Namibia’s Brave Gladiators




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Peer reviewed


Namibia’s Brave Gladiators: Gendering the Sport and Development Nexus From the Second World Women and Sport Conference 1998 to Women’s World Cup 2011

A well-established multi-disciplinary body of literature has analysed the relationship between sport and development on which this article seeks to build, by looking at a case study of women's football in Namibia between the Second World Women and Sport Conference 1998 to Women’s World Cup 2011. The convergence of two broad approaches have emerged to the 'nexus of gender, sport and development' outlined by Meier and Saavedra in relation to women's boxing. On the one hand, sport-for-development analyses perceive physical activity as a vehicle for delivering messages about health, education and social integration; on the other, development-through-sport literature sees the international governing bodies as businesses who wish to extend their social and economic influence by providing projects in under-exploited markets. Most notably, Roger Levermore has questionned whether the use of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is primarily designed to benefit the project end-users or the provider given the increased altruistic pblic relations benefits of such work. This work is therefore in two parts: after initially exploring some of the tensions of sports-development and sport-for-development for a team contact sport, football, in Namibia, the discussion opens out to ask three larger questions. Given that professional, elite football has a world-wide gendered labour market, for whom and for what is development in Namibia intended? What are the key issues in Western models of development and aid for African women’s football? Can aspects of CSR and development benefit the Namibian female football player at elite and recreational level?


This was a conference paper and Powerpoint presentaiton.


Women's football, Namibia, Brave Gladiators, World Conference on Women's Sport


Williams, J. (2011) Namibia’s Brave Gladiators. The Second World Conference on Women and Sport 1998 to Women’s World Cup 2011’ Women’s Sport in Africa Conference, Lincoln College Oxford University 7 March 2011


Research Institute