The Role of Sport in Nation Building

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Nation building is a complex phenomenon and sport alone is not enough to sustain it, but nearly everyone agrees that sport is one of the most powerful human activities in its ability to give meaning to life, to create and interconnect senses of achievement and identity. Dr Dafydd Mills (2018), a professor who has a BA in Theology and Religious studies states that using sport to unite everyone and communities amidst their diversity promotes a culture of peace and humanity. Mills (2018) discusses whether sport forms positive love for ones country in opposition to a negative form which uses cultural diversity as justification for exclusion and xenophobia. Researching the differences between the difference between patriotism and natonalism, Mills (2018) found that nationalists would support their country in any argument or game over its claim, and a patriot would only support their country if they pursued the universal human goods. By finding a clear and distinct difference, Mills (2018) clearly finds that sport builds friendships and draws lines of respect across borders.

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Mike Boit (2008), a director of physical education at the Kenyatta University states that apart from religion, sport is the only forum that can bring people together for a common goal. Not only does it bring people together but it is also used as a political weapon to express unhappiness by boycotting events such as the Olympics. Sports, according to Boit (2008) is most often used to achieve political objectives. According to him, there must be plans to promote and develop sport on a wider scale in order to achieve national connection but due to budgetary allocations worldwide, development is marginalised. According to Mills (2008), it is obvious that the role of sport in national development have not been well articulated or understood.

In contrast, Bizcommunity.com (2019) found that Sport has played and is playing a very important role in conflict resolution, nation building and civilian peacekeeping. They believe that thanks to communication and understanding of the importance of sport that it is in fact boosting the local economy and enhancing social development. Studies done by Bizcommunity.com (2019) shows that sport and recreation make a substantive contribution to building social and human capital. In a nation, the adults within it make a huge difference in nation building, but so do the children. With the help of sports, children all over South Africa have told Bizcommunity.com (2019) that sport has helped improve their trust, social relationships, confidence and social collaboration.

Aamir Bilal (2013) a ports sociologist, conducted scientific studies in developing countries to prove the premise that sport plays a vital role in social and economic longevity of a nation. He found that three markets — sports activities, sports equipment, and sports events — interact to set the wheels in motion for an economic development. Bilal (30123) states that sport has become not only a consumer good, but consumes goods itself. It generates economic wealth and jobs, and at the same time brings health and educational benefits to those who practice it. Although there are differing views on how sports plays a role in nation building, it is agreed upon that it is vital for a nations economic, social and political stability. Sports brings people together, people who are divided by race, religion and culture, and allows for them to have a common interest and goal, for their country to win. 

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