The first of the "White Bans"
The first of the "White Bans" occurred in 1971 when the Chairman of the Australian Cricketing Association—Sir Don Bradman—flew to South Africa to meet Vorster. Vorster had expected Bradman to allow the tour of the Australian cricket team to go ahead, but things became heated after Bradman asked why black sportsmen were not allowed to play cricket. Vorster stated that blacks were intellectually inferior and had no finesse for the game. Bradman—thinking this ignorant and repugnant—asked Vorster if he had heard of a man named Garry Sobers. On his return to Australia, Bradman released a one sentence statement: We will not play them until they choose a team on a non-racist basis.
In South Africa, Vorster vented his anger publicly against Bradman, while the African National Congress rejoiced. This was the first time a predominantly white nation had taken the side of multiracial sport, producing an unsettling resonance that more "White" boycotts were coming. Almost twenty years later, on his release from prison, Nelson Mandela asked a visiting Australian statesman if Donald Bradman, his childhood hero, was still alive (Bradman lived until 2001).
In 1971, Vorster altered his policies even further by distinguishing multiracial from multinational sport. Multiracial sport, between teams with players of different races, remained outlawed; multinational sport, however, was now acceptable: international sides would not be subject to South Africa's racial stipulations.
In 1978, Nigeria boycotted the Commonwealth Games because New Zealand's sporting contacts with the South African government were not considered to be in accordance with the 1977 Gleneagles Agreement. Nigeria also led the 32-nation boycott of the 1986 Commonwealth Games because of British prime minister Margaret Thatcher's ambivalent attitude towards sporting links with South Africa, significantly affecting the quality and profitability of the Games and thus thrusting apartheid into the international spotlight. Sporting bans were revoked in 1993, when conciliations for a democratic South Africa were well under way.
In the 1960s, the Anti-Apartheid Movements began to campaign for cultural boycotts of apartheid South Africa. Artists were requested not to present or let their works be hosted in South Africa. In 1963, 45 British writers put their signatures to an affirmation approving of the boycott, and, in 1964, American actor Marlon Brando called for a similar affirmation for films. In 1965, the Writers' Guild of Great Britain called for a proscription on the sending of films to South Africa. Over sixty American artists signed a statement against apartheid and against professional links with the state. The presentation of some South African plays in Britain and the United States was also vetoed. After the arrival of television in South Africa in 1975, the British Actors Union, Equity, boycotted the service, and no British programme concerning its associates could be sold to South Africa. Sporting and cultural boycotts did not have the same impact as economic sanctions, but they did much to lift consciousness amongst normal South Africans of the global condemnation of apartheid.