Dictatorships, disasters, and African soccer: Reflections on a moment in Zimbabwean soccer
This article is a reflection on a particular moment in Zimbabwean soccer, the National SportsStadiumdisasterofJuly2000.Reading thesoccerstadiumasadensesemiotic site with many slippages of symbols and meanings, the article draws links between the game of football and that of politics. Both games offer narratives of the nation that constantly collide and merge as they share the same features. Complex rules regulate both games but there is always a potential for dictatorship, subversion, and disaster. Using the trope suggested by the novelist, poet, and cultural critic, Chenjerai Hove, on dictatorship in soccer and politics, the article attends to areas of rule bending and flouting that diminish fair play and justice. The article uses the football stadium disaster genre to argue for a redemptive politics and politics of the human in the practices and ideologies of both ZANU PF and MDC, the arch-rivals in the political struggles in Zimbabwe. © 2011 Taylor & Francis.