The origins of Fields of Play: football memories and forced removals in Cape Town are to be found in the work done for the landmark sports exhibition (Dis)playing the Game (1997), and the methodologies developed during the inaugural exhibition Streets: retracing District Six which preceded it in 1994.
Fields of Play depicted the far-reaching impact of forced removals on football associations and clubs in Cape Town. It portrayed the history of football from the first moment the game was played on Green Point Common in 1862 and traced this rich history through oral history accounts, archival documentation and a rich visual archive donated by players and administrators. The making of the exhibition reunited a number of football administrators, players, referees as well as spectators of the game. Their memories and stories vividly brought to life the rich history of struggle, competition, discipline and achievement by the city’s sporting communities. The exhibition provides an account of the histories of football at ten sites in Cape Town: Green Point Common (Green Point), Maitland (Royal Road), Langa (Langa Stadium), Kenilworth (Rosmead Sports Ground), Athlone (Athlone Stadium), Observatory (Hartleyvale), Salt River (Shelley Street), Wynberg (William Herbert Sports Ground), Rylands (Rygate) and Stellenbosch.
The exhibition opened at the D6M Homecoming Centre in October 2008 and was supported and funded by the Department of Economic Development and Tourism of the Provincial Government of the Western Cape. In 2010, with the aid of the Carl Schlettwein Foundation in Basel, Switzerland, the Museum opened a condensed version of the Fields of Play exhibition at the Basler Afrika Bibliographien. The focus of the original exhibition message was supplemented by research on contemporary football rituals and professional teams in Cape Town, as well as an in-depth look at the city’s first professional team, the Cape Ramblers. The Fields of Play exhibition catalogue, made possible through funding from the Foundation, brings together the research