Framing a 21st century case for the social value of sport in South Africa

Cora Burnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Following recent global stakeholder configurations, policy frameworks and strife for multi-levelled and agency policy coherence within the Sport for Development and Peace sector, the Kazan Action Plan (2017) calls for evidence-informed decision-making though building a case for sport in playing a part in sustainable development as envisaged by the UN Sustainable Development Goals. As Sport and Recreation South Africa is in the process of updating the 2009 Case for Sport and Recreation document it is deemed timely that academic discourse of evidence production should be addressed. This paper provides a synopsis of robust evidence around the social impact of sport relating to global strategic imperatives emanating for UN agencies (particularly UNICEF and UNESCO), regional and national public sport structures. Contextual realities further present a filter for relevant data and arguments to capture a meaningful body of knowledge from which decision-makers can draw significant insights. The social role of sport within national government priorities in South Africa features phenomena related to nation-building, cohesion and social transformation with relevance to the ‘panacea proposition’ of sport. The methodological rigor, critical scrutiny, programme theories and the complexity of layering realities should drive the profiling of an evidence base that would also serve a decolonised approach towards theory-building.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)340-355
Number of pages16
JournalSport in Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • research evidence
  • South Africa
  • sport
  • Sport for Development and Peace
  • UN agencies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies


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