About the book:
‘Highly readable and packed with fascinating historical detail, this is the compelling story of a rip-snorting 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 and subsequent Test series 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 cricket administrator William Milton. 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 at senior club level by a cricket establishment determined to save its 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 challenged the boundaries of the system.