Edited by Wolfgang Maennig and Andrew Zimbalist
Chapter 8: Can Mega Events Deliver Sustainability? The Case of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa
Anton Cartwright* 1 INTRODUCTION ‘Ke Nako’ – it is time. These are the bold words that ushered in the 2010 FIFA World Cup between 11 June 2010 and 11 July 2010 in South Africa. ‘Time for what, exactly?’ was never totally clear. It was a football event, but everyone, from politicians to business people, social justice movements and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) hoped that Africa’s first hosting of the world’s largest mega event would boost their interests. As it transpired the 2010 Football World Cup was declared a success. FIFA awarded the country ‘9 out of 10 . . . a summa cum laude’ for its efforts (Blatter, 2010). The criteria for making these judgements vary and are vague, but South Africa became only the third host country since 1930 to attract more than three million paying spectators, the showpiece was responsible for the word ‘vuvuzela’ being entered into the Oxford Dictionary of English, and the FIFA World Cup showcased South Africa in a favourable light. For a country such as South Africa where the social fabric has repeatedly been fractured and the future remains highly contested, the opportunity to feel good about itself was not trivial. Aligning behind a single cause provided much needed support for the ongoing effort to build a new and more just society. South Africa’s successful hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup was preceded by its efforts on smaller – but none the less significant – events including the 1995 Rugby World Cup, the 2000 Summit on Sustainable Development, the...
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