Department or Program



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.

Level of Access

Open Access

First Advisor

Duina, Francesco

Date of Graduation

Spring 5-2016

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Components of Thesis

1 pdf file

Open Access

Available to all.