Football and forlorn hope: an ethnographic comic concerning the Grahamstown Soccer Association from 1975 to 1985

Published in: Anthropology Southern Africa
Volume 42, issue 4, 2019 , pages: 316–332
DOI: 10.1080/23323256.2019.1679027
Author(s): Shawn FordeSchool of Kinesiology, Canada


This ethnographic comic presents research that was conducted in Makhanda (previously Grahamstown) in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. The comic only tells a partial story, based on ethnographic and historical research, relating to soccer, nostalgia, hope and violence. It shifts between contemporary soccer spaces and memories of the formation of the first official township clubs in the early 1970s and the Grahamstown Soccer Association (GRASA) in 1975. The use of comics for research dissemination and forms of knowledge translation is becoming increasingly common across a number of academic disciplines including anthropology. The comic I present in this section highlights how drawing and the creation of comics aligns with ethnographic sensibilities that allow for exploring uncertain paths and taking detours within the research process.

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