The African Sporting Body and Race in Contemporary Global Media
Sport and its display of active bodies was a key site of the reinforcement of difference between British colonizers and the colonized in Africa and beyond. The disciplining of the body through organized British sports was viewed as a pathway towards civilized status for native peoples and often was instrumental in establishing difference between local leaders and the rest of native peoples in British colonies in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. During the twentieth century, national teams from dominions and later other colonies defeated British teams ensuring their place in the modern sporting pantheon. As decolonization progressed and international sport democratized, national teams from former colonies received equal footing in many respects, however, racial codes of reporting and understanding remained, if in subtler forms.
This paper examines two recent case studies in international sport, one examines an African swimmer from the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, and the other a white South African cricketer who was found guilty of accepted bribes to throw matches in 2001. These cases illuminate the ways in which racialized codes in the international media serve to continue the distinctions between the white and European and the black and brown Other even though the boundaries are shifting.
John Nauright is Professor of Sport Management and
Director of the Graduate Programs in Sport Management and Recreation
Administration at Georgia Southern University. His PhD is in African
history from Queen's University in Canada and his MA in African and
British history from the University of South Carolina. He has published
widely on sport in Africa and is the author of Sport, Cultures and
Identities in South Africa (1997) and co-author with David Black
of Rugby and the South African
Nation (1998). His most recent publication is on the political economy of global sporting events and developing nations which appears in Third
World Quarterly. He was Foundation editor of the journal Football
Studies and is former editor of International Sports Studies, the
journal of the International Society for Comparative Physical Education and Sport. He has taught in the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Scotland
and Canada and has been visiting professor in Denmark, South Africa, Canada and England.