Communication and political protest in sport: a case study of cross-national support in post-apartheid South Africa

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 16
  • Abstract:

    The interrelationship between politics and (political) communication has increased dramatically since the advent of mass media. During the modern era, mass media plays an important role to articulate societal, political and social demands. In many instances, political action is a reaction to political communication from the mass media, but also from civil society, individuals in society and other role-players. In the modern era the mass media has become political actors deeply integrated within the political process. This is partly the result of a decline in political socialisation, where the family in their role as primary agents play a lesser role as a result of the media’s role as principle agents through which information and policies are being presented to the public. However, during the apartheid years, mass media in South Africa predominantly articulated support to the government, and disenfranchised communities were left with few channels to articulate their grievances. The disenfranchised communities used different channels to articulate their grievances. One channel that was used was sport. Visiting teams to South Africa were supported to illustrate dissatisfaction with their position in society. However, after the democratisation of the country, the expectation was that support would be transferred back to the national team. This article investigates this continued phenomenon of cross-national support and provides a number of reasons to explain the reasoning behind this form of political protest.