HISTORY OF VOLLEYBALL IN SOUTH AFRICA
THE TURBULENT YEARS
The status of volleyball as one of the fastest growing and most popular spectator sports in South Africa has, ironically, been attained as a result of a turbulent history with the administration during the 70’s and 80’s being split down the middle.
The previous government’s policy of dividing sport along racial lines impacted adversely on how the sport has been run, as it resulted in the existence of separate bodies, each of which laid claims to being the most legitimate, i.r.o. the administration, organising and developing the game. While white players fell under the banner of white controlled SA Volleyball Union (SAVU), the Amateur Volleyball Association of South Africa (AVASA) was formed in 1981 to represent people of color. AVASA’s affiliates comprised, Western Province; Eastern Province; Natal; Transvaal with Kharwastan Volleyball Association being accorded special provincial status.
Significantly, AVASA had a strong Black Consciousness (BC) leaning, which ostensibly argued favourably towards the establishment of a unitary, non-racial body. However AVASA’s reluctance to engage in unitary talks on the grounds that apartheid had not yet been fully dismantled led to further division in the volleyball ranks. Hence, the formation of SAVCON (South African Volleyball Congress) a breakaway group from AVASA in 1990 lambasted the AVASA for failing to be proactive at a time when political transformation meant that the doors were at last open to the historically disadvantaged communities.
The progressive leadership of SACON received recognition from the newly established National Sports Congress (NSC) that was tasked with over seeing the unity process among all codes of sport in South Africa.
During 1990 – 1991, SAVU, the white controlled body and AVASA joined SACON in the negotiation process that preceded the creation of the supreme controlling body for volleyball in South Africa.
Finally on 11 February 1992, the first fully representative national volleyball federation in South Africa; Volleyball South Africa, was born. The interim structure comprised of 18 members, 6 from each of the former volleyball organizations (viz. SAVU, AVASA and SACON).
The inaugural elections of Volleyball South Africa coincided with the first democratic elections of South Africa Tubby Reddy who held the post of treasurer during the interim period became the organisation’s new president in 1994. While the organization was constitutionally bound to hold elections every 2 years, an epoch making decision was reached in 1996 to extend the period to once in a 4-year cycle. Reddy was re-elected in 2000.