School receives 11 books from historian

Pupils from Harold Cressy High School with former teacher, Zohra Ebrahim, fourth from left, and historian André Odendaal next to her.

Pupils from Harold Cressy High School were thrilled to receive a generous donation of 11 books from historian and former cricketer André Odendaal.

In the mid-1980s Professor Odendaal became the only white first-class player to play in the non-white South African first-class competition during the apartheid era, appearing for the Transvaal team in 1984 – 1985 and the Western Province team in 1985 – 1986.

He also chaired the United Cricket Board of South Africa’s Transformation Monitoring Committee from 1998 to 2002. In 2002 he received the President’s Award for Sport (Silver Class) for his contribution to bringing about change in sport.

Professor Odendaal has taught history at the University of South Africa and at the University of the Western Cape, where he is an Honorary Professor in History and Heritage Studies.

His books include, among others God’s Forgotten Cricketers: Profiles of Leading South African Players (1976), Cricket in Isolation: The Politics of Race and Cricket in South Africa (1977), The Story of an African Game: Black Cricketers and the Unmasking of One of South Africa’s Greatest Myths, 1850-2003 (2003), The Blue Book: A History of Western Province Cricket 1890-2011 (2012) with Krish Reddy and Andrew Samson, The Founders: The Origins of the African National Congress and the Struggle for Democracy (2012), Cricket and Conquest: The History of South African Cricket Retold: Volume 1, 1795-1914 (2016) with Krish Reddy, Christopher Merrett and Jonty Winch and Divided Country: The History of South African Cricket Retold: Volume 21914-1960 (2018) with Krish Reddy and Christopher Merrett.

Professor Odendaal was accompanied on his visit to the school last week, Monday March 4, by his wife, Zohra Ebrahim who had previously attended and taught at the school herself.

Harold Cressy recently resurrected their school library and had been appealing for donations of books to line their shelves.

The 11 books donated, which are valued at over R3 000, were published by Professor Odendaal’s African Live series. The independent writing and publishing initiative, African Live, aims to contribute to a post-colonial intellectual history of South Africa, through books about the liberation struggle and the social history of sport.

Ms Ebrahim said she would always cherish the connection she had with the school. “Being at Harold Cressy, is an important place to be. You, as a student, are part of a long history, you are part of a way of thinking differently,” she said.

Professor Odendaal, who has been married to Ms Ebrahim for 29 years, added: “She’s much better educated than me, coming out of Cressy and her knowledge of English, archaeology, Roman, Egyptian, myths and legends is amazing. Even though I went to a privileged white school, I reckon she had a better education than me, by far,” said Professor Odendaal.

Pupil Sipheleke Rorwana, gave a heartfelt thanks on behalf of the school.

“This shows that you value the school very much. We thank you for the type of books you have given. Now we get to go in detail into our past and get a greater understanding of the history,” said Sipheleke. “We might even find solutions to our problems, thanks to the way of thinking in these books. We hope the books we donated will encourage different thinking and being interested in beyond what the education system says is important,” added Ms Ebrahim.

Additional information from Wikipedia.