Agency and affordability: being black and ‘middle class’ in South Africa in 1989: Mehita Iqani
This article focuses on narratives about class, lifestyle and material culture in a documentary, Nowhere to Play: Conversations with Sowetan Golfers. The 52-minute ¿OPZDV FRPPLVVLRQHG E\ WKH8QLWHG.LQJGRP¶V 8.&KDQQHO GLUHFWHG DQG HGLWHG E\ 6RXWK $IULFDQ ¿OPPDNHU $QJXV *LEVRQ1 and broadcast in the UK on Monday 25 March 1991.2 ,Q WKHDUFKLYHHQWU\ IRU WKH¿OPDW WKH%ULWLVK)LOP Institute (BFI), Nowhere to PlayLVVXPPDULVHGDVD¿OPWKDWµORRNVDWWKHZRUOGRI the middle-class black in Soweto, focusing on the two founding members of the allblack West Orlando Golf Club, Peter Vundla and Ray Mollison’ (BFI 2012). In Angus
*LEVRQ¶V¿OPRJUDSK\WKH¿OPLVGHVFULEHGDVµDGRFXPHQWDU\DERXWWKHHPHUJLQJ black middle class for British Channel 4’ (La Toma Press Kit). The middle class LVH[WUHPHO\GLI¿FXOWWRGH¿QHLQDQ\FRQWH[W±LWLVQRWD¿[HGVRFLDOFDWHJRU\EXW ‘a working social concept, a material experience, a political project, and a cultural SUDFWLFH±DOORIZKLFKDFTXLUHPHDQLQJRQO\ZLWKLQVSHFL¿FKLVWRULFDOH[SHULHQFHV and discursive conditions’ (López and Weinstein 2012: 21). The notion of the middle class is even more contested when deployed in relation to categories of race. This article aims to elucidate these complexities and treats the ‘black middle class’ as a social construction, rather than an objective social category which can be simply and VXFFLQFWO\GH¿QHG
Nowhere to Play presents the lifestyles, values and political views of members of the West Orlando Golf Club, formed in the late 1970s. The club was created by a group of relatively well-to-do golf enthusiasts from Soweto who, lacking a good quality golf-course in the township and excluded by apartheid laws from joining ‘white’ clubs, found themselves with nowhere regular to play.