An active and winning South African nation: Can the gap between ideal and reality be narrowed?

  • Leoni C.E. Stroebel
  • Johnnie F. Hay
  • Hermanus J. Bloemhoff
Keywords: Active nation, Mass participation, School sport, Physical education, Policy implementation, National Sport and Recreation Plan.


Globally, the development of mass sports is constantly opposed by the prominence of elite sports. South African schools find it challenging to provide a solid foundation and adequate resources in order to sustain efforts to yield a healthy nation and produce champions in sport. In this study, literature related to physical education (PE), school sport and sport development is explored. An overview of core government documents, of which the National Sport and Recreation Plan (NSRP) serves as point of departure, is presented and reflected upon. It is followed by an exploration of the tension between the ideal of an active and winning nation and the present reality. The significance of the delivery of quality PE and school sport to support active lifestyles are acknowledged and the challenges related to addressing the issues derived from the NSRP and supporting documents, such as inequalities in terms of resources and schools, are highlighted. Finally, recommendations are made with regard to the delivery of quality PE and school sport to all children in South African schools. It is proposed that actions taken at school level could potentially narrow the gap between the ideal and reality in the quest of becoming an active winning nation.

Keywords: Active nation; Mass participation; School sport; Physical education; Policy implementation, National Sport and Recreation Plan.


Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 0379-9069