Nicky Falkof

Nicky Falkof
University of the Witwatersrand | wits · Department of Media Studies

PhD in Interdisciplinary Humanities and Cultural Studies

About

44
Publications
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Citations

Publications

Publications (44)
Book
In the last years of apartheid, white South African society found itself in the grip of previously unimaginable social and political change, which sometimes manifested in morbid cultural symptoms. This book considers two of those symptoms, a pair of matched moral panics that appeared in the contemporary media and in popular literature. It argues th...
Article
In October 2011, a young South African woman named Kirsty Theologo was set on fire and left for dead by a group of her high school contemporaries in Linmeyer, Johannesburg. The killing was defined as a “Satanist murder,” leading to media, judicial, and religious interventions aimed at countering the apparent Satanic threat. This article examines pr...
Article
The domestic worker’s room, or ‘maid’s room’, was ubiquitous in apartheid-era white South African suburbia. In the post-apartheid era many of these outdoor rooms have been reinvented as so-called garden cottages. Their histories of racialised labour have ostensibly been erased by a middle-class discourse in which garden cottages are rented to peopl...
Article
This article considers the way in which high-end beauty services in Johannesburg use a particular notion of “Africa” to brand themselves. Globally, the beauty industry is designed around an idea of indulgence, with pampering posited as a means of self-care, survival and joy. Marketing for beauty destinations often draws on an Orientalist idea of th...
Article
This article considers ‘expatriate’ discourses about security in Cape Town, South Africa and Santiago de Chile. The cities themselves have reputations as desirable, beautiful, civilised, modern and welcoming, in contrast to lurid ideas about poverty, crime, filth and corruption that often characterise northern imaginings of the developing world. Ye...
Article
Full-text available
For many young black South African women, the competitive arena of social media offers access to significant social and cultural capital, which can be invaluable in the unequal context in which they live. In order to succeed in this high stakes environment young women carefully construct the identities and idealised selves that they present on plat...
Article
This article explores representations of black South African family structure in the popular local reality television programme Date My Family. Focusing on visual and verbal discourses, it considers the programme's cultural relevance, presentation of social circumstances and understandings of black South African identity in relation to family struc...
Article
Touted as the world's most popular touring exhibition, Body Worlds, the display of “plastinated” human corpses, has been viewed by over 40 million people worldwide. This article builds on existing scholarship of the phenomenon, with an analysis of the exhibition “Body Worlds & The Cycle of Life”, displayed in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2014. It...
Article
This article is concerned with the continued salience of the notion of moral panic, an idea that has been both enormously influential in sociological and media research and has come under fire for various flaws. It reviews some of the most common critiques of moral panic, discussing why these are valid and where they fall short, and adds new commen...
Article
This article discusses the discursive and narrative intersections between two moral panics that appeared in the white South African press in the last years of apartheid: the first around the claimed danger posed by white male homosexuals, the second around the alleged incursion of a criminal cult of white Satanists. This connection was sometimes im...
Chapter
In this chapter, two acutely emotional, personalised, and extremely challenging pedagogical moments in which race was encountered, negotiated and problematised in the post-apartheid media studies classroom are explored. In the interdisciplinary, dynamic field of media studies, educators are fortunate to have access to a constantly changing set of c...
Article
JEMIMA PIERRE, The Predicament of Blackness: postcolonial Ghana and the politics of race. Chicago IL and London: University of Chicago Press (hb US$97 – 978 0 226 92302 4; pb US$32 – 978 0 226 92303 1). 2012, 263 pp. - Volume 86 Issue 3 - NICKY FALKOF
Article
This article considers the portrayal of white masculinity in two contemporary South African feature films, its socio-political implications and relation to histories of white identity. These films’ protagonists are middle-aged white South African men, both educated, privileged and financially stable, both of whom make sexual choices that are seen a...
Chapter
In this chapter I discuss Afrikaans nationalism and, concurrently, some characteristics of white identity found in South Africa. As I suggested in the Introduction, the Satanism scare manifested among both English and Afrikaans white South Africans, as well as among more marginal white groupings like my own Johannesburg Jewish community. Not all wh...
Chapter
‘Culture itself is, in the last analysis, an ideology’, writes Roland Barthes (1993, 81). South Africa’s Satanism scare had ideological effects as well as ideological causes, and these too influenced the lived experience of some conservative white South Africans in the early years of the 1990s. As I argue above, there was a provocative, if unconsci...
Chapter
When discussing family murders, it is helpful to return to the psychoanalytic register that is so fruitful for analysing the overdetermined imaginary landscapes of the late apartheid period. The family romance is a fantasy structure full of narrative. To summarise Freud’s account, in his early years the child’s most intense wish is to emulate the p...
Chapter
According to the majority of the contemporary press the family murderer was white, male, Afrikaans, conservative and traditionally South African. This characterisation was subject to revision as well as repetition, but the articles and papers that questioned it framed their scepticism in terms of a reconsideration of the idea of the white male Afri...
Chapter
Writing about what she calls contemporary ‘hysterical epidemics’, Elaine Showalter says, ‘In the interaction between … millennial panic, new psychotherapies, religious fundamentalism and American political paranoia, we can see the crucible of virulent hysterias in our own time … As the panic reaches epidemic proportions, hysteria seeks out scapegoa...
Chapter
There is a brief passage in Frantz Fanon’s ‘Concerning Violence’ in which he discusses the relevance of occult superstitions to the colonised native, describing them as mechanisms for disavowal of the coloniser’s power, creating a narrative in which the subjugation of the colonised person is blamed on supernatural forces rather than on white domina...
Chapter
According to David Chidester, during his 1989 murder trial Barend Strydom told the court, ‘“I did not commit murder, but merely exercised my rights as a son of the Boerevolk.” Strydom claimed that his human identity and rights were based not merely on race, but more importantly and specifically on an Afrikaner identity’ (1991, 11). Strydom’s murder...
Chapter
It is impossible to know exactly how many family murders occurred in South Africa during the late apartheid period. Police records did not separate these killings from other incidents of murder and domestic violence and the term ‘family murder’ was sometimes used by the press for other domestic crimes. Although there was a general conception that S...
Chapter
Satanism was not restricted to South Africa. The scare began in the USA in the early 1980s, spread to the UK and appeared as far afield as Scandinavia, Turkey and even Egypt by the 1990s.11 A number of lurid, confessional US publications appeared in which female authors ‘recalled’ memories of appalling mistreatment by satanic groups: first Michelle...
Chapter
As discussed in Chapter 4, the Satanism scare was both a mask and a marker for a range of threats that fed into white South African fear. The discourses attached to communists, rebellious youth and demonic foreigners all bolstered the narrative of Satanism. The apparent epidemic of family murder operated in a similar manner, pulling a whole plethor...
Chapter
On 15 November 1988, in a humid square near the centre of Pretoria, the legislative capital of South Africa, a 21-year-old white Afrikaans man named Barend Hendrik Strydom took out his pistol and began to shoot black people. He shot one man outside the State Theatre and a man and a woman on the corner of Church and Prinsloo Streets, and then contin...
Chapter
Barend Strydom’s bloodthirsty journey through the Pretoria streets and the sensational reporting on his subsequent trial held a distorted mirror up to white South African society, revealing obscene deformations of its biblical mythologies. Many white people were shocked at the ease with which the Wit Wolf equated the duties of white masculinity wit...
Article
During the last years of the apartheid state, white South Africa was gripped by a so-called epidemic of family murder. This article examines the body of contemporary press responses to these killings to analyze the persistent assumption made by newspaper and magazine writers that the family murderer was necessarily white, male, Afrikaans, and conse...
Article
Full-text available
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, as the apartheid system was falling apart, white South Africa was gripped by a powerful moral panic that played out, often hysterically, in the newspapers and magazines of the time. This Satanism scare revolved around fears of a large-scale conspiracy of evil that mostly involved white youth, and that threatened t...
Article
OPEN ACCESS, AVAILABLE AT http://www.excursions-journal.org.uk/index.php?journal=excursions&page=article&op=view&path%5B%5D=6&path%5B%5D=15 From Stallone and Schwarzenegger to Gibson and Willis, the Hollywood action star of the 1980s was a hard-bodied hero with an attitude to match. But more than this, the action hero was an ideological construct;...

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