« Can the World Cup bridge South Africa’s sporting divide? »
1. In what ways are South African sports divided along racial lines and what factors perpetuate this “segregation”?
Racial segregation has ruled the major part of South Africa’s History and seems to remain along time. Though apartheid has been abolished in 1994, black and white populations stick to old habits regarding certain fields. If you look closer into sports, for instance, you will discover that some are considered for black and some for Afrikaners. Take football. It used to be played exclusively by white people and avidly followed by this population. But in the eighties the game became multi-racial and black people began to play soccer. It wouldn’t take much more for Afrikaners to abandon football. After letting it down, seems like they turned to rugby. South Africa hosted the Rugby World Cup in 1995 and only whites were composing the national team, which won the competition. It strengthens the local feeling that Afrikaners are elite. And on the contrary, when you look at the football national team, it’s obvious that they’re not known for their great performances, if not for their colour.
2. In you opinion, do sports unite people in a country or do they cause more disunity?
For a nation like France I would definitely say that sports unite people. Especially for big sporting events like world cups, people get together to watch games and a joyful spirit invades the territory. The only possible division would be between supporters defending different teams. But in the case of a country like South Africa, this article points out that sports are exclusive, depending on people’s race. FIFA World Cup will join South Africans during the two following months, but once the euphoria of the games will be gone, the unity will too. The gap between the black and the white population could still be too wide for a permanent reconciliation. Even though efforts are made in sports to fill the...
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