Transformation and democratization of South African sport in the new constitutional dispensation, with special reference to rugby as a sport code
This thesis traces and analyses the development of sport transformation and democratization in South Africa since the new constitutional dispensation, commencing in the early 1990’s. The origin, evolution and development of sport in South Africa are still in its infancy in comparison with sporting history in the global context. However, tremendous strides have also been made in other sport events, such as hosting rugby, soccer, cricket and golf, for example, at an international level. Furthermore, the knowledge about sport and democracy was not well addressed, defined and explicit. Additionally, the transformation and democratization of South African sport have been given only superficial attention since the dawn of the new democracy. In this regard rugby and politics have been intertwined in South African sport for more than fifteen decades (1861–2012). There was virtually no racial mixing of any kind in South African sport previously. The all-encompassing apartheid laws effectively prevented racial integration, both on and off the field. Above all sports apartheid was tragic in its denial of human dignity and its enforced waste of human talent and possibilities. Therefore, by using the grounded theory approach, this thesis examines empirical evidence gathered from the research participant’s data and information. The scope and nature of the research project necessitate applying the grounded theory approach which included many issues at hand to understand the origin and development of the issues, one has to determine whether transformation and democratisation of South African sport was politically or merit driven. In addition to that, a key outcome of the research was to construct a proposed theoretical framework by means of the grounded theory approach in qualitative research. The framework will eventually emerge from data collected from the relevant stakeholders involving in South African sport. The study also examines to what extent transformation has taken place since the new constitutional dispensation in the country. What progress has been made and at what pace. The latter issues necessitate the possibility to investigate the problem regarding quota systems, merit selection and development programmes in rugby. These issues form an integral part of the research on transformation and democratization in rugby. The thesis also addresses the questions on what is the relationship between sport and politics since the new democratic order in 1994.What are the basic assumptions that define transformation and democratization? Do representative teams at all levels reflect the demographics of the society or only the participating sport people? How appropriate are the principles of transformation? For example, democracy, non-racialism, equity and access, redress and representatively are principles which can be utilised or used to explain the process of transformation? Therefore to interface between rugby and sport has become a major focus of attention. Transformation in rugby since the unification in 1992 is not simply about replacing white faces with black faces but involved personal attitudinal, institutional and paradigm changes. By applying the grounded theory approach it was possible that all relevant theoretical contrasts could emerge as a possible theory. Political change in South Africa since 1994 has led to the transformation and democratization of sporting bodies and the acceptance of non-racialism in sport. But since 1995 Rugby World Cup transformation is viewed with suspicion from both the Blacks and Whites. The thesis attempts to address this vicious cycle of wrong perceptions. The conflict in sport is so intense because South Africa is culturally a mixed society. But clinging to the past both Blacks and Whites are dangerous obstacles to transformation. In fact, sport should be seen as a great equaliser in society. The research framework has been constructed from the data collected from the recorded narrative of the participants. The interpretation of the data created the context of emerging themes.
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