Smaller lens, bigger picture : exploring Zulu cultural tourism employees' identity by using cellphilms as a medium for participatory filmmaking methods.
Media promoting cultural tourism is argued to present specific romantic cultural attributes. In the case of Zulu cultural villages, the image offered is of militarism and bare-breasted maidens. The Western gaze offers the template within which such spectacle is constructed. PheZulu Safari Park is one such venture in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands that offers tourists a "uniquely African experience". Cell phones are rapidly proving to be a viable and accessible medium through which individuals can represent themselves. This dissertation evaluates the use of camera-enabled cell phones by Zulu cultural village performers. The subject-generated representation is analysed in order to assess the performers‘ view of the typical Zulu representation in the media, using a participatory video and participatory communication for development framework. A qualitative methodology was used to conduct focus groups, with field notes and unstructured interviews adding depth to the data. Thematic analysis was applied to the collected data, which included the cellphilms produced by the cultural performers. It was found that video enabled cell phones are indeed a viable technology to use in place of traditional digital video cameras in a participatory video project. The cellphilms that the participants produced negated the typical western media disseminated representation of Zulu culture, as is typified in the participants‘ performance at PheZulu Cultural Village. Although the cellphilms were not specifically targeted at promoting their cultural performance at PheZulu, significantly, it was not dismissing their performance‘s validity either. Instead, the participants used the cellphilms to express other, more personal, aspects of their culture.