Sport is massive in South Africa. The main sports are rugby, football (soccer) and cricket.Netball and hockey are also played at an international level. Televised sport is popular on weekends. During the Apartheid era, South African sport was isolated from the rest of the world, because other countries refused to compete with South African teams. South African sports teams have been active internationally only since the early 1990s.
The most successful South African sports team is the national rugby team, or the “Springboks” or “Bokke”. The Springboks have won the Rugby World Cup twice, in 1995, and again in 2007. South Africa, New Zealand and Australia contest the SANZAR Tri-Nations tournament on an annual basis. These three countries also participate in the domestic Super15 competition. The standard of rugby in these tournaments is extremely high.
In 2010 South Africa hosted the FIFA World Cup. This was the first soccer world cup on African soil. The government invested R40bn in the tournament, and South Africa is now home to some of the finest soccer stadia in the world. South Africa also has a vibrant domestic league. It is more usual to refer to “soccer” than to “football” in South Africa, although you can use both terms. The vuvuzela is an integral part of the soccer stadium experience, so bring earplugs if you don’t like them!