Afro-pessimism in the French and British Press Coverage of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa

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


The FIFA World Cup receives the largest media coverage on the global agenda and is always the subject of many discussions about globalization, cultural imperialism and nationalism (Jarvie, 2006). However, the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, according to the media reports, was unique because, for the first time, the tournament was hosted on ‘African soil’. This chapter focuses on the French and British press coverage of the 2010 Cup and investigates media representation of South Africa and Africa. Since South Africa was awarded the bid in 2004, there were growing concerns from the organizing committee about the Afro-pessimism of the European media, that is, the sense among Western news media that South Africa would not deliver a successful hosting because African countries are doomed to failure (Gibson, 2010a). This chapter explores this question of Afro-pessimism in the French and British media coverage of the Cup. I will argue that an Afro-pessimist ideology does underlie some of the French and British newspaper coverage of the World Cup. Yet, I will show that there are competing discourses between, and within, the different newspapers. Finally, I will investigate the consequences of South Africa’s successful hosting of the World Cup in terms of disrupting Afro-pessimism and interrupting widespread representations of Africa in the French and British media.


Media Coverage Social Critique South African Context South African Government Stereotyped Image 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Toussaint Nothias 2014

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