In Zulu culture, an imbiza is a large ceramic pot used for brewing utshwala (sorghum beer). This vessel enables the fermentation of a fluid that facilitates communication with the amadlozi (ancestors) and lubricates social interactions. This virtual imbiza is an open access vessel of primary sources, intended to stimulate the fermentation of ideas and public dialogue about this defining event in post-apartheid South Africa. The potential for this digital project crystallized during an October 2013 session of the Football Scholars Forum on Peter Alegi and Chris Bolsmannâ€™s edited volume, Africaâ€™s World Cup: Critical Reflections on Play, Patriotism, Spectatorship, and Space. During the online discussion, the conversation turned to ways of integrating academically-oriented essays like those in Africaâ€™s World Cup with web-based images, videos, and texts produced by non-specialists for a general audience. While this idea was initially framed in terms of what could be done for this yearâ€™s World Cup in Brazil, the historian in me started thinking about how a project like this could help further understand the 2010 World Cup.
In building the Imbiza repository, I aim to integrate openly accessible texts, images, sounds, and videos that capture fansâ€™ perspectives and experiences at World Cup stadiums and fan parks. By analyzing the World Cup through the prism of these geographic locations (mapped out here using MapBox), I hope to illuminate various themes that can be gleaned from each site, linking to relevant texts and multimedia sources. Luckily, finding these sources has not proved difficult; however, the challenge has been in organizing, tagging, and presenting the items in an accessible, informed, and compelling manner. To conquer this task, I have used KORA, MATRIXâ€™s digital repository software, as the technological backbone of the site. Past projects utilizing KORA, like David Robinsonâ€™s Failed Islamic States in Senegambia and Alex Galarzaâ€™s Constructing the Cuidad Deportiva, have served as models for Imbiza.
From its inception during a Football Scholars Forum to its construction using materials collected through digital pathways (mainly Twitter), this project has been highly collaborative and would not exist without the contributions and insights of its contributors. They are:
* Chris Bolsmann
* David Patrick Lane
* Duane Jethro (materials to be added soon)
* Jay Meyer
* Kevin Kalinowski
* Matthew Kustenbauder (materials to be added soon)
* Marc Fletcher
* Mark Moll
* Peter Alegi
I have been limited by geography, time, and finances in building this archive from my base in East Lansing, but digital platforms, like this one, can get around some of these obstacles. My hope is that this project will build a model that can be replicated in the study of future World Cups and mega-events, allowing for critical engagement as well as nostalgic reflection. This site is called Imbiza 1.0 for a reason. There is much more work to be done, more materials to be collected and a much broader, more expansive project to be developed in the coming months. Stay tuned for further additions to the site and updates to existing materials!
To access the digital repository visit the IMBIZA website