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Reinforcing Divisions and Blurring Boundaries in Johannesburg Football Fandom

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Identity and Nation in African Football

Part of the book series: Global Culture and Sport ((GCS))

Abstract

Danny Jordaan, the CEO of South Africa’s World Cup organizing committee, claimed that, ‘If there is one thing on this planet that has the power to bind people together it is football’ (FIFA.com, n.d.). Yet, the soccer landscape in Johannesburg suggested otherwise. Black fans make up the vast majority of spectators at Premier Soccer League (PSL) games and, at times, I found myself to be the only white person in the crowd.1 When white, Indian and colored fans attended Manchester United’s 2008 pre-season tour of South Africa to support the English giants, readers’ letters and editorials in the Johannesburg press laid accusations of racism against these fans (Fletcher, 2010). Ethnographies of, and semi-structured interviews with, the Johannesburg branches of the respective Manchester United and Kaizer Chiefs supporters’ clubs during 2008–09 revealed divided identities in the city soccer fandom and wider divisions in everyday life in the city.

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© 2014 Marc Fletcher

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Fletcher, M. (2014). Reinforcing Divisions and Blurring Boundaries in Johannesburg Football Fandom. In: Onwumechili, C., Akindes, G. (eds) Identity and Nation in African Football. Global Culture and Sport . Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137355812_9

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