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Highlanders Football Club and Ndebele Identity Amongst Fans in Zimbabwe

15 Mar 2020 at 20:29hrs | Views
Football is the most popular sport worldwide, and its popularity in Zimbabwe is no exception. It is a game that arouses and inflames passions amongst society and contributes to a polarization within society, polarization is brought up by issues related to identity, ethnicity, language, culture and even perceived historical injustices based along ethnic lines.

Football becomes a theatre, a site of struggle and tensions where identity is constructed, deconstructed, mediated, challenged, questioned, affirmed and celebrated. In a sense, football can be read as a metaphor signifying a struggle for power, dominance and superiority not only between the two protagonists but between societal groups such as ethnic ones.

The encounter between football and identity has always been inevitable as football clubs tend to be formed on the basis of social identity, in this instance a group identity, they identify with a geographic location, social class, racial group, ethnic group and in some cases religious group. Highlanders is viewed by fans as a vehicle of Ndebele expression, it has emerged as the 'only' institution they have following the demise of the monarchy and ZAPU which were representative of Ndebele aspiration and identity.

Fans have given highlanders meaning and shaped it into a club that stands for Ndebele identity and nationalism, captures the Ndebele experience such as Gukurahundi, critique of Shona triumphalism, imagining Ndebele identity, marginalisation, Ndebele-Shona relations.

The paper is divided into five sections, following the introduction is an outline on the theoretical framework used in the study, next will be a discussion on the intersection between football and identity which will be followed by a discussion on Ndebele identity and Highlanders Football Club.

Read the full paper >>>> HERE.

Source - Jefferson Ndimande
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