The place of Sub-Sahara Africa in the Worldsportsystem

Trudo Dejonghe
2001 Afrika Focus  
The contemporary world sportsystem is developed through globalisation with its homogenisation and heterogenisation processes. The result of these opposite forces is the division of the world in 6 classes. Sub-Sahara Africa underwent, with the exception of South- Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe, a total and passive acceptance of the western (British) modern sports. The place of that part of Africa is analogue to and correlates with its place in Wallerstein's world- system periphery. The
more » ... of modern sports is associated with the spatial diffusion of the 19th century British hegemonic cultural imperialism. The purpose of this policy was a transformation of the traditional society into a modern functional world-culture and the incorporation of that part of the world in the world-system.The anti-western feelings after the independence resulted in a political Pan-Africanism. However, sport and more specific soccer, a typical product of the western domination, has not been rejected. On the contrary, local politicians used it to create a national identity. The strong link between soccer and soil resulted in a strong form of topophily. This connection was transformed into sportnationalism and created in the, through artificial borders developed, nations a unity and a national pride. The outcome of sport games was used to demonstrate the successes in politics and economics. The absence of any political platform on which the Third World had a strong voice brought about that the international sport scene, such as the FIFA, was used for the unification of the Third World against the former colonial powers. Nowadays, the globalisation processes result in an increasing labour migration of African football players to the rich core competitions in Europe. This form of migration can be classified as another form of "cash crop" or in this case "foot drain.. " "As Roman imperialism laid the foundation of modern civilisation and led wild barbarians of these islands (Britain) along the path of progress, so in Africa today we are repaying the debt, and bringing to the dark places of the earth — the abode of barbarism and cruelty — the torch of culture and progress... we hold these countries because it is the genius of our race to colonise, to trade and to govern "(quote by the English educationist Sir Frederick Lugard (1858-1954) in Mandell, 1986: p.102).Key Words: foot drain, globalisation, labour migration, national identity, soccer, sport nationalism, world sport-system.
doi:10.21825/af.v17i1-2.5427 fatcat:ymbndxi2lndene5vgwbnkglbje