n Commonwealth Youth and Development - Realising dreams : nation building in a transforming society

Volume 9, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1727-7140



Nation building is a social process of transforming an underdeveloped, poor and divided society into a peaceful community with equal opportunities and economic viability. The core political objective for South Africa's general elections in 1994 was to create a united, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic country; thus nation building became a national Governmental preoccupation. The social identity of South Africans today presents excellent opportunities for investigating different psychological and sociological motivations that may drive identification with the "nation", and the conditions under which particular kinds of motives come to the fore. In sport, the implementation of affirmative action to ensure representation of all racial groups has created a unique social environment. This article captures how learners in the Further Education and Training (FET) phase of the school system are creating their social identities through sport and how this contributes to nation building. Tajfel's 1981 social identity theory provides a theoretical framework for analysing the unique identities of learners in a transforming society. The study is based on data generated from structured and in-depth interviews with learners in the provincial sports teams of KwaZulu-Natal. The findings indicate that through sports, learners are beginning to create a unique identity, both personal and social, which firmly establishes the foundation for nation building with the ultimate reward of realising their dream to play sport for their country.

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