South African Sports

In sports culture there are 3 main sports played in South, namely rugby, cricket and of course soccer. With the World Cup in South Africa looming in 2010, South Africa has become an economical mine with many cashing in on real estate, shopping developments, marketing brands and much more.

The national soccer team is nicknamed Bafana Bafana and is led by captain, Aaron Mokoena. With the love and passion for soccer running so deep, you will find that weekend games between clubs are well attended and fiery to say the least. The two largest and most famous clubs with a long, competitive history are Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs. Other well known clubs are Moroka Swallows, Mamelodi Sundowns, Ajax Cape Town and Blackburn Rovers.

The national cricket team is called the Proteas and is a dominant force in the cricketing fraternity. Captain Graham Smith has led the side to various triumphs against other strong cricket nations like Australia, New Zealand, England and Pakistan. Local teams are watched often at Newlands Cricket Ground in Cape Town, the Wanderers in Gauteng and Kingsmead in Durban.

The Springbok rugby team is the heart and soul of many South Africans and after winning the World Cup in 2007, which was the second time, the love and support of rugby was renewed in the people. Newlands Rugby Stadium in Cape Town, Loftus Versveld in Pretoria and Ellis Park in Johannesburg are some of the better attended stadiums, with favorite teams including the Stormers, the Cats, the Sharks and the Bulls.

Aside from these prominent sports South African also boasts a top swimming team, with athletes including Ryk Neethling, Roland Schumann and the disabled inspirational athlete Natalie du Toit who was the first disabled athlete to compete in the able bodied section of the Olympic Games.

Golf is another popular sport with the likes of Ernie Else taking it to the international level and not forgetting the legend of South African golf, Gary Player, who has designed many interesting golf courses including the one at Sun City which has crocodiles roaming around in the lakes.

Marathon running and track athletics are also areas that South African sportsmen and women have excelled in with stars like Elana Mayer and Bruce Fordyce winning the annual, world famous Comrades Marathon many times, as well as track athletes Hezekiel Sepeng and Josiah Thugwane having received Olympic medals for their efforts. Another annual event that is highly anticipated each year is the Two Oceans marathon with the route taking runners through wonderful scenery passing both the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

Cycling is also a very popular sport here and with the massive scale annual events such as the Argus Cycle Tour, people from all over the world come to South Africa to take advantage of the great weather and interesting scenery that make up the appeal of the sport. Aside from the Argus, there are plenty of other events including mountain biking competitions like the Cape Epic which takes the competitors through the Cape wine lands and other areas on a 900 kilometer route. There are 8 stages to cover in this event which is the most widely broadcast mountain biking event in the world.

Canoeing is also a famous South African sport with the Dusi Canoe Marathon being the most well known event in the world. This tough and exhilarating event takes entrants through a grueling paddling course along the Orange River as well as running sections at portages along the way from Pietermartizburg to Durban.

Surfing, hockey, basketball, netball, horse racing, baseball, karate, fencing, gymnastics, ice hockey, figure skating, wrestling, boxing, and many others are all played at a provincial and national level, with teams like the men’s and women’s hockey, netball, boxing, and other reaching the Olympics and achieving medals.

Dance is also considered a sport here and there are many people who have started groups and organizations to encourage all kinds of dance in South Africa – ballet, jazz, modern, ballroom, contemporary, gumboot, tap, and traditional dances like the pantsula are taking centre stage in many people’s lives and giving them hope where they may feel that hope does not exist.

Some very talented dancers come from poor backgrounds and have made their way to the stages of South Africa through skill and determination.

The role of ballet here is very influential and many of the principle ballet dancers in South Africa at companies like PACT and CAPAB also study and excel in modern, contemporary and even the African traditional dances making them versatile and popular in all walks of life here. You can see many shows that are performed by groups like CAPAB, PACT and Jazzart at the various theatres throughout the country. Award winning productions like African Footprints provided a platform for all types of dancers and this internationally acclaimed stage production was elemental in showcasing all forms of dance in South Africa.

As with everything in South Africa, there is a strong sense of tolerating and learning about other people’s cultures. This makes for a nation that is lively and vibrant with interesting cultural aspects to show the rest of the world.

South African Music (and the Arts) >>>