The Roots of Sport project commemorates leaders who have used sport to transform lives at both grassroots and elite levels. The first three projects focus on the Black British tradition of using ‘Sport’ to rescue Black lives and to build better communities based on equity and universal respect. There is much more to the Black British Sport tradition than just ‘medalled’ performances; for example, there is evidence of using Sport to defeat exclusion by race, gender, sexuality and disability; which bears resemblance to the great African tradition of using Sport as panacea and is as valid as great or medalled performances.
The Black/African tradition of using Sport as a ‘cure-all’ can be evidenced across almost the entire span of the history of humanity. It has been widely acknowledged that organized, competitive sport began in Ancient Greece and there is no denying that Ancient Greece was the birthplace of the Ancient Olympic Games, which led to the establishment of the Games of the Modern Olympiads. However, much attention needs to be paid to the precursor developments of organized, competitive sport within Ancient Egypt/Kemet, the Black Land. This is acknowledged by the writer Nigel Spivey in his book, The Ancient Olympics (Oxford University Press, 2004). Evidence within archaeological sites and documentary collections suggest skills previously the preserve of survival-related domains of hunting and war were transformed into activities displaying social power or prestige. Evidence from Ancient Egypt confirms sports as wrestling, archery, stick fighting as well as forms of athletics and gymnastics. Games and other modes of play, which include board and table games (chess, etc.) existed and were developed in Ancient Kemet. Material from these sources, together with possibly earlier material contained in Africa’s extensive and remarkable store of rock and cave painting/engraving created in various locations, from the Sahara to the southern tip of the African continent, supply abundant confirmation of the role and early presence of Sport, play and games in African social life.