I am a Fulbright Scholar from South Africa currently completing my Masters in International Development Studies at Ohio University. My major focus is Political Development, with a special interest in post-conflict reconstruction in Africa in particular Liberia, nationalism and ethnic conflict, international relations, comparative studies, South Africa's democratization and South African foreign policy. My undergrad degree is in Political Science and Journalism and Media Studies at Rhodes University, South Africa. I come from the small town of Umthatha, Eastern Cape Province. My motto for 2010? Got it from my dear friend Alude Mahali "This is the year that i come in and just devastate."
The Super-diplomat: Thabo Mbeki’s African Renaissance and South Africa FIFA World Cup 2010
In defining Thabo Mbeki as the super-diplomat, Olivier (2003) argues that “while the original pan-Africanists sought the ‘political kingdom’ for Africa”, Thabo Mbeki “casts himself as a neo-pan-Africanist, seeking the economic kingdom for the ailing continent,” (p. 815). The paper argues that South Africa’s victory to host the 2010 Soccer World Cup was an extension of South Africa’s foreign policy agenda. In particular the narratives used by South Africa in gaining support to host this mega-sporting event became an emblem of Thabo Mbeki’s continental and international agenda of constructing South Africa as a leader and voice of the African continent. South Africa’s potential to host the World Cup became part of Mbeki’s rhetoric and prophesy of an African rebirth. The paper will also argue that the 1995 Rugby World Cup hosted and won by South Africa, which gave the world the first imagery of South Africa’s potential to become the post-Apartheid ‘rainbow nation’, contributed symbolically to Nelson Mandela’s domestic agenda of nation building and reconciliation. South Africa’s slogan “It’s Africa’s turn” in the bidding for the World Cup symbolized a shift from a domestic rhetoric to a continental one, under Mbeki. The paper asks: how much of South Africa's ability to win the bid to host the world cup was due to its foreign policy at the time? In particular, how did Thabo Mbeki's role as the main protagonist for an African Renaissance contribute to the world's imagination of seeing the World Cup as a contribution to the rebirth of Africa? What are the consequences and implications of this pan-Africanist construction of the World Cup? Lastly, how will South Africa's foreign policy and face in the world change in the current leadership of Jacob Zuma? It will be concluded that South Africa faces the challenge of combining the domestic vision of a ‘rainbow nation’ with that of a greater African kingdom. Mbeki’s fall from power was symbolic of this urgency to ‘save’ both Africa and South Africa simultaneously.