School Sports: The Missing Dimension in the Debate about Sports Transformation in Democratic South Africa Since 1994
This study examines debates about sports in post-apartheid South Africa where there is great pressure on sports bodies and administrators to transform the game by introducing more Black players and administrators into the mainstream sports arena. While the government blames the lack of racial transformation on White administrators, this paper argues, through a case study of the township of Chatsworth in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, that the government must accept part of the blame because it was instrumental in the collapse of sports at school where future sports stars are nurtured. This has resulted in a class based system where mainly rich children in private and “Model C” schools have access to expert coaching and outstanding facilities from a young age which gives them a head start in the race to achieve sporting success. Reversing this trend requires
a great deal of will and dedication on the part of sports administrators, and policy interventions and resources on the part of government to make facilities available to all children and young people across the country, while also addressing long term issues of malnutrition and poverty which is connected to sporting performances. Unless such intervention is forthcoming, race and class will continue to determine sporting access and opportunities for young people.