Sport as Catalyst: Change in South Africa

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Change is universal and constant. In the individual, the family, the community, the society, and the nation, it is an unyielding force that drives us. The question, however, is not whether or not change drives us forward or backward; change obviously can only move forward. The question is whether change drives us upward or downward, or even both. In the case of South Africa immediately post-Apartheid, there can be no denying that the force of change propelled the nation forward. Whether change was driving South Africa upward or downward, though, depended largely on the race of whom you were asking. According to Leslie and Finchilescu (2013), at the time approaching the end of Apartheid, black South African writers much more often wrote in various forms of media envisioning an optimistic future for their country than did white writers (pp. 340-355). This suggests that white South Africans largely saw the end of apartheid as symbolizing blacks being free to overrun their country and destroy their way of life. Blacks, however, saw it quite differently. The majority saw the future as an opportunity for reconciliation through peace and cooperation. (Leslie and Finchilescu, 2013). It is apparent that the country was still quite divided. This is the dilemma that Nelson Mandela faced in 1994, when he was elected President of South Africa. This is also set the stage for Clint Eastwood’s 2009 film, Invictus. In Invictus, we see how sport can serve as the catalyst for social change. The South African national rugby team, the Springboks, would bring the country together and promote reconciliation between the optimistic blacks and the fearful whites. As we know, sport is a microcosm of society, and what i... ... middle of paper ... ...n rugby, 2007- 2011. South African Journal Of Sports Medicine, 24(3), 81-86. Keohane, M. (2004). Springbok rugby uncovered. Cape Town: Zebra Press. Leibbrandt, M., Finn, A., & Woolard, I. (2012). Describing and decomposing post-apartheid income inequality in South Africa. Development Southern Africa, 29(1), 19-34. Leslie, T., & Finchilescu, G. (2013). Perceptions of the future of South Africa: a 2009 replication. South African Journal Of Psychology, 43(3), 340-355. Sage, G. H & Eitzen, D. S. (2013). Sociology of North American sport (9th ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Spaull, N. (2013). Poverty & privilege: primary school inequality in South Africa. International Journal of Educational Development, 33(5), 436-447. Vincent, L., & Stevenson, S. (2010). Rethinking rugby and the rainbow nation. Journal Of African Media Studies, 2(3), 287-296.
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