even the postcolonial African leaders Joseph Mobutu and Kenneth Kaunda attempted to use football that was dominant in their copper mining regions as a tool for bolstering their political power and popularity. This paper reveals the complex relationships between football and social change in the copper-rich regions of Katanga and Northern Rhodesia.
Chipande, Hikabwa D.
"Copper Mining and Football: Comparing the game in the Katangese and Rhodesian Copperbelts c. 1930 – 1980,"
Zambia Social Science Journal: Vol. 6:
1, Article 4.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.cornell.edu/zssj/vol6/iss1/4