The Boxing Economy of the Eastern Cape

What is the link between the national formal economy on the one hand, and on the other, local community based economic cultures, which may have been largely self-sustaining but interminably precarious? What goes with the working title of “the boxing economy of the Eastern Cape” seems one such local economy. The boxing culture of East London/Mdantsane has been phenomenally successful. For over three decades, and nicknamed “The Boxing Mecca” of South Africa, it has produced no less than 20 world champions and more than 50 national champions.

This study is a reflective and speculative approach to this Eastern Cape boxing phenomenon. It links the narratives of three legendary boxers from their respective generations; traces continuities and discontinuities in a boxing culture that reveals enormous potential as an industry, with a pipe line of new boxers that shows no sign of drying up; asks questions about possibilities for local social upliftment through a home-grown entertainment industry. What does it tell us about the society that has produced it? Where does the macro economy of big industries and national infrastructure come together with such a local economy for mutual sustenance and at what points of convergence? The project is in the writing stage.

Project leader(s):
  • Njabulo Ndebele (Cape Town)