David is an economic geographer, who specialises in researching ethical and Fairtrade practices within horticultural supply chains (flowers, fruit and wine) and corporate social responsibility. Much of his research has taken place within South Africa. He is a cricket fanatic and a passionate believer in the transformative power of sport.
Harnessing and Enhancing Social Capital in Community Sport Development: An Evaluation of the Enduring Legacies of the Football Foundation of South Africa
This paper uses a social capital approach to evaluate the legacy impacts of the Football Foundation (SA), which was initiated in 2008 as a project linked to FIFA2010. The project originally focused upon the development of community sports facilities in Gansbaai, a rural town on the Overberg coast in the Western Cape. According to a range of objective measures the project has been a notable success. High quality sporting facilities have been developed currently catering for more than 5000 young people each year, who benefit from an ever increasing range of sporting and wider enrichment activities, including HIV/AIDS awareness and nutritional programmes. Importantly, the project prioritises racial integration and has been designed to tackle social injustice by providing opportunities for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Thus, the majority of beneficiaries live in the Coloured community of Blompark and the township of Masakhane, whose residents are predominately IsiXhosa migrants from the Eastern Cape.
Harnessing and developing various facets of social capital has been critical to the success and sustainability of the Football Foundation’s work. Firstly, strong financial and practical support has been provided since the outset by powerful international stakeholders, including Barclays/ABSA Bank and the English Premier League. Secondly, project leaders prioritised local community participation in order to build trust and thus establish pathways for engagement between key local stakeholders. In this way important forms of social capital have been developed which have benefitted the project and promoted community cohesion. Thirdly, individuals have been able to increase their own social capital through involvement in the project, which has enabled them to become empowered and achieve socio-economic upliftment.
The paper concludes by arguing that the application of a social capital framework enables critical lessons to be learned which can be applied to other sports development projects, which seek to tackle social injustice.