Challenging Old Global Attitudes? Media Images of South Africa during the 2010 FIFA World Cup

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In accordance with the awarding of sporting mega-events to developing nations, the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa provided a unique opportunity to evaluate how both the domestic and international media framed, constructed and reproduced the tournament’s first African host nation.  As a result, this investigation was grounded within a broader discussion regarding the growing trend for developing countries to bid and host global sporting mega-events.

Underpinning this investigation was the suggestion that as the popularity of hosting such events moves from the established West to other areas amongst the world’s periphery, an equalizing of power differentials can be observed.  Accordingly, in order to determine how both the media chose to frame South Africa’s ‘re-branding’ during the 2010 World Cup, a qualitative thematic content analysis of the printed press from South Africa (English speaking), England (U.K.) and the United States was undertaken.

Ultimately, this research provided a critical insight into the global development objectives of FIFA and the ‘African Renaissance’ agenda, which underpinned the marketing of South Africa’s World Cup.  Such objectives, it is argued, can have damaging consequence for the global image and identity of developing host nations, particularly when such discourses become uncritically promoted within the public arena.