Date of Graduation

Spring 5-2016

Level of Access

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department or Program


Number of Pages


First Advisor

Duina, Francesco


This thesis explores how South Africa, as host of the 1995 Rugby World Cup and 2010 FIFA World Cup, leveraged the events to re-imagine itself to both a national and international audience. Current research considers the relationship between nationalism, national identity, nation branding, and the contribution of sports mega-events to non-sporting objectives. However, it does not address how hosting sports mega-events can accelerate a fundamental shift in nationalism and national identity within a country undergoing democratization. Incorporating existing literature on sports mega-events and theories of nationalism and national identity, this thesis finds that sports mega-events can be employed to devise new national narratives, underscoring the intersection between the international community, sports mega-events, and host nations. The selection of South Africa as host for these seminal events suggests an affirmation by international governing bodies that the "Rainbow Nation" is being accepted as a modern, global player, poised to leverage the platform afforded by the events to re-imagine the country’s sense of nation.

Components of Thesis

1 pdf file

Open Access

Available to all.