Women's Bodies & The World Of Football In South Africa

One of the most enduring images of South African sport in the 1990s is that of Nelson Mandela donning the colours of the national rugby team in a gesture of reconciliation that was to mark a period in which sport came to function as a means of nation building in post-apartheid South Africa. In fact, you'd find it difficult to find any significant text on South African sport or reconciliation that doesn't invoke this image. This singular symbolic moment helped to naturalise the belief that black and white would be included in the construction of this 'rainbow nation' as equal partners and citizens of a new democracy. Since the early 1990s, Mandela has been snapped up shaking the hands of members of the national male rugby and soccer teams and sporting their colours on many occasions. Towards the end of October 2006, the South African women's national soccer team, Banyana Banyana, got its first meeting with Mandela. 'The girls' had been waiting eight years for this chance at getting a little taste of 'the Madiba magic'. For them, the brief meeting with the great leader symbolised their final acceptance and recognition by their country, a memory they would cherish and hold high in their upcoming African Women's World Championship games in Nigeria. In interviews with the media, Fran-Hilton Smith, previous coach and manager of the national women's team and current administrator of women's football at SAFA, said, "It's a dream come true".

: 17 August 2010
: Prishani Naidoo
: Paper
Publication Page
: 28
URL Download
Media Type
: Article
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