The 2003 cricket world cup and its implications for identity formation and democracy in Zimbabwe
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Sports mega-events have the potential to provide a focal point for strengthening national unity and reinforcing national identity. They are also said to be able to provide a catalyst for democratisation and an incentive for human rights observance if hosted by authoritarian or democratically weak regimes. However, the outcomes for host nations are not always pre-determinable. An analysis of South Africa and Zimbabwe's co-hosting of the 2003 Cricket World Cup illustrates this point. A racially charged discourse informed much of the exchanges about Zimbabwe's co-host status, both transnationally within the racial and ethnic contours of the cricket-playing Commonwealth and domestically within the host nations. Instead of the event having a generally liberalising effect on Zimbabwean politics it ultimately aided in further entrenching the regime.
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