Understanding football 'hooliganism' in South Africa

Following the violence that erupted at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban over the weekend, Eusebius Mckaiser talks to a panel of experts to understand mob mentality in sports.

Fans stormed the pitch during a match between Kaiser Chiefs and Free State Stars, resulting in a security guard being badly assaulted, and fans sustaining injuries.

The actions of the fans have been widely condemned and social media has been used to assist the police in identifying those caught in the act during the violence.

The eThekwini mayor has announced that the damages caused to the stadium amount to R2.6 million.

Eusebius spoke to sports broadcaster Thabiso Mosia, clinical psychologist and executive director at the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation Nomfundo Mogapi, and author of Crowds, Riots, 'Hooliganism' & Policing at professor at Keel University in the UK Stott Clifford.

We all know that these barbaric acts are unacceptable, it's hooliganism. There's trashing the public broadcaster equipment for what? They don't even know what they are going to do with that equipment, they can't even use those headphones they were stealing.

Thabiso Mosia, sports broadcaster

READ: Azania Mosaka: 'How can the PSL say they are surprised?'

We certainly need to understand football culture. It has a particular nature where people behave in way that can be interpreted as problematic when they are not.

Dr Stott Clifford, Professor on Crowds, Riots, 'Hooliganism' & Policing at Keel University in the UK

One of the things we have to understand as society, we still have what I call collective trauma. We still carry these unbearable painful experiences from the past. Small things can become triggers of the past and people are likely to respond as if they are still experiencing that.

Nomfundo Mogapi, clinical psychologist and executive director at the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation

READ: 'Soccer bosses should implement campaigns to address fan behaviour'

We also have a situation where in modern day South Africa, small things are starting to creep in. The first one is just at the societal level; this creeping sense of hopelessness and desolation; where people feel their grievances or concerns are not being met by those who are not in power.

Nomfundo Mogapi, clinical psychologist and executive director at the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation

A lot of the problems you tend to find in football context are about misinterpretation. where the police see things that aren't really problematic and treat them as they are.

Stott Clifford, author of Crowds, Riots, 'Hooliganism' & Policing at professor at Keel University in the UK

ALSO READ: Stadium riot: 'It's just inexplicable and unacceptable by all means'

I think everybody knows that the fans are to blame but I think there is much more to it. We need to have a broader conversation about this. Why is it that the security systems and the security measures at the football matches always get breached.

Thabiso Mosia, Sports broadcaster

Listen to the full discussion here


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