Racism in sport dialogue

By Zinzile Mavuso

The Anti-Racism Network South Africa (ARNSA) held a round table discussion on June 30 at the Nelson Mandela Foundation to discuss the role of sports in combating racism. Communications Intern, Zinzile Mavusa attended the meeting and shares her insights.


Aimed at exploring the opportunities of sports and its cohesive culture as a catalyst to address the issue of racism, the discussion session proved to be both informative and inclusive in the endeavours of the network.


Through the various points raised, it became clear how essential sports is in uniting the nation as was evident during the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the 1995 Rugby World Cup, local derbies and intercontinental sporting challenges.


The discussion unpacked some of the pertinent issues in sport relating to racism, transformation as well as the possible solutions.


It was noted that sports could be a vehicle for transformed purpose to promote fair opportunity, equality to access and talent advancement across race and class.


Adversely, there was a concern that sports could be used as a mechanism to demonstrate physical and organisational superiority of some over others.


Some of the key points that came up at the discussion were questions on whether as a country we have a substantive amount of work to deal with the problem of racism.


“Racism is not just a public relations fix; it cannot be fixed with just logos and banners around the streets…Racism is wrong and it is evil; it has no place in our country. We need to engage and unpack all this issues and make a meaningful impact as we go forward” Professor Leon Wessels said.


The meeting concluded with plans for the establishment of a steering committee that will look at solutions and a continuation of similar dialogues. 

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