by Jonty Winch and Richard Parry
William Henry ‘Krom’ Hendricks was the first sportsman to be formally barred from representing South Africa on the basis of race. Hailing from Cape Town’s Bo-Kaap, he played in 1892 for the South African Malay team against the touring English, who insisted that he was among the best fast bowlers in the world. This made his exclusion from South Africa’s tour of England in 1894 all the more unjust.
Ranged against Hendricks were virulent racism and a political alliance between arch-imperialist Cecil John Rhodes, Afrikaner Bond leader J.H. Hofmeyr, and William Milton, who controlled cricket at the Cape through the Western Province Cricket Union. Too Black to Wear Whites documents Hendricks’s tireless struggle for recognition and the public controversies around his exclusion. The book shows how Hendricks was further sidelined as club teams made up of different races were prevented from playing against one another, saving white players the embarrassment of being shown up by the country’s best fast bowler.
Considering his importance in South African sports history, surprisingly little is known about Krom Hendricks. The story of his life is told here for the first time in a fascinating drama that describes the formation of a segregated South Africa through the career of an exceptional cricketer who dared to test the boundaries of the system.