In February 2009, a group of key stage 3 teachers on a Tide~ global learning study visit spent ten days exploring issues in Cape Town and their relevance to creative approaches to the new secondary curriculum in England. This article shares some of the thinking and ideas from the group around the issues raised by the 2010 World Cup being hosted by South Africa.
It introduces some of the background to the discussions of the group whilst in Cape Town. There were then further developed into a series of KS3 activities and a thinkpiece offering some thoughts about using international sporting events to talk about development with young people.
The activities and ideas shared in this article show how it is possible to study an event in one city, in this case the 2010 World Cup in Cape Town, and see how it can shed light on events elsewhere. One obvious event is the 2012 Olympics in London, though it could equally be the Climate Summit in Copenhagen, a royal visit or a meeting of Commonwealth Heads.
The most immediate influence on the group was the debate over the real legacy of the World Cup in South Africa. We interviewed Mark Gleeson, the South African football expert, in the Mugg and Bean Coffee Bar in Constantia. The next morning we discussed planning for the 2010 competition with Riefqah Jappie of the Department of the Premier Provincial Government of the Western Cape, before moving to the City Hall for a meeting about the Bay Rapid Transport System.
Very soon, issues started to emerge. This sporting event of international significance was for some, a motor for economic development, stimulating early investment and reorganising public transport, whilst for others it was likely to produce a legacy of stadia that are too big for football crowds in the area and ‘… sold on the myth …’ of supporting poorer communities.
This latter view seems to coincide with the argument put forward by Mike Davis in Planet of Slums (2006) where he is explicit that,
‘In the urban Third World, poor people dread high profile international events - conferences, dignitary visits, sporting events, beauty contests and international festivals - that prompt authorities to launch crusades to clean up the city: slum dwellers know that they are the “dirt” or “blight” that their governments prefer the world not to see…governments are…likely to improve the view by razing the slums and driving the residents out of the city.’ (Mike Davis, 2006, p104)
This leads us to the second theme of the activities: to what extent is this an accurate view of the impact the World Cup is having? Modern sporting events all promise a legacy for the local communities and the issue is, would the World Cup do so? This leads us directly to the third motive behind the activities: we wanted to develop practical teaching ideas that would be applicable to any major sporting event or “international festival”. We propose that the activities could be changed to consider, for example, the 2012 Olympics, Eurovision, or major climate change conferences.
Jo Fairclough and Darius Jackson refined ideas from the 2009 Cape Town study visit group, and developed the following four activities for use with Year 7.
World Cup 2010
Activity 1 Why is the 2010 World Cup important to Cape Town?
Explores why Cape Town might want to host World Cup football? What are the benefits that might come from this? The point is to get the pupils to start thinking about investment as well as the spectacle of the event. Activity 1 pdf Mystery cards pdf
Activity 2 What problems might the World Cup cause?
Starts pupils thinking about the issues that come from hosting the World Cup. South Africa is planning to welcome 450,000 visitors for the World Cup, so there will be a vast array of things that they need to plan for. Activity 2 pdf
Activity 3 What is Cape Town doing to address any problems?
An enquiry based learning session on what Cape Town is actually doing to plan for the World Cup. Activity 3 pdf
Activity 4 How will the World Cup impact on the residents of Cape Town?
Involves assessing the impact of the World Cup on different people. It is all too easy to make sweeping generalisations about legacies; here pupils need to consider how specific people will benefit or lose out from the event. They end up making an assessment about the accuracy of Mike Davis’ argument - from his his book Planet of the Slums  - about the reality of the legacy of major events. Activity 4 pdf Character cards pdf
Scott Sinclair [Co-leader of the 2009 Cape Town study visit, and manager of the ESDGC Schools Network for Wales] draws on experiences from the Tide~ study visit to reflect on the World Cup as an opportunity to explore development issues.
World Cup 2010
As a teaching opportunity, football and the 2010 World Cup provides motivation and interest to explore all sorts of international themes, not least to do with the teams, where they come from and the commonality of football experience. Football has organised competition structures and is a game young people play all over the world. The 2010 World Cup is an opportunity not to be missed. We propose it is also an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding into the concepts of development, how such events are used to enhance development and how those issues and concepts are important in our society as well as in the global ‘south’.
Much of the debate about the London Olympics is also about long-term development, about how it will improve the infrastructure, quality of life and economic potential of that part of London in particular and the country in general. The plans for the World Cup in South Africa have similar aspirations.
The World Cup 2010 offers an opportunity to explore the commonality of development issues.
What is the potential? ...
Can the World Cup be a stimulus to development? The Western Cape Government certainly thought so when members of the Tide~ study visit met with them in February 2009. They have been planning for some time about how to make good use of the opportunity; about how sound planning would enable many aspects of life in Cape Town to gain over and above the jobs relating to building stadiums, new hotels etc. Their plans are centred on the idea that the work in the build-up to the World Cup and during the event itself should lead to legacies in key areas; they talked about health legacy, social legacy, economic legacy, safety and security legacy, and infrastructure legacy.
Clearly any one initiative might relate to several of these areas. Thinking and debate about legacy helped provide a context for making decisions about quite basic matters, even in the early stages of preparation. So with these legacies in mind, quite different strategies, for example about who they seek to train to take on jobs to do with the stewarding of events, might emerge. It becomes important to consider how to do that training and how to relate it to longer term needs.
One of the infrastructural proposals was the development of a rapid bus transport system. This seemed one of the more obvious and less controversial issues before we visited Cape Town. However, we arrived to find a taxi strike and a lot of protest about how this new infrastructure might impact on existing economic interests. There was clearly protest and different views; whether it was as dramatic as it appeared in the media was one of the issues debated.
Like many development issues there are different perspectives; different people perceive that the change proposed will affect them in different ways. The idea of a bus lane seems useful, practical during the World Cup events but also long after. The taxi / mini bus drivers may see the new buses as unfair competition or an opportunity for government to regulate services and therefore affect their opportunities.
Identity and creating new identities
‘Cape Town – This Place I Call Home,’ was a slogan for a series of initiatives about bringing different racially divided communities together to build more common ownership of the place ... and of future aspirations. Such aspects of development are important but less tangible; they have to do with identity and creating new identities; they can remain abstract unless they are linked to more tangible ideas relating, for example, to economic opportunity and health. The World Cup, like the Olympics in London, will be used as a focus for improving the image of the place, seeking investment and generating a pride in “Our place”.
To engage with issues of future development and ideas that different people bring to that agenda, it is important also to deal with the historical legacy. The symbol of the flag, the rainbow nation, is about new potential, post-apartheid.
However, as we found from the visit, understanding aspects of that history is vital to thinking about future potential and the dynamic of change. Getting a sense of what was really involved in apartheid policy; the depth to which it affected all aspects of human life, the extent of the oppression and the vitality of the struggle to overcome it all contribute to the outlook of today. There is much to be positive about, but learners still need to engage with those issues if they are to have a context for understanding proposals for future development.
A visit to the District 6 Museum [in an area of Cape Town that was completely demolished because it was seen to be a mixed race area], or to Robben Island [the prison where many black prisoners were held, including Nelson Mandela] were compelling experiences. The challenge is how do we capture some of that for our learners?
At the heart of the museum was a tower built out of the old street names in District 6. They also remind us of the historical connections to Britain.
Many of the debates we had were clearly in the context of that history, and the extent to which those divisions in society are still at the heart of future development dilemmas. So in the case of the World Cup, one of the issues has been about how to engage a wide range of the population in getting involved in football in all sorts of ways [not just the event itself]; about how football and other sport could contribute to different communities meeting each other playing football together; and how motivation of the games can contribute to health and fitness.
What are the aspirations of young people for the future? Wherever we went in schools, we felt that there was phenomenal potential among young people [and also all the ‘normal’ problems in schools]. We came away with many questions, including: Was society ready to make good use of that potential?
Cape Town is a beautiful place; it is a dramatic place; it is a place of some wealth. The tourism industry itself is important … this photograph symbolises that whole range of things, but it raises the question of who gains most. The World Cup itself is about a particular kind of tourism. There was much debate about whether some of the facilities, eg. hotels, that were being developed were actually the highest priority in development terms and how plans could be made in order to achieve the better equity in terms of the World Cup’s influence locally.
The building of the new stadium was, to say the least, impressive. We met those that questioned the priority; we met those that were excited about it. Those planning it had been working on the idea that this stadium should have many purposes beyond the World Cup itself and that that has to be part of the design and the infrastructure enabling access.
Global learning through sport~ Responding to the World Cup and 2012 Olympics, article by Jackie Zammit, Tide~ global learnig