1862
23 August, Canon George Oglivie organizes first recorded rugby match in South Africa at Green Point, Cape Town, Western Cape between the Army and the Civil service.
1879
Founding of the first two Whites-only rugby union clubs in South Africa, Hamilton and the Villagers.
1883
Formation of the Whites-only Western Province Rugby Football Union.
1886
Formation of the Blacks-only Western Province Coloured Rugby Football Union.
1889
Formation of the Whites-only South African Rugby Board.
1897
Formation of the Blacks-only South African Coloured Rugby Football Board.
1906-1907
South Africa fields first national rugby team on a tour of the British Isles. British media anglicizes the team's self entitled nickname Springbokken and the South African Springboks are born. The team is composed of Whites-only.
1948
The National Party comes to power in South Africa after winning the national elections.
1950
The National Party enacts the Group Areas Act defining the separate geographic areas within which different South African racial groups could reside. South African rugby is legally and physically divided along racial boundaries.
1953
The National Party enacts the Reservation of Separate Amenities Act leading to segregation of all public areas in South Africa – including rugby pitches.
1963
Formation of the South African Non-Racial Olympic Committee. The group calls for the boycott of South Africa from the 1964 Olympic Games.
1967
New Zealand All-Blacks cancel tour of South Africa in response to Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd's announcement forbidding their team from including any Maori players.
1970
The National Party enacts the Bantu Homeland Citizens Act effectively removing Black South Africans’ citizenships and requiring them to become citizens of the homeland designated to their respective ethnic group.
1973
March, Formation of the South African Council on Sport, a group aiming to establish non-racial sporting development within South Africa.
1976
The National Party announces that multi-nationalism in sport will be extended down to the club level so as to allow Blacks to participate in the same sporting organizations as Whites – pending special permission.
1981
Springboks tour New Zealand. The second match between the Springboks and All-Blacks is cancelled because hundreds of protestors occupy the pitch.
1984-1992
South Africa banned from the International Rugby Board as a result of the nation's continuation of apartheid policies.
1988
Danie Craven and Louis Luyt of the South African Rugby Board, Ebrahim Patel and Thabo Mbeki of the non-racial South African Rugby Union, and Steve Tshwete and Alfred Nzo of the African National Congress meet to discuss the formation of a single, non-racial controlling body for South African rugby.
1992
23 March, Official inauguration of the South African Rugby Football Union in Kimberley.
International Rugby Board awards South Africa hosting of the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
1995
25 May–24 June, South Africa hosts the Rugby World Cup (RWC). The RWC is endorsed by President Nelson Mandela. South Africa beats the tournament favourite New Zealand in the final.
1997
February, A taped conversation between Springbok rugby coach  Andre Markgraaff and former player Andre Bester is played on the South African Broadcasting Corporation's national news. In the tape Markgraaff calls the Senior Vice President of the South African Rugby Football Union Mululeki George a ‘fucking kaffir’.
2013
5 December 2013, The incredible visionary Nelson Mandela passes away. The challenge lies with South Africans to honour his accomplishment of using rugby as a tool to unify the country.

This article was written by Simon Pinsky and forms part of the SAHO Public History Internship.

Collections in the Archives