Visual Culture and the Sporting Event in South Africa: Branding the Nation
This paper looks at the motivations for and outcomes of hosting major sporting events in South Africa through the visual culture produced by past and future events in anticipation of the upcoming Men’s Football World Cup in 2010. South Africa’s sporting history is reviewed and the reasons why sporting events are regarded as useful tools in nation-building and public relations to a national and international audience. South African organizers have consistently used major sporting events to influence national and international understandings of what it means to be South African and the upcoming World Cup will be used for the same end. The visual culture, primarily logos beginning with the Rugby World Cup in 1995 and concluding with images produced for the 2010 Cup, are examined as representations of the evolving definition of “South African.” This paper looks at the ways that some of the objectives for hosting the World Cup can be successfully fulfilled, aided by careful attention to shaping visual culture and its subsequent influence on public perceptions.