Here you can download the file with the documents we studied in class today. The question was : What can sport teach us about a country and the division within its society ?
The first example we talked about, South Africa, is a country where Football is the impoverished black majority sport while rugby is the wealthy white minority one. Just think about the name of the national team for each sport : "Bafana Bafana" a Zulu name for the National football team and "Springbok", an Afrikaans term for the rugby team.
As we said in class, despite the South-African government efforts to build a multiracial society, the expected "rainbow nation" is still an illusion or a work in progress to be optimistic.
The 1995 iconic picture of the Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg when Pdt Nelson Mandela hand the rugby World Cup trophy over François Pienaar, the Springbok captain, was a beautiful symbol of Mandela's will to use the national rugby team as a reconciliation tool. But 20 years later the try is actually not converted yet...
The story of a secret pact between the new South African president, the first black one to be elected after the end of the apartheid, and François Pienaar is told in Clint Eastwood's Invictus.
The second topic was about Ireland.
The division of the island between the catholic independent Republic of Ireland (Eire) and the protestant Northern Ireland part of the UK, can be seen through sports : Gaelic sports such as Hurling are a part of the Irish identity and a symbol of its independence from the UK, while rugby and football are seen as English sports, foreign sports indeed for most of Gaelic sports fan.
To know more about sport in Ireland, as well as its independence from the UK, the confuse question of the Irish rugby team anthem and the symbolic place of Croke Park stadium, and even some facts about Scotland and Wales, read this previous article... it's in french but nobody's perfect !
Below you can watch a short video presentation of this very spectacular and (very) fast Gaelic game.