Visualizing politics in African sport: Political and cultural constructions in Zimbabwean soccer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Football in Zimbabwe represents a variety of socio-economic and political interests, but has also become a means of engaging in dissent and resistance. Football has been a contested terrain - the state has tried to use the game as a means of achieving social control, but it has also been a critical medium for the expression and communication of dissent. In Zimbabwe, subordinate groups have developed forms of social and political representation in a sporting context to challenge authority. Soccer has also been a site for visualizing political contestation, where the visual becomes a means of making politics. Through soft-power discourses rooted in soccer, opposition political movements in Zimbabwe not only gained visibility but also acquired significant political and cultural capital. Football fans in Zimbabwe have used colours, signs and symbols to make political statements and to engage in political action. Football's visual elements ensured political visibility and promoted safe and creative ways of engaging in politics under repressive conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)250-263
Number of pages14
JournalSoccer and Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science


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