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Pan-Africanism and the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa


  • Sabelo J Ndlovu-Gatsheni


This article explores how South Africa's 2010 hosting of the FIFA World Cup became an occasion to try to deepen nationalism and pan-Africanism in the midst of contending discourses that emphasised the economic and developmental meaning of the mega-event. The article uses Michael Billig's concept of ‘banal nationalism’ in combination with the Essex discourse approach to make sense of competing perspectives on the meanings of the World Cup. Its central thesis is that this meaning cannot be understood outside a history of a society emerging from apartheid oppression and racism and aspiring to be a nation and a developed state. The discourse approach makes it possible to read the World Cup as a social and political construction and assists in understanding different subject positions that human agents take up in order to make sense of the event within a society whose national cohesiveness is fragile.

Suggested Citation

  • Sabelo J Ndlovu-Gatsheni, 2011. "Pan-Africanism and the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 28(3), pages 401-413, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:deveza:v:28:y:2011:i:3:p:401-413
    DOI: 10.1080/0376835X.2011.595996

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