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Pozzetta Lecture on Bicycle Racing in South Africa

The History Department is pleased to announce it’s first Pozzetta Lecture of the 2017-18 academic year. On Wednesday, 18 October 2017 at 3 p.m., Dr. Todd Leedy of UF’s Center for African Studies will present, “But Did They Really Race? The Early History of Black Competitive Cycling in Johannesburg.” This talk will occur in the History Department’s Conference Room (005 Keene-Flint) and it is free and open to the public.
The talk is a preliminary portion of Dr. Leedy’s larger project on the history of bicycle racing amongst urban black South Africans through the 1960s. Despite the fact that bicycles became ubiquitous across the colonial landscape fairly early in the 20th century, they have not featured very prominently in either economic or social histories of the period. Cycling as leisure or sport remains completely neglected. At present, there exists no published academic literature focused on the history of black bicycle racing in South Africa, or for that matter, on the continent more broadly. In South Africa individuals and communities created vibrant social spaces around this sport during decades of intensifying segregation and apartheid. Of course, racing was not “hidden” from the hundreds of participants and the many thousands of spectators who cheered them. But due to the divisions in South African society, the early township scene remains virtually unknown today.
We hope to see you there!