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This issue of Agenda presents a range of contributions by writers who offer a post- FIFA World Cup perspective and gender critique of the sports mega-event. The broader issue of the gendered politics of sport in South Africa are situated as relevant to the debates.
The FIFA World Cup positioned as a global sports event, held for the first time ever in Africa with South Africa as host country, was presented as a 100% masculine international and corporate competition. This was not any Cup match. It signalled development for Africa.
Loots and Witts in their Article discuss three case studies to question whether the FIFA goals of being environmentally friendly and ‘gender equal’ hold true and interrogate what kind of development might indeed have taken place.
Wadesango et al write that feminists and gender activists identify the mega-event as a prime example of male hegemony which unfolded with men unproblematically located at the centre, while the existing gender inequalities experienced by women were reinforced. In their Article, they question the exclusion of women from representation in FIFA structures and sports administration generally. Mari Haugaa Engh reiterates the problem of the absence of support for women in sport in her Briefing on Banyana Banyana and their heroic fight against very tough odds to come out on top. She points out that the women’s national team, even though their international record puts the men’s team to shame, have yet to play in the new FIFA stadiums, even though they stand empty. Marizanne Grundlingh discusses the tensions that women soccer players at Stellenbosch University experience around gender and identity.
Several writers discuss the masculinist construction of men and soccer during the FIFA tournament as a feminist issue where women are either peripheral, as cheerleaders, or they are represented as providers of sexual services for soccer players and tourists. In response to the danger of trafficking arising from the demand for sex purported to exist during the World Cup, many organisations responded with information campaigns to alert people to the dangers reported in the media. In her Article, Chandre Gould discusses official reports on trafficking that emerged after the 2010 and previous World Cups and she questions the fear mongering by anti-trafficking campaigners. A Reportback by Massawe and Richteron the programme organised by the Sex Worker Advocacy and Taskforce (SWEAT) points to the unacceptable failing by FIFA, Government and national HIV/AIDS structures to respond to the calls for a moratorium on arrests and for support to protect sex worker’s health. Janine Hicks presents the view of the Commission on Gender Equality in assessing the problems that the World Cup posed for women and offers recommendations for future FIFA games that women in host countries should be aware of to prevent the gendered ineqalities being perpetuated.
Urmilla Bob and Kamilla Swart report on a study on the women who flocked to the FIFA fan parks to enjoy the game and the jorl (party). In their Article the analyse the dominant stereotypes of women supporters of soccer and present the results of research on the 2010 Fan Parks in South Africa.