World Cup 2010: Western Hegemonic Framing of Africans

Fri, 2 Jul 2010 Source: Mensema, Akadu N.

*By Akadu Ntiriwa Mensema, Ph. D.


And ESPN died

ESPN commentators lost their voices

Their hegemonic voices

Voices of inferiorizing Africans

Imperious, ignorant voices

Eclipsed by the Black Stars of Africa

Nkrumah’s Black Stars’ victory

Victory that dwarfed mighty USA

Victory that humanized all Africans


“ESPN's coverage of this game has been rife with stereotypes of African football,

‘writes James Wells. ‘Ghana are 'powerful, physical, and explosive' but the US is

'tactically stronger'. Just now, viewers were informed that the US can't compete

physically with Ghana and will have to outsmart them. It's true that Ghana have some

great athletes, but all teams at this level are full of athletes. And tactically

naive? I haven't seen it. ‘They're certainly not tactically weaker than the USA

based on what I've seen in this first half” (Barry Glendenning, guardian, co.uk June

26, 2010)

Western media & soccer commentators

Stereotype African soccer players

Marginalize Africans’ soccer brilliance

We have listened to them

Coded words and phrases

Condescending-laden stereotypes

Quarried from hegemonic constructions

Of immemorial, old Africa

Nursed in Western imaginings

Of ESPN soccer commentators

Voices that privilege Euro-Americans

Voices that marginalize Africans

Hegemonic voices

Of ESPN soccer commentators

Happily, condescendingly

Churn out homegrown coded stereotypes

Of African/Black excellence

Of African players as brutish beasts


Physical, powerful

Explosive yet sloppy

Tactically weaker

Outmuscling opponents

[Americans] outsmarting [Ghanaians]


“Soccer's governing body left World Cup referee Koman Coulibaly - who disallowed a

goal that might have given the U.S. victory against Slovenia last week - off its

next list of World Cup match officials” (Christopher Elser, Bloomberg News, June 21,


“FIFA president Sepp Blatter today said he had apologized to the Foot Ball

Association over Frank Lampard's disallowed 'goal' and revealed the governing body

would look again at goal-line technology” (The Independent, June 29, 2010)

Malian Koman Coulibaly erred

Erred during USA & Slovania game

The West asked for his head

And FIFA guillotined him

Uruguayan Jorge Larrionda erred

Erred during England & German game

The West didn’t ask for his head

Yet FIFA apologized to England

ESPN soccer commentators

Fed on Coulibaly syndrome

Had a field day of hegemony

Mocking, insulting, derisive

Perfecting their hegemony

Provincial commentators

Happily and imperiously

Unleashed anti-Africanisms

Yet another anti-African festival

Of hegemonic categorizing

Of Africanizing inferiority

Of all African referees

Churning bogus statistics

Of Africa’s poverty

Of “tribal” wars

Of underdevelopment

Africanization of all bad things


“But it was not. In the third minute of overtime, a long pass came out of Ghana’s

midfield to forward Asamoah Gyan. He shouldered the ball and outmuscled Carlos

Bocanegra, who seemed to slow, perhaps with a cramp in his leg” (_The New York Times

_ June 27, 2010)

ESPN soccer commentators

Happily, cheerfully

Sanitizes Western weaknesses

Cramp in the legs of [USA players]

Being outmuscled by opponents

ESPN uses praiseworthy words

Of privileging Western players

Minted words like brilliant

Excellent, intelligent

Superb, admirable

Well-crafted, exceptional

Outstanding, marvelous

Splendid play & movement

First-rate, world-class

All framed in intelligence

Assumed superiority of the West


But Black Stars arrived

Displayed their intelligence

And ESPN lost its voice

Lost its shameful voice

Of choreographing negative lyrics

Of immemorial Africa

Brandishing their voices as swords

Agencies of otherizing African players

Black Stars defeated USA & ESPN died

ESPN commentators lost their voices

Their hegemonic voices died

Eclipsed by the Black Stars of Africa

Nkrumah’s Black Stars’ victory

Victory dwarfed mighty USA

ESPN’s hegemonic voices died

Well done Black Stars

You rescued Africa from hegemony

Western hegemony

Of Africanizing all bad things

Of marginalizing Africans/Blacks

Black Stars with eclipsing fortitude

*Akadu N. Mensema, Ph. D., is a nationalist Denkyira beauty. She is a trained oral

historian cum sociologist and Professor in the USA. She lives in Pennsylvania with

her great mentor and teaches Africa-area studies at a college in Maryland. In her

pastime, she writes what critics have called “populist hyperbolic, satirical”

poetry. She can be reached at akadumensema@yahoo.com

Columnist: Mensema, Akadu N.