‘Highly readable and packed with fascinating historical detail, this is
the compelling story of a ripsnorting South African cricketer whose
career was smothered by the shameless colour prejudice of Cecil John
Rhodes and his snobbish cronies. By turns formidable, sad, enlivening
and enormously informative, this book pays Hendricks the honour that
has long been his due.’ – Bill Nasson
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
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
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