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Sports Africa Conference 2020

Sports Africa Conference 2020

Call for papers and abstracts for the 14th edition of the Sports Africa Conference on the theme "African Nations and World Competitions: State of Play", from 1-3 July 2020.


Wed, 07/01/2020 to Fri, 07/03/2020


Nelson Mandela University
Port Elizabeth
South Africa

The Department of Anthropology at Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, will host the 14th edition of the Sports Africa Conference, from 1-3 July 2020. Since 2004, Sports Africa has promoted and championed African Sport Studies as a valuable interdisciplinary academic arena by bringing together scholars and practitioners from Africa, North America, Europe, and Asia working across disciplines and in multiple sports. This year’s conference theme is:

African Nations and World Competitions – State of Play

Since independence, African nations have become  an integral part of the global sports community. After gaining their independence, African nations joined federations, and today African nations consistently participate in world championships and qualifying events.

Africans’ continuing participation in world championships, regardless of performance, is an indicator of their entanglement in a wide variety of “modern sports” practices. Beyond the participation and presence of African nations at world competitions, and two decades into the 21st century, digital transformations, artificial intelligence, globalisation, neo-liberalism, the rise of populism, perfomance enhancing drugs, gender policies, the spectre of ‘terrorism’ (and the ‘securitisation’ response) and other currents that impact mega-events and major events.

How is African athletes’ participation in various international competitions evolving with the rapidly transforming global sport ecosystems? What is the significance of African nation states participating and occasionally winning world competitions? What implications do these victories have for national sports development or management? What are the positive or negative impacts of the resources allocated to these participations? How are African sports integrating new knowledge and technologies?

Conference organisers invite paper proposals from practitioners and scholars in the following fields: anthropology, sociology, health, history, geography, politics, economics, African diaspora studies, public policy, education, communication, gender studies, development studies, and other interdisciplinary perspectives to speak to the theme “African Nations and World a Competitions – State of Play“.

The organisers call for meaningful reflections and critical proposals to generate debate on the state of play throughout Africa from world championship participation to local, community, and indigenous games and sports during the 14th Annual Sports Africa Conference at the Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa July 1-3, 2020.


  • Social, sporting, and political Impact of a world championship victory
  • Sport and history, continuity and change
  • The positive (or negative) impact of the 4th industrial revolution on African sports
  • Traditional and indigenous games vs modern sport
  • Sports, streaming technologies and social media
  • Symbolic relations between athletes and society
  • Sport nationalist and sectarian sentiments
  • Immigration, nation, and identity discourse in sport
  • Sport, violence, terrorism and insecurity
  • School and university sport and their role in national policies
  • Informal sports clubs, competitions, and academies
  • Gender, race, disability and sexual orientation inclusion in sport
  • Local sports and the global north sports financial power
  • Sport and public health
  • Urban vs rural sport participation
  • Performance enhancing drugs and doping

Abstract submission

Please submit abstracts of 250 to 300 words followed by keywords and preferably without academic references through the Sports Africa website.

Important dates

Abstract submission deadline: 17 February 2020

Registration opening date: 15 March 2020

Registration closing date: 31 May 2020

All accepted presenters must register by 31 May otherwise their paper will not be included in the programme. Submission of an abstract indicates intent to register and present on any of the three days of the conference. 

For more information please visit the conference website.

To get in touch with the conference organising committee, please email: 

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