The 2003 Cricket World Cup : implications for identity formation and democratization prospects for Zimbabwe

Thesis

Van der Merwe, Justin Daniel Sean
Abstract

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: There can be little doubt about the ability of major international sporting events to capture the aspirations and hopes of nations. These events have an uncanny ability of seemingly effortlessly doing what a hundred speeches and mass rallies by politicians could only hope to achieve. Therefore, it is no surprise that they are commonly understood to be able to bring nations and people together and provide a focus for national identity and unity. The 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa is an obvious proponent of such a claim, whereby South Africa was emerging from a long and arduous political transition and needed something more than going to the polling booths to unite the nation. Major international sporting events are also said to be able to provide a catalyst or incentive for democratization and human rights enhancement in authoritarian or semi-authoritarian regimes. The 1988 Olympics in South Korea is a landmark of such claims whereby the South Korean government was said to bow to the democratizing pressures exerted on it due to its hosting of the event. Many have argued that China’s hosting of the Olympics in 2008 will have a similar effect. However, equally potent, major international sporting events can have various unintended consequences in terms of identity formation, democratization prospects and human rights for the host nations. An analysis of South Africa and Zimbabwe’s co-hosting of the 2003 Cricket World Cup demonstrates this point. The outcomes of the study suggest that whilst it is normally the intention for the host nations to use the games to bring nations and people together, the Cricket World Cup opened up a rift between races, both within the race contours of the cricket playing Commonwealth world and within South Africa's domestic politics. It was also established that much like the 1995 Rugby World Cup had sought to reconcile blacks and whites domestically under the “Rainbow Nation” during Mandela's presidency, the 2003 Cricket World Cup, with its more regional focus and under Mbeki’s presidency, presented an excellent opportunity for transnational reconciliation between Africa and the Anglo-Saxon world. However, the 2003 Cricket World Cup, as a project in racial reconciliation, was essentially a failure. This was predominantly due to the choice by South Africa of Zimbabwe as co-host and due to the shift of South Africa's national identity from that of the “Rainbow Nation” under Mandela, to that of “Africanism” under Mbeki. President Mbeki’s drive towards “Africanism” proved divisive both transnationally and domestically. Symbolically, the Cricket World Cup, when compared with the 1995 Rugby World Cup, had served to highlight the decline of the “Rainbow Nation”. Zimbabwe's co-hosting of the event had served to further entrench the authoritarian regime. Instead of the regime opening up due to its co-hosting of the event, a broad clampdown on civil and political liberties was experienced. The Zimbabwean government felt the need to tighten its grip during the lead up to the event and throughout the tournament itself. The aim was to project a sanitized view of Zimbabwe to the rest of the world. Thus, the event presented an opportunity for the government to shore up its credibility and produce political propaganda. South Africa’s stance of “quiet diplomacy” also indirectly helped to further entrench the regime through the World Cup. Zimbabwe's co-hosting also impacted negatively on the opposition, the MDC. In addition to this, the various pressures which major events are said to exert on a host nation to reform politically and which result from boycott campaigns, pressure from the media, stimulation of civil society and protests, were not very effective in enhancing democratization prospects and human rights in Zimbabwe. This study reaches the overall conclusion that the claims that major events bring nations and people together and provide a catalyst or incentive for democratization and human rights enhancement in authoritarian regimes, need further revision. South Africa and Zimbabwe's co-hosting of the event did indeed have unintended consequences. Policy implications are also assessed. Future areas for research are also identified.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Daar bestaan min twyfel dat groot internasionele sportgebeurtenisse die strewes en verwagtinge van nasies aanwakker. Hierdie gebeutenisse het die vermoë om op ‘n oënskylike moeitelose wyse meer te bereik as wat ‘n honderd toesprake en massavergaderings deur politici kan hoop om te bereik. Daarom is dit geen verrassing nie dat daar vry algemeen aanvaar word dat hierdie gebeurtenisse oor die vermoë beskik om nasies en mense by mekaar te bring en ‘n fokus vir nasionale identiteit en eenheid kan verskaf. Die 1995 Rugby Wêreldbeker in Suid-Afrika, is ‘n ooglopende voorbeeld: Suid Afrika het uit ‘n lang en moeilike politieke oorgang gekom en het meer as ‘n blote verkiesing nodig gehad ten einde die nasie te verenig. Voorts is dit ook so dat groot internasionale sportgebeurtenisse ‘n katalisator of aansporing is vir demokratisering en die bevordering van mensregte in outoritêre en semi-outoritêre regerings. Die 1988 Olimpiese Spele in Suid-Korea ondersteun hierdie aanspraak. As gasheerland van hierdie spele, het die Suid-Koreaanse regering onder toenemende druk gekom om aan die vereistes van demokrasie te voldoen. Daar word verwag dat die Olimpiese Spele van 2008 dieselfde impak op China, die gasheerland, sal hê. Terselfdertyd is dit egter ook so dat groot internasionale sportgebeurtenisse vir die gasheerlande onverwagte negatiewe gevolge ten opsigte van identiteitsvorming, demokratiseringsvooruitsigte en bevordering van menseregte kan hê. n’ Ontleiding van Sui-Afrika en Zimbabwe se mede-aanbieding van die 2003 Krieket Wêreldbeker staaf hierdie stelling. Die resultate van die studie toon aan dat alhoewel gasheerlande normaalweg groot sportgebeurtenisse gebruik om nasies en mense byeen te bring, het die 2003 Krieket Wêreldbeker ‘n kloof tussen rasse veroorsaak – binne die krieketspelende Statebondswêreld sowel as die Suid- Afrikaanse huishoudelike politiek. Daar is ook vasgestel dat net soos die 1995 Rugby Wêreldbeker aan Suid-Afrika tydens die presidentskap van Mandela en onder die vaandel van die “Reënboognasie” ‘n plaaslike versoeningsgeleentheid tussen swart en wit gebied het, net so het die 2003 Krieket Wêreldbeker, met sy regionale fokus en onder presidentskap van Mbeki, ook ‘n uitstekende geleentheid vir trans-nasionale versoening tussen Afrika en die Anglo-Saksiese wêreld gebied. As versoeningsprojek was die 2003 Krieket Wêreldbeker egter in wese ‘n mislukking, hoofsaaklik as gevolg van Suid-Afrika se besluit dat Zimbabwe ‘n mede-gasheer moes wees en weens die feit dat Suid-Afrika se nasionale identiteit ‘n klemverskuiwing van “Reënboognasie” onder Mandela tot “Afrikanisme” onder Mbeki, ondergaan het. President Mbeki se beklemtoning van “Afrikanisme” was ook huishoudelik en trans-nasionaal verdelend. Simbolies gesproke, het die Krieket Wêreldbeker – in teenstelling met die Rugby Wêreldbeker – die “Reënboognasie” se verkwyning beklemtoon. Daar is ook vasgestel dat Zimbabwe se mede-aanbieding van die Krieket Wêreldbeker inderdaad hierdie outoritêre regering versterk het. In plaas daarvan die Zimbabwiese regering sy outoritêre greep as gevolg van sy mede-aanbieding verslap het, was daar inderdaad ‘n verdere breë onderdrukking van burgerlike en politieke regte. Die Zimbabwiese regering het in die aanloop tot en in die loop van die toernooi sy outoritêre greep verstewig ten einde ‘n gesaniteerde beeld van Zimbabwe aan die res van die wêreld te kon voorhou. Die Zimbabwiese regering het die geleentheid misbruik om geloofwaardigheid te probeer wen en politieke propaganda uit te stuur. Suid-Afrika se standpunt van “stille diplomasie” het ook die hand van Zimbabwiese regering versterk; en Zimbabwe se mede-aanbieding van die toernooi het ‘n negatiewe impak op die opposisie, die MDC, gehad. Die dwang wat op gasheerlande deur middel van boikotte, die media en proteste uitgeoefen kan word om polities te hervorm, was in die geval van Zimbabwe nie effektief nie. In hierdie studie word tot die slotsom gekom dat die aansprake dat groot sportgebeurtenisse nasies en mense saambring en ‘n aansporing vir demokratisering van outoritêre regerings is, verdere hersiening verg. Suid-Afrika en Zimbabwe se mede-aanbieding van die toernooi het onbeoogde gevolge gehad – en in sommige gevalle was hierdie gevolge selfs direk die teenoorgestelde van wat verwag is. Beleidsimplikasies word ook evalueer. Voorts word toekomstige navorsingsareas ook identifiseer.

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