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Influence of Sports in South Africa

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Influence of Sports in South Africa

The Republic of South Africa is a country located at the southern tip of Africa, surrounded by both the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. About a quarter of the population is unemployed and lives on less than US$ 1.25 a day. South Africa achieved the status of a republic in 1961. Due to European influences a lot of discriminative laws where in effect until 1990. After many protests and the rebellion of more black South Africans, negotiations began and democratic elections where finally held in 1994.

Africa is known for their diversity in cultures, languages, ethnicity, and religious beliefs. There are eleven official languages that are recognized in the constitution. English is the most commonly spoken language in the public, however, it is only the fifth most-spoken language used in homes. South Africa contains the largest European, Indian, and racially mixed communities in Africa. Although 79.5% of the South African population is Black, the people are from a variety of ethnic groups speaking different Bantu languages. There are estimated to be 513 different types of Bantu languages in the regions commonly known as central Africa, east Africa, and southern Africa. Nine of these are considered an official language.

South Africa is a sports crazy nation with its most popular sports being football (soccer), rugby, and cricket. International matches and big local matches are full of intensity from not only the athletes but the fans. Watching videos online, you can really begin to see the passion, heart, and emotion that take place at these venues.

Sports in South Africa were not always this passionate though. During the Apartheid era, racially segregated sport was a highly discussed issue. Basil D'Oliviera, one of South Africa's prominent cricket players, was disqualified from local first class cricket play on the grounds of race. D'Oliviera went to live in England in 1960, becoming one of the stars of the English team. When he was selected for a 1968 tour of South Africa, the apartheid government banned him from the tour. This turned South Africa into an international sports rejection, but it was a moment that first began to help heal the country's racial controversies.

In 1992, the country returned to the Olympics for the first time since it was banned 32 years earlier. In the women's 10,000 meter finals in Barcelona, two runners dominated the field. One was South African Elana Meyer and the other was Ethiopian Derartu Tulu. With just meters to go, Tulu went ahead and become the first African woman to win an Olympic title. This eventually showed little significance compared to what happened after the race. Tulu and Meyer ran a victory lap together, each with their countries flag draped on their back. A white South African and a black African together, cheered on by the crowds. This moment showed that South Africa was ready for change, and this allowed the people of South Africa to see that change was near.

Football (soccer) is the most popular and the most widely played sport in South Africa. For many South Africans, the country's proudest sporting moment came when they won the African Nations Cup on home turf in 1996. Soccer is intensely followed, and the quality of play keeps improving. This can be shown by the increasing number of South African players in exile playing for the richer European clubs. It is starting to collect serious money and is considered a symbol of there country's past and their struggle for a governing democracy. Football was segregated until it became a focus point for the non- racial sports movement. In 1991, it became the first sport in South Africa to become non-segregated and was a major step forward towards there eventual democracy. Because of this, South Africa showed its dedication to the sport of football by building 5 new stadiums for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Before this South Africa had no venues dedicated



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