Peter Alegi is an Assistant Professor of History and a Core Faculty member of the African Studies Center at Michigan State University. He is the author of _Laduma! Soccer, Politics, and Society in South Africa_ (University of KwaZulu-Natal Press, 2004). Currently, Alegi is working on a book manuscript entitled _African Soccerscapes: Sport, Race, Nation, and Capitalism_ (Ohio University Press, forthcoming 2009). It explores how Africans appropriated football—the leviathan of African sport—as an amateur pastime and how subsequent local and global dynamics have made football in Africa into a professional industry shaped by labor migration, transnational capital, and mass media. Alegi’s keen interest in the intersections between social history and cultural history, gender history, labor history, and political history inform his new research on the history of community-based beauty pageants in South Africa. Alegi teaches courses in South African and African history, comparative history of sport, and he supervises several doctoral students. He serves as Book Reviews Editor for _Soccer and Society_ and is a member of the Editorial Board of the _International Journal of African Historical Studies_. In January 2008, Alegi and Peter Limb launched the “Africa Past & Present” podcast at: http://afripod.aodl.org/
Watchdogs and Boosters:
Media and Politics in South Africa’s Build Up to the 2010 World CupIn 2010, the football (soccer) World Cup will be held on African soil for the first time. South Africa’s democratic government, big business, and organized labor intend to use the planet’s most popular sporting event to build a “national brand” for global and local consumption. This paper explores the role of the media in the preparations for 2010 by considering their impact on the politics of stadium construction in Cape Town and Durban. It is part of a much larger book project on South Africa’s 2010 experience, which is divided into three parts: (a) Preparations (2004-2009); (b) Tournament (2010); (C) Impact and Aftermath (2010-2014).
Drawing on extensive 2010 coverage in South African newspapers, magazines, and internet sites, as well as radio and television networks, the paper investigates whether media reporting on 2010 stadium construction has reflected the strength of a democratic process. With specific focus on the publicly subisidized World Cup stadiums being built in Cape Town and Durban, how has the publicly owned South African Broadcasting Company handled the question of “objectivity”? Has it embraced a booster ideology instead? What is the role of private media? Have newspapers, for instance, functioned as “watchdogs” of government or boosters? How has the internet influenced the process? The paper concludes with a comparison of the evidence from South Africa with the media bias in favor of building stadiums found in the United States.