Communicatio

Published by Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Online ISSN: 0250-0167
Publications
Article
For decades (perhaps, centuries) global media outlets have framed and represented Africa in a negative light. These media representations have tended to overlook the diverse political, economic, social and cultural experiences of individual African countries – a situation that has led to the uncritical lumping together of African nations under the appellation of ‘Africa’. When this happens, the specific and unique conditions of her 55 nations are squeezed into a one-size-fits-all media frame. Historical and ideological forces, both from within and outside the continent, have conspired to impose this fate on Africa. The philosophies of negritude and the Organisation of African Unity were among the complicit internal forces helping to sustain such views. To evaluate this phenomenon, this essay examines the underpinnings of the framing and representation of ‘Africa’ in global media through a review of the literature, and seeks to answer the question of whether the continent can speak for itself, using four country-specific examples. Current media practices within the African continent, enabled by local media policies and infrastructure, have tended to rhetorically position countries primarily in accordance with their national identities, while attributing the African appellation as a secondary frame of representation.
 
Article
This article responds to recent debates within South African media politics regarding the diversity and transformation of the print sector in the country, by suggesting a necessary refocus of previously used methods of measuring media diversity and proposing a more audience-centred approach. This audience-centred method is discussed with regard to meeting the demands of the normative understanding of media diversity, where the media are viewed as central to an individual's formulation of opinions and ideas, thus rendering the media – and particularly the news media – vital in fostering an enabled and informed citizenry. The argument proposes a bottom-up instead of a top-down methodology for measuring media diversity, by placing the primary focus on the public as the starting point, rather than the end point of the analysis, and validating this position through the normative view of the media's role in assisting citizens to formulate personal views. The article concludes by listing four key areas in which current debates on media diversity in South Africa should be realigned and refocused, including at a parliamentary level.
 
Article
Drawing on a wide range of theoretical and empirical studies, the articles in this special issue examine issues of citizenship and belonging in South Africa. Questions of belonging and citizenship are neither novel, nor particular to South Africa – they have been high on the intellectual (and popular) agenda internationally since at least the early 1990s. Yet South Africa's history of artificially separating and defining its citizens in the racial regimes of colonialism and apartheid still reverberates today, as is reflected in the continued inequalities marring South African society. Post-apartheid governance of redress still requires the use of apartheid categories of ‘race’, but the terms under which we understand what it means to be South African are much wider, and require continued critical reflection. Using South Africa (and not the global North, as is so often the case) as the focal point for rethinking notions of citizenship and belonging, may urge us to rethink these notions and their meanings within fledgling democracies and societies in transition.
 
Level of trust of media, based on situation of survey respondents Levels of trust were significantly different between the employed and the unemployed. Unemployed youth were more likely to trust the media than employed youth.  
Relevance of news media across employment situation by survey respondents  
Relevance of news media across race by survey respondents  
Participation by youth surveyed in civic and political activities  
Article
By examining young people's habits of using the media in relation to citizenship, this article responds to calls that the starting point for research into citizenship and democracy should be the perspectives of citizens themselves. Drawing on both quantitative and qualitative research with young South Africans (the ‘born free’ generation), the study sought to gain insight into how young people use media to make sense of notions of citizenship and participatory democracy in ways that are relevant and reliable to their everyday lives. The findings suggest that young South Africans are distrustful of politicians and political institutions. Media consumption was high amongst participants, as well as media trust, but the lack of relevance of media content suggests that those wanting to engage with the youth through the media need to target content through more youth-orientated genres.
 
Article
The South African democracy has survived three national and provincial elections and three local elections, since 1994. In comparison to other young democracies in Africa, South Africa has experienced a relatively stable transition to democracy. However, the ruling ANC has not been under pressure from opposition parties. Although this has helped pave the way, a dominant governing party does not necessarily encourage the growth of a mature, democratic political culture. The assumption of this article is that political parties in developing societies have a normative obligation to do more than canvas votes during election campaigns. Political parties should also be instrumental in fostering a democratic political culture by communicating democratic values, encouraging participation in the democracy and enabling voters to make an informed electoral choice. Although political posters contribute mainly to image building, the reinforcement of party support, and the visibility of the party, posters are the agenda setters or headlines of a party's campaign – it is therefore argued that political parties in developing societies also need to design political posters responsively, in order to sustain the democracy. In general it seems that the poster campaigns of parties have matured since 1999, in the sense that there was less emphasis on democratisation issues in the past, and the campaigns conformed more to the norm of Western political campaigning.
 
Article
In 2012 flame-grilled chicken company, Nando's, released a 52-second advert showing people of various races and ethnicities vaporising into thin air, one after the other, leaving a lone San Bushman wearing a xai who declares: ‘I'm not going anywhere. You f*#@ng found us here.’ Broadcasters SABC, DStv and etv initially banned the advert, citing fears of a xenophobic backlash. In 1996, former South African president, Thabo Mbeki, who was deputy president at the time, delivered what has become known as the ‘I am an African’ speech at the adoption of the South Africa Constitution Bill. In the speech Mbeki appears to codify ‘Africanness’ into a consciousness not just of history, but a shared history. The conceptual reach of his speech seems to imply that everyone who may share South Africa's history is somehow South African and African. This article argues that the Mbeki speech and the Nando's advert, taken together, draw attention to the simultaneous richness and poverty of citizenship in South Africa, and the potential benefits and contradictions of claiming citizenship in the sense preferred by the two texts. The context is supplied by a sampling of 22 randomly selected online comments centering on the censored advert.
 
Article
Audiences are increasingly presented with shows on television that challenge previously established boundaries of morality and propriety. Dexter is one such show. The character of Dexter works for the police as a blood spatter analyst by day, and he hunts and kills serial killers by night, taking great pains when killing them to remind them how they tortured their victims and why they deserve to die. He exerts his own form of justice of the ‘eye-for-an-eye’ variety. ‘A prime motivation behind audience reception studies has been that of making visible and validating the otherwise taken-for-granted, neglected or misunderstood experiences of ordinary people in relation to popular culture’ (Livingstone et al. 2001, 168). With this assertion in mind, the article explores how selected, white, Afrikaans-speaking viewers in Gauteng, relate to Dexter. Reception theory, with a specific focus on Carolyn Michelle's (2007) multi-dimensional model of modes of audience reception, was applied to the analysis of findings in this article.
 
HIV and AIDS poster with combined verbal and visual metaphoric (rhetorical) elements, produced by the South African health promotion organisation loveLife 
Effects of including verbal and visual metaphors on eight dependent variables (minimum 1; maximum 4): means and standard deviations 
Rhyming text on an HIV and AIDS signboard produced by Ndlovu Clinic (a community development group in South Africa) Figure 3 presents a poster from loveLife in which both textual and visual repetition are used. 
presents the Pearson correlations between all the dependent variables. 
HIV and AIDS poster with verbal and visual scheme, produced by loveLife Downloaded by [Carel Jansen] at 12:14 10 April 2014 
Article
Health communication campaigns today often use messages which include verbal and/or visual rhetorical figures. Rhetorical figures may be used with the intention of puzzling audiences, and ultimately provoking discussions about the addressed health-related issues. This study investigates the effects of using deliberately puzzling verbal and visual rhetorical figures in health messages targeted at South African youth. It explores which message variables may predict the audience's willingness to engage in discussions with friends or older people. Four different HIV and AIDS posters, in four different versions of rhetorical figures, were presented to 160 young South Africans. The verbal rhetorical figures that were used significantly and negatively affected the receivers’ (actual and perceived) comprehension, the perceived comprehension by friends, the perceived personal relevance, as well as their willingness to discuss the message with friends. No significant main effects were found of the visual rhetorical figures used. One significant interaction effect was found of verbal and visual rhetorical figures: the absence of both verbal and visual rhetorical figures led to the highest level of willingness to discuss messages with older people. Significant positive predictors of the receivers’ willingness to discuss messages with friends proved to be perceived comprehension by friends, perceived personal relevance, and perceived own comprehension. Willingness to discuss messages with older people was positively related to perceived comprehension by older people, and to perceived personal relevance.
 
Article
Jamie Uys is considered one of the most renowned South African filmmakers. His films not only set box-office records – both nationally and internationally – but also garnered numerous awards. This article looks at Uys’ contribution to the Afrikaans film industry network, discussing his role in bringing together some of the most important role players in the industry. Social network analysis (SNA) has become an essential scientific approach to the study of complex systems, and, as such, it provides a new theoretical paradigm and analytical tool with which to study the Afrikaans film industry, as this article illustrates. By discussing Uys’ immediate partnerships as well as his further connections in the network, and in using overall network centrality, betweenness centrality and hub value, Jamie Uys is shown to be a central figure in this industry.
 
Article
Typescript (photocopy) Thesis (D.Litt. et Phil.)--University of South Africa, 1981. Bibliography: p. 296-328.
 
Article
This article explores Die Antwoord's blackface politics to question whether the concept of citizenship has any value in a context where marginal artists’ attempts to represent themselves on their own terms are overshadowed by the global reach of corporate entertainment media monopolies, and by the legacy of racism and sexism in the music industry. It analyses the work of Die Antwoord, Lupé Fiasco and Angel Haze to contend that global capital undermines the nation-state's ability to secure its citizens’ economic or cultural interests. Using Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri's concept of Empire, the author argues that corporate globalisation undermines the sovereignty of the nation-state, effectively compromising democratic ideals. The global appeal of Die Antwoord tells us a great deal about the extent to which diverse cultural expressions are marginalised, as well as the extent to which colonial conceptions of race, gender and class endear in public discourse – specifically in light of the continuing appeal of blackface in the mainstream entertainment industry.
 
Article
This article explores concepts and discourses regarding citizenship, nation-building and civic solidarity in particular with regard to diverse societies. Attention is given to diverging viewpoints on nation-building and different models on how civic solidarity could be achieved in heterogeneous societies. A distinction is made between Jacobinistic and syncretistic approaches to nation-building and citizenship, as well as between constitutional patriotism, liberal nationalism and deep diversity as models for achieving feelings of belonging, patriotism and social cohesion in heterogeneous societies. Nation-building in Africa and South Africa – and the implications thereof for sub-national groups – are furthermore considered. The role of the media in nation-building, on the one hand, and the accommodation of diversity, on the other, are also considered. The article ends with conclusions and recommendations on the role of the media in promoting discourses on diversity.
 
Measuring the responsibility per response group  
Level of agreement on the responsibility of SecCIM per response group From Figure 2 it can be deduced that, despite the other response group being in strong disagreement, both the corporate communication and corporate affairs response groups highlighted that they are specifically responsible for issues management (SecCIM) in their organisation. The results are in line with the arguments in the literature that a successful stakeholder centric organisation requires effective issues management through continuous communication and coordination. Furthermore, as proposed by this article, issues management in conjunction with environmental scanning should continuously be conducted to proactively manage issues to avoid the formation of organisational crises and the emergence of reactive publics that could harm the OSR building process.  
Level of agreement on the responsibility of SecDSE per response group  
Kruskal-Wallis: SecCTWSC
Level of agreement on the responsibility of SecDOSRM per response group  
Article
Successful organisations depend on stakeholder perceptions to address changes in turbulent organisational environments, report on the social and environmental impact of activities, the prevalence of public activism, globalisation, emerging issues and crises, and the need to be good corporate citizens through ethical and socially responsible behaviour. Despite the current emphasis on stakeholder relations and management, a lack of research exists on how to build these relationships. This article aims to report and discuss the findings of a study that explored the lack of organisation–stakeholder relationship (OSR) building models, to emphasise the elements and development of an OSR and highlight the need for a generic, strategic, integrated approach for sustainable OSR to contribute towards organisational effectiveness. This will be done using an exploratory literature review to constitute a conceptual framework for OSR building, of which the principles of the framework will be measured among leading Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed South African organisations, by means of a quantitative web-based survey and qualitative one-on-one interviews. The dominant focus on organisational stakeholders has provided added impetus and importance to the role of corporate communication, hence, this article will simultaneously endeavour to highlight the importance of practising corporate communication strategically, by emphasising its role in OSR.
 
Article
Examines the historical role of the political cartoon and methods which cartoonists use to communicate ideas. The author reviews research on the influence of political cartoons. Cartoons are not noticed or not understood by a majority of newspaper readers. The use and misuse of cartoons in political education is discussed. (AM)
 
Article
The concept of play mediates between deliberation as a mode of reason and resistance as a mode of culture, thus opening a way to think about hostile comment (e.g., ‘flaming’) on online news forums as normal patterns of behaviour, instead of a departure from the received view of how citizens ought to consider matters of public interest. The play concept corresponds with current thinking around the notion of cultural citizenship. To illustrate the relevance of play theory in the analysis of online political discourse, this article uses an example from recent posts concerning the Protection of Information Bill (POIB) in the online site of the South African Mail & Guardian newspaper. The cogency of play theory to the concept of citizenship is argued through a discussion of how citizenship has been understood from the 1930s to the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the improved capacities of information and communications technologies (ICTs) made online deliberation a normal site for citizenship to be exercised.
 
Article
Since the early 1990s the concept of the information society has taken centre stage on the political agendas of several national governments in the North and South, as well as regional and international institutions, donor organisations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). This article first sets out to analyse and describe both the content of, the evolution in, this policy discourse. It attempts to assess the validity of this discourse in light of the current changes at the global level and in the light of the problems associated with the practical implementation of policy in a developmental context. By so doing, it questions the basic - and overly simplistic - assumptions of the dominant scenario.
 
Article
Swaziland is the last remaining absolute monarchy in Africa, though with parallels to Morocco. It faces immense challenges, with a weak economy, a fiscal crisis created by the King and his cronies, plus the highest level of HIV/AIDS infections in Africa. The arrangements for the telecommunications are of considerable complexity. A state-owned fixed operator is largely moribund, sustained by the revenues from a joint venture and partial ownership of the sole mobile operator. That mobile operator is partially owned by some shadowy Swazi investors, by the King and by the Pan-Africa MTN Group. The state-owned fixed operator has attempted to regain some initiative but this has been thwarted by the combined efforts of the King, his ministers and the mobile operator, apparently for personal financial gain.There have been acrimonious disputes, legal actions and arbitration concerning the provision of 3G services, fixed wireless services and allowing the mobile operator its own international gateway. A claim by the Prime Minister that the state-owned operator had been taken over by the Mafia led to a parliamentary inquiry which alleged an ungodly relationship between the various actors.In October 2011, the King appointed a new minister with responsibility for telecommunications who immediately replaced the directors of the state-owned fixed incumbent operator. In turn they appointed new directors to the board of the some mobile operator. The only remaining dispute concerned legislation in the parliament, where the two operators were proposing opposing amendments to the government bill.There is no system for the governance for telecommunication markets in Swaziland. To appease foreign agencies the government will, rather slowly, adopt examples of good practice and then fail to implement them (e.g., Public Enterprises Act and Prevention of Corruption Act). The two operators fight over the spoils or to disadvantage one another, but do not compete in any recognizable way.
 
Article
Proefskrif (M.A.)--Pretoria, Univ. van Suid-Afrika, 1981.
 
Article
Virtually, all forms of racial, ethnic, and religious stereotypes have a history of “colonial” occupation that seeks to advance a highly authoritarian narrative of global governance. This system, that is perceived as a hallmark for what we consider as a conventional and normative episteme, could be translated into economic hegemonies and other forms of stereotypes that tend to be reinforced through “colonial” education, naturalized as “formal” and acceptable. Such tendencies thus breed persistent austerities of cultural subjugations and continue to reinforce and inculcate a sense of inherent inferiority and obedience to “authority” among the minorities. Defying such stereotypical complexities is seen as destructive and a menace to society. This is an area that Nabil Echchaibi courageously ventures into throughout his book
 
Article
For over 25 years the Sudan and the United States have had a contentious relationship. In 1986 several international human rights organisations pointed to the re-emergence of the practice of slavery in the Sudan. Past research by American media has shown that journalists tend to use routine channels and American government officials, especially those from the ‘golden triangle’ (the White House, Pentagon and State Department) when covering stories related to foreign countries. However, in the case of the Sudan there was no clear American foreign policy for an extended period of time. Consequently, there was a stark absence of reporting on the slavery issue in the two elite American newspapers (the New York Times and the Washington Post) examined in this study. Furthermore, even when the topic was covered the sources used defined the issue through an American perspective, rather than within an historical and geopolitical context.
 
Article
The aim of this article is to explore how African films such as Keita! The Heritage of the Griot and Kare Kare Zvako: Mother's Day reinvent oral traditions on-screen, so that the traditions are revitalised and given new life in a contemporary world where visual and literary narratives have tended to dominate the collection and dissemination of information. The ontological and cosmological dimensions of African oral traditions provide the cultural humus that continues to feed the narrative structures of most African films. It is argued that the films' conscious refusal to be totally submerged in European modernism or their capacity to merge some traditional aspects with modern values is what constructs the multiple subjectivities that most African filmmakers strive to bring out. By using oral narrative structures embedded in songs, storytelling, myths, legends, poems, riddles, anecdotes and proverbs, the selected African films recreate traditions and heritage; they help to preserve African values that face a Western onslaught, promoted through European languages. Oral narratives carry a freight of cultural meanings infused in different modes of expression, while articulating the philosophies and beliefs of African people. It is important to recognise and [re]discover the critical role played by oral narratives in order to understand the epistemologies and ontologies that inform the construction of African films. A study of this nature is critical in that it builds on the existing indigenous knowledge systems embedded in orature (oral literature) that remain threatened by European cultural imperialism, which is promoted through the Hollywood film paradigm.
 
Article
This study assesses how the existence of repressive media laws in Zimbabwe led to the rise of journalistic production of theatre performances. The censorship of media by the state resulted in the use of creative arts as subversive spaces to convey intractable messages for majority consumption—a role similar to that of citizen journalism. Similarly, responding to the suppressive hand of the state on media, online spaces have rampantly enabled the (re) distribution of information to the citizenry. We posit that the spaces created by online platforms are similar to those created by protest theatre in the extension of the role of journalism. While there are considerable difficulties in defining journalism since it has been defined from a varied perspective, ranging from the traditional through to the derivative meanings from context and method of use, this study employs the progressive definition of journalism being inclusive of art forms. To understand protest theatre as journalism in Zimbabwe, we deploy Schechner's performance theory in analysing All Systems Out of Order.
 
Article
This article considers the case of a locally produced South African television animation series. The construction and representation of the identities of the teenage central characters are especially important due to their potential impact on the intended audience, namely, children. The thematic analysis of the series integrates Wells’ (1998, 2002) theories on animation with theories of identity as defined by Jenkins (2008) and Hall, Evans and Nixon (2013). The article uses selected examples to illustrate identified themes and focuses on how successfully animation specific techniques and aesthetics are employed to construct representations of race and ethnicity. The article concludes that those aspects unique to animation, namely its transformative nature, are not fully utilised to subvert existing ethnic stereotypes.
 
Article
The film Gangster’s Paradise: Jerusalema, released on August 29, 2008, decries the proliferation of crime, violence and social decay in the South African post-colony. The aim of this article is to interrogate the banality in the use of violence and power in the South African post-colony. The filmic narratives of Gangster’s Paradise: Jerusalema reveal that behind the ‘rainbow’ façade presented by South Africa, one encounters festering poverty in ‘non-white’ communities, racial acrimony, broken promises, social and class struggles, and tales of betrayal of the majority of black people by the elite black leadership which now sit comfortably in the seats vacated by their former colonisers. An analysis of the narratives of the film Gangster’s Paradise: Jerusalema permits one to locate apartheid-based economic disparities as still haunting mainly ‘non- white’ local communities, although some whites have not been spared by the vicious new normal of poverty and the effects of corruption. This interpretation is further questioned in the film which shows that, after apartheid, the nationalist leadership encouraged a negative culture of entitlement. The irony in the film is that the masses are also tainted in so far as they commit crimes against other ordinary people and refuse to take responsibility or, rather in an escapist way, blame all the woes of the post-colony on apartheid. Thus, the narratives of Gangster’s Paradise: Jerusalema beg the question: What is going wrong with the dream of democracy for all, irrespective of race, that was the founding principle of the new nation?
 
Article
The consumer magazine Marie Claire was publicly condemned for using a sensationalist approach in putting forth a case against women abuse in its 2009 ‘The Naked Issue’ edition. In this edition a large section of the magazine was devoted to nude photographs of celebrities and their partners. The photographs were accompanied by text in which the celebrities openly spoke out against women abuse. Against this background, this article employs qualitative interviews to gain insight into readers’ views on the use of nudity in a social developmental initiative such as the Marie Claire 2009 ‘The Naked Issue’. In the interviews a diverse range of responses were elicited about the use of nudity in a women's magazine in an effort to address a social developmental issue such as women abuse. These views were interpreted against the backdrop of the scholarly traditions of development communication and popular culture. It appears rather difficult to create awareness about a social development issue in a world saturated with mass-mediated messages, especially if the social development issue is a topic not often discussed publicly. Here it is argued that if women abuse is to be covered in a women's magazine, nudity might be acceptable to readers if the public image of the celebrity is congruent with the particular social cause, and if the use of nude celebrities appears to be justified. Interviewees gave a range of responses: some felt no congruence was evident, while others felt the use of nudity was justified. The latter category thought the photographs portrayed that celebrities and their partners had healthy relationships. Interviewees furthermore suggested that the 2009 Marie Claire efforts could have been linked to other campaigns with similar messages in South Africa. This view is in line with the development communication principle of a contextual understanding of social development problems.
 
Article
One of the central elements in a sustainable democracy is an informed and independent voters’ corps who is knowledgeable regarding democratic values and the policies of different parties, and who participates in democracy. The literature suggests that voters who are more heavy media users are also more politically knowledgeable. It follows that the media have an important informational role in a democracy. Against this background, the media usage patterns, media usage perceptions and political knowledge of the students of the North-West University on the Potchefstroom, Mafikeng and Vaal Triangle campuses were investigated during May 2009. This was done in the form of a quantitative survey that allowed students to report their real perceptions, experiences and knowledge levels. Questionnaires were administered in a self-administered style to avoid interviewer bias and to increase truthful self-reporting. Trained field workers used certain guidelines to ensure that the sample was representative of NWU students. The study found that students on all three campuses had poor levels of political knowledge. It was furthermore established that they were light users of media and did not often engage in political discussions with peers. On all three campuses, for political information television was the preferred medium, followed by radio. Although there were only weak correlations, it would seem that the students who were heavier users of media, were also more politically knowledgeable.
 
Article
This article investigates the publication of titles in english and afrikaans (one title published in two languages) by looking specifically at three publishers: LAPA Uitgewers, jacana media and NB Publishers. Furthermore, the article examines why some books are more likely to be published bilingually than others in the sector of trade non-fiction for adults specifically; this excludes children's literature as well as titles in the religious trade sector. Bilingual publications from the period 2010–2014 are investigated for the article in order to examine this phenomenon over a relatively recent period of time. the research determines what the reasons are for publishers to publish in both languages, how the decision-making process takes place, and whether the timing of publishing bilingual titles plays a significant role in their publishing strategy. By investigating the reasons publishers use to make their decisions, the possible future of this trend is predicted. this information was collected through an investigation of available literature and also through interviews with key role players at the publishing houses.
 
Article
In William Kentridge?s The refusal of time (2012), comment on time as both a scientific and a human entity is produced. A complex mix of the visual and nominal vocabularies of early ?rudimentary? technological invention, scientific experimentation and contemporary digital language characterises the artwork. Conceptually, the structural, technological and visual components of the work predominantly articulate figure tropes of space, time and motion. The work is explored through the lens of heterotopia as articulated by French philosopher michel Foucault, with special attention to the artist?s articulation of space, time and motion. the construal proceeds through the investigation of the visual metaphors implied by the organisation of space; the depiction of movement; time ticking; the allusion to human beings? fascination with invention; science and technology; and the products thereof, especially the creation of automatons. interpreting the work as representing heterotopic temporality in space, it is argued that such heterotopic entities defy clock time as stringent ?regular? time. an examination is conducted of the meta-narratives on science and technology alluded to in The refusal of time, including mention of the early development of automatons; modernistic French thought; advancements in physics around 1900; and postmodern takes on science and technology.
 
Article
Political contestation in Zimbabwe post-2000 has been largely acrimonious. In the electoral domain of the epoch, political advertising, has been one of the key tools through which this contestation took place. However, these advertisements have been barely studied and those that have made an attempt to study them did not examine them from advertising theory and/or sign theory perspective. The study argues that locating the analysis of political advertisements in advertising theory and sign theory presents an opportunity to gain insights into how political products gain sign value, exchange value and utility value. The study deploys advertising theory and sign theory to examine the value that selected indigenous and Western signs used by the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) invest in the political products: ZANU-PF and Mugabe. By interrogating four purposively selected signs in ZANU-PF advertisements for the July 2013 elections, I seek to establish how political products are produced as signs and signs as political products. The selected signs are subjected to semiotic analysis. The findings show that ZANU-PF's use of these valorised Western and indigenous, often contradictory, signs is designed to appeal to votes on the basis that it is a democratic, divine anointed, Christian and African-oriented party.
 
Article
This article uses the third and fourth filters of Herman and Chomsky's Propaganda Model, namely, official sources and flak, to examine how the Daily Nation, which is the largest circulating newspaper in Kenya, covered the 2013 Kenyan elections. In the run up to the elections, several institutions, among them the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) of Kenya and the Media Council of Kenya (MCK), organised several workshops with media owners and journalists in the name of “peace journalism” to avoid a repeat of the 2007/2008 post-election violence. Although such efforts paid off because there was no physical post-election violence, questions have been raised as to whether this extensive peace training translated to “peace propaganda” making journalists and the media in general engage in excessive self-censorship in the name of peaceful elections thereby neglecting their watchdog role. Using the findings from a qualitative content analysis of the Daily Nation as a case study and semi-structured interviews with civil society organisations as media monitors, it can be arguably observed that the Daily Nation avoided any “contentious electoral issues” for fear of flak and relied overly on the IEBC and other government agencies as official sources of critical electoral information.
 
Article
By exploring three films that centre on the Marikana strikes and killings of 2012, I seek to examine both the representations of violence as trauma, and the trauma of representing violence, within the context of visual, cinematic texts. I position Marikana, and the trauma of Marikana, as both a highly significant moment, and also as representative of deeper social and political traumas and injustices. I ask whether and how these films create a narrative context for this pivotal moment in South African history. I also question the effects of cinematic style and genre in the depictions of trauma and violence. The institutional context in which each film originated and developed is important, and I argue that the audience's expectations of the genre of documentary film also play a significant role in the way in which the films process trauma. I situate my paper in conversation with previous articles by Lucy Graham and Helene Strauss among others, that deal with cinematic portrayals of Marikana. By examining the selected films alongside each other, and through the lens of Decolonial Trauma Studies, I hope to elucidate the ways in which these South African films deal with and work through trauma.
 
Article
This article provides an examination of the extent to which the use of negative campaigning is determined by the proximity to power of a political party. Specifically, this article measures the extent to which opposition political parties generate negative messages to a greater extent than incumbent parties during election debates in South Africa. The popular assumption regarding negative campaigning in the United States and Western Europe is examined in the South African context. The study reveals the extent to which the determinants of negative campaigning can be observed during publicly broadcast election debates during the 2014 national elections in South Africa. The study reveals and supports the assumptions regarding the use of negative campaigning during elections. It also applies a qualitative content analysis to understand the extent to which opposition parties use negative campaigning to a greater extent than incumbent parties.
 
Article
This article reports on an investigation into the events surrounding the State of the Nation Address in 2015 (SONA2015), during which opposition party members interrupted proceedings to raise questions about the controversial R208-million security upgrade to South African President Jacob Zuma's personal homestead, Nkandla, in KwaZulu-Natal, using public funds. The event raised issues about the constitutionality of the use of police in the National Assembly; the use of cell phone blocking devices; and the fact that television broadcasters were not allowed to broadcast the events as they happened. The investigation drew on a quantitative content analysis of print media coverage of SONA2015, as well as qualitative interviews with members of the Right2Know (R2 K) campaign in Cape Town and Durban. It explored their activities to “take back Parliament” and calling for a “people's Parliament”. At the core of the investigation was the role of civil society in the media-politics nexus with regard to strengthening democracy and democratic participation in South Africa, through an exploration of the case study.
 
Article
Politics is intrinsic to the human societal structure and the exploration of language in politics has attracted the attention of social scientists and discourse/linguistic analysts. The role of mass media in framing political discourse has also been explored, particularly as the media is often exploited as a resource for influencing the audience. With the proliferation of the Internet and its democratising potentials, graphics and audio have become veritable tools for courting political patronage and maintaining positive perception by politicians. The present study analyses campaign videos from the two dominant parties during the 2015 Nigerian election. Six videos—three for each party—were selected and downloaded for the study. Employing the Multimodal Interaction Analysis theory as its framework, the research accounted for embodied and disembodied communicative modes in linguistically constructing and infusing meanings as campaign strategies to win the confidence of the voting public. The study identified history, declaratives, subtle imperatives, and linguistic tagging as discursive strategies used in political campaign videos. The study concluded that multimodal political advertisements strengthen Nigerian politics and engender positive citizenship participation in democratic practices.
 
Article
During the run-up to the 2015 general elections in nigeria, there was widespread trepidation within and outside the nation that the increasing cases of electoral violence and political intimidation ravaging the country would snowball into full-blown violence, and possibly plunge it into civil war. this fear was largely instigated by the 2011 election, which was marred by pre- and post-election violence. Human rights Watch (2011) estimated that the violence led to over 800 deaths in three days of rioting which engulfed parts of northern nigeria. since the First republic elections in the early 1960s, the nigerian media have been very involved in the political process. the diverse nature of the media makes its ideological inclination easy to decipher, because of reportage that is often tilted along ethnic and religious lines. using data obtained through participatory action research involving 40 purposively selected participant journalists, this article proposes an alternative method of news reportage using the peace-journalism model. developed by lynch and mcGoldrick (2005), the model encourages journalists to report social issues in ways that create opportunities for society to consider and value non-violent responses to conflict, using insights from conflict analysis and transformation to update concepts of balance, fairness and accuracy in reporting. it also provides a new route map which traces the connections between journalists, their sources, the stories they cover and the consequences of their reportage.
 
Article
Similar to previous polls, the 2017 elections in Kenya were closely contested in all the seats. During the 2017 polls, however, social networking sites were widely employed, including in campaigns where candidates not only set up websites but also employed bloggers and social media managers to manage their social media accounts and constantly post their campaign messages. As this paper notes, while social media fostered access to important information on the elections, it was also used to spread fake news intended mainly to win over voters, create fear and alarm, and sometimes disparage some of the independent institutions that were managing the elections. Using data collected during and after the August 8, 2017 General Election and October 26, 2017 repeat presidential contest, this paper examines how fake news was used to advance different political agendas. It answers two main questions: What was the nature of the fake news during the 2017 elections? And, what were the implications of the spread of fake news in the 2017 elections? An examination of these issues will provide a deeper understanding of how fake news featured in Kenya’s political discourse in the 2017 elections.
 
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The September 11 (2001) Jihadists attack on the West and the subsequent wars on terrorism indicate that war may be a permanent condition of life in the contemporary world. This implies that to understand contemporary society, culture and communication, requires an understanding of war because war could provide a perspective through which to understand the contemporary world. This article critically explores the link between war and communication, traces the contours of a Western tradition of philosophical thought that considers war to be an integral and formative aspect of human identity, and proposes a war-centric perspective as foundation for a communication theory for the postmodern world.
 
Top-cited authors
Pieter J. Fourie
  • University of South Africa
Keyan Tomaselli
  • University of Johannesburg
Leo Van Audenhove
  • Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Jan Servaes
  • KU Leuven
Rachel Barker
  • University of South Africa