When Australian cricketers were caught cheating during a Test match in South Africa, there was a display of tearful remorse and considerable disbelief among their fans. But we've been here before, in many areas and for centuries.
The white settler presence all over the South begins nearly always with a single story: a betrayal. The ending of an agreement that one side probably never intended to honour anyway. It showed a lack of honour, a violation of the spirit that underlay the agreement.
Which is why the recent furore about some members of the visiting Australian men's national cricket team being caught cheating during a test match against South Africa is so nonsensical.
From the frenzied stream of interviews, commentary, camera flashes and, eventually, tears of remorse (which only intensified the cycle of hysteria), one would think a high-level assassination had taken place.
Even Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull got exercised: "Our cricketers are role models and cricket is synonymous with fair play," he declared. "How can our team be engaged in cheating like this? It beggars belief."
Actually, it doesn't. It is entirely consistent with the colonial mentality of unfair advantage, which has lingered on in the culture of most former settler colonies. Sport and religious piety are the two great self-deceptions of white settler vanities. Soon after taking over some territory or the other, one of the first things the colonisers do, is organise sporting activities for themselves. Often this begins within the ranks of the occupying armies that brought them.
Such settler-dominated sports are deliberately exclusionary, both openly (which is the entire social point of settler colonialism), but also through resource allocation. The activities they bring--rugby, cricket, squash, swimming, tennis and golf--all require at the very least, specialised equipment, and at the most costly, purpose-built playing spaces.
Thus sport became highly hierarchically racialised, and has remained so to one extent or another. This is already a form of cheating. The misguided anti-colonial reaction, starting with South Africa's battles for 'inclusion', has been updated by the phenomenon of black people from the former colonies now struggling to participate in winter sports, such as skiing and sledding.
It should be pointed out that cheating--as well as associated nefarious activities like gambling-induced match-fixing--has been part of most sports since...