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n African Journal of Rhetoric - 'Just a bunch of unbearable, useless individuals' : a decolonial critique on minister Mbalula's rhetoric of South African exceptionalism

Volume 6, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1998-2054

Abstract

The reaction of the South African Minister of Sports, Honourable Fikile Mbalula, to the defeat of the South African national soccer team, Bafana Bafana, by the Nigerian national soccer team, the Super Eagles, during the group stages of the Orange African Nations Championship on the 19th of January 2014 at Cape Town Stadium is something that must not be allowed to escape academic scrutiny of a decolonial kind. This is mainly because the Minister's emotional outburst towards Bafana Bafana contained utterances that revealed how the myth of exceptionalism in South Africa is increasingly becoming the foundation of imagining national identity in the post-apartheid era. Thus, among the accusations that the Minister levelled against the South African national soccer team for being defeated by the Nigerian national soccer team were those of mediocrity, lack of patriotism and respect for the nation; all which revealed not only how the idea of sporting activities is deployed as a symbol of nationhood in post-apartheid South Africa but also how the concept of 'exceptionalism' has become a nodal point for being and becoming South African. This paper is a decolonial critique on Minister Mbalula's rhetoric of 'useless individuals' that was levelled against the South African national soccer team for being defeated by Nigeria during the Orange African Nations Championship of 2014. The paper argues that the idea of South African exceptionalism is a Euro-centric imagination of being and becoming that leads to anti-black racism and Afro-phobia.

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/content/aar_rhetoric/6/1/EJC160849
2014-01-01
2019-10-23

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