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'Gone to the dogs': The Cultural Politics Of gambling— The rise and fall of british greyhound racing on the Witwatersrand, 1932–1949

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores one form of leisure pursuit, organised dog racing, which held sway on the Rand between 1932 and 1949. Betting on the dogs had its own internal dynamics, but the industry was also vulnerable to pressures emanating from wider society. Debates about dog racing cast new light on Afrikaner initiatives to fashion a particular form of cultural nationalism in Johannesburg. Ultimately it was a combined set of societal pressures that ensured the termination of dog racing and that changed the landscape of popular culture on the Witwatersrand. The pastime was not resurrected, and even with the current relaxation of gambling regulations in South Africa dog racing tracks has failed to make their appearance in a society which has otherwise embraced gambling with gusto. Partly because it left so few traces in the present, the vanished culture of dog racing has not registered with historians.

Keywords: Afrikaner; cultural nationalism; dog racing; gambling; Johannesburg; Witwatersrand



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