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Masters Degrees (Media, Visual Arts and Drama)

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    An exploration of how word choice and framing contribute to agendasetting in the reporting of gender-based violence in three KwaZulu-Natal community newspapers (November 2021 to December 2022)
    (2023) Mangoro, Munyaradzi.; Scott, Claire.
    This study primarily concerns how word choice and framing contribute to agenda-setting in reporting gender-based violence (GBV) in three KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) community newspapers from November 2021 to December 2022. Three weekly English community newspapers, namely, Zululand Observer, Maritzburg Echo and South Coast Sun, were purposively selected and provided the data for this study. The key objectives of this study were to look at descriptive and emotive words used in the GBV-related articles posted by the three publications; to determine if any changes occurred in the framing of articles during the 16 Days of Activism campaign period of November to December 2021 and November to December 2022, and to determine how word choice and framing prioritised the issue of GBV in terms of the media agenda setting. This study was guided by framing theory. A mixed-method research approach was used to collect and analyse the data. Quantitative content analysis was used to tally all GBV-related stories published during the period of study and to record all descriptive and emotive words used in these stories. Qualitative thematic analysis was used to group these words according to similarities and connotations to identify emerging themes on GBV. Because GBV is an issue that comes out of the private into the public sphere through being reported in community newspapers and other media platforms, it is important for this study to look at word choice and framing and, for this reason, initiate future debate on media responsibility when reporting on GBV. Looking at national stats-to-story-frequency and priority ratio, findings indicate that GBV was not given priority in the publications under review. Overall, 42% of all the GBV-related stories discussed in this study were posted during the two 16 Days of Activism time periods discussed. This indicates an outstanding visibility of GBV-related stories compared to the rest of the study period. Lastly, literature on GBV and the media in South Africa is very broad, but the study of word choice in the media, especially community newspapers in South Africa is yet to be thoroughly explored through research. This study acknowledges literature on analysing discourse around GBV in the South African media, that has been done by scholars such as Kulne Oparinde & Rachel Matteau Matsha, Floretta Boonzaier, Peace Kiguwa, Nechama Broodie, Amanda Gouws, Nicky Falkof and Mille Phiri, just to mention a few. The study of word choice needs attention as it is critical in understanding, significantly reducing and possibly eradicating GBV. This study suggests that the three publications need to increase the salience of GBV stories by dedicating more space to such stories weekly. Equivalency framing in the use of descriptive and emotive words is encouraged, as they are eye-catching, appealing and interesting to the readers.
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    Understanding the impact of the digital divide and new methods of learning on humanities students at UKZN during the coronavirus pandemic.
    (2023) Akinlabi, Oyinkansola Oyindamola.; Pitcher, Sandra Jane.
    Typically, the digital divide refers to the separation between those who have access to digital information and communications technology (ICT) and those who do not (Dewan & Riggins, 2005). However, more recently, scholars and thought-leaders have acknowledged that the concept is multifaceted and should consider various socio-political factors, as well as economic ones. The University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) is home to a diverse range of students of different genders, ages, socio-economic backgrounds, and racial backgrounds. The use of digital technology plays a huge role in the academic processes for students at UKZN. It is imperative that all students have access to, and are familiar with, digital technology to successfully complete their academic tasks. This became even more important in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, which made it necessary for most teaching and learning to be done virtually with the use of digital technology. However, just like in most communities, there is a gap between the availability of digital platforms and students’ access, and their cognitive ability to use these platforms. This research explores the experiences of UKZN Humanities students as they navigated their new level of dependency on digital technology for learning during the Coronavirus pandemic. It highlights how the digital divide has impacted their use of digital technology while learning virtually, their peculiar experiences and actions taken due to virtual learning, as well as how they compare virtual learning to contact learning.
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    Defining our own terrain: interrogating the/my black female body as a site of possibilities in contemporary South African performance and my own screen dance making (2021/2022).
    (2023) Mzindle, Zanele Marcia.; Loots, Lliane Jenifer.; Moyikwa, Nomcebisi.
    This dissertation explores Black female performing bodies as knowledge makers particularly in the South African context. It explores the notion that Black female performing bodies are sites of meaning making and storytelling within performance practice (Nqelenga, n.d.). This research is an act of reconceptualising and a (re)learning of Black female bodies, as sites of knowing both historically and for me personally, within my own situated lived experience and dance performance practices. I consider Black female bodies as possible sites of resistance, knowledge, power, spirituality, resilience and empowerment. In this dissertation, the key intentions are to critically examine the extent to which Black South African female bodies are an embodiment of resilience, sites of possibilities and possible tools of/for artistic expression in/through performance practice. I do this, firstly, with a special focus on interrogating the examples of performative works of South African Buhlebezwe Siwani, uNgenzelaphantsi (2014); Lhola Amira’s (also known as Khanyisile Mbongwa) work/conversational discourse in the form of a pre-recorded interview on YouTube titled LHOLA Amira – here’s what you need to know about the artist who calls herself an ancestral presence (2018); Mamela Nyamza Grounded (2022)1 and De-Apart-Hate (2017)2. Alongside the work of Nelisiwe, Xaba, They Look At Me, And That’s All They Think (2006). Secondly, I navigate my own performance/dance practice in setting up a screen dances solo project that offers an embodied response to the theorising of this dissertation. This small solo film project (which is available to be viewed via YouTube) is part of the dissertation and is a practice as research (Fraylin, 1994; Sullivan, 2005; Fleishman, 2012) inclusion into finding alternate ways of speaking into the engagements of this dissertation. This dissertation argues that the presence and appearance of Black female South African bodies stand not only as contested political sites but also as sites of potential resistance. I argue that Black women’s bodies have the potential to articulate narratives, discourses, and inscriptions written on it, in what Madison calls “theories of the flesh” (1993, p. 213) which I will interrogate more fully in Chapter Two of this dissertation and embed into my analysis of case studies and my own screen dance in Chapter Three and Four. I seek to interrogate alternative narratives and meaning-making processes in order to foreground the potentials of Black female embodiment in the South African context by using an autoenthographic approach alongside practice-based research. This dissertation contributes to the small but growing field of study around the agency of Black female bodies in performance (for example, Carole Boyce-Davies 1994; Pumla Qgola 2001; Kimberly Wallace-Sanders, 2002; Buhlebezwe Siwani 2016; Pumelela Nqelenga (n.d.).
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    Shattering the silence: analysing the theatrical portrayal of domestic abuse in the Indian South African community - a textual study of three South African plays (between 1993 and 2002).
    (2021) Pillai, Shirdika.; Meskin, Tamar.
    In this dissertation, I use diasporic identity theory and cultural theory to argue that the political and social structures of the country have influenced how the Indian South African community viewed itself in relation to South African society. The race politics of South Africa played a significant role in the community closing ranks to shield itself from external criticism and ensuring cultural practices were preserved. Members of the community who chose economically advantageous pursuits, forged ahead socially while confining women to the private domain and tasking them with the role of gatekeeping culture, tradition and language. This responsibility, taken up by Indian South African women, has endured over generations and over time, many women have become shackled by this role of cultural policing. This, coupled with young girls being taught their roles are subservient to males in the home - regardless of whether he is her father, brother or husband – has seen an enabling of patriarchal practices being perpetuated. Thus, in homes where domestic abuse takes place, women have little to no agency to confront the man in the home and challenge his authority. As an Indian South African myself, I have witnessed how the social ill of domestic abuse has remained tightly contained within the boundaries of the community. It is the silence around this matter that I confront with my research. While it has almost always pursued a male agenda (as it is considered the public domain), over the years, Indian South African theatre practitioners have transformed the role of theatre to cater to the needs of the community. In my research, I have analysed three South African plays, written by Indian South African male playwrights, who have turned the public spotlight of the stage onto the private experiences of domestic abuse. The three plays are Ismail Mahomed’s Purdah (1993), Robin Singh’s Till Death do us Part (1993) and Vivian Moodley’s A Cookie in the Kitchen (2002). While written almost a decade apart, all three playwrights’ perceptions around how domestic abuse is experienced in the Indian South African community, are strikingly similar. Through textual analysis, I interrogate how these playwrights have chosen to dramatise domestic abuse. In understanding the theatrical representations of the violence - influenced by social, economic and cultural factors - interpretive assessments can be made about how it is experienced in homes in the Indian South African community. It is my belief that the medium of theatre can act as a catalyst for social change; in this regard, I use the theories of Bertolt Brecht’s Epic Theatre to support my argument. Brecht believed that an active audience could be propelled to make the changes in their own lives that they wanted to see reflected on stage. My intention is to illustrate how the plays engage difficult questions around the gendered power structures enforced by the community, challenging systems like patriarchy. Through such experiences, I hope that Indian South African women may claim the agency necessary to shatter the silence.
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    YUCK! (2020): a performative exploration of the white heterosexual self in South Africa as grotesque.
    (2022) Mennigke, Francis Michael.; Hammerschlag, Tamantha Anne.; Draper, Jessica Lindiwe.
    This dissertation discusses how I used performance to explore my white-heterosexual-male identity within the context of contemporary South Africa from a grotesque perspective. The research joins the academic conversation around performance as a method of inquiry into antiprejudicial scholarship. It explores my experience as a white-heterosexual-male in South Africa as normative and privileged. I use the word normative in relation to my identity and the structural norms reinforced by white supremacy in colonial and apartheid South Africa. The research hypothesises that performing my identity from a grotesque perspective could aid in disrupting how I perform racial and or gendered prejudice within a contemporary South African context. I argue that this theory might be applicable to both my artistic practice as well as my lived experience. I find practical value in the above hypothesis due to both my prior artistic practice and lived experience having demonstrated a lack of understanding with regards to the socio-cultural and political effects of my whiteness.
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    A new ‘dance of agency’: an embodied engagement with material agency in artistic practice.
    (2023) Moore, Neith Leigh.; Hall, Louise Gillian.
    My current body of work explores, and is rooted in, the issues and challenges surrounding posthuman performativity as part of the New Materialisms. These theories claim to offer a new way of making/knowing/being that is not anthropocentric. From this framework, I approach understandings of material agency that seek to go beyond human agency and “chasten my fantasies of human mastery”1. My objective is to investigate my ‘dance of agency’2 through a posthumanist lens, as I engage in an inter-epistemic dialogue, which seeks to undermine the traditional boundaries between the human, the animal, and the inanimate. This dialogue positions itself on the boundaries of many disciplines, namely physics, biological systems theory, psychology and chemistry, in an attempt to apply a posthumanist theory to the Visual Arts. Using my art practice and the exhibition, ‘Material Agency in the Anthropocene’, from my practice-led research, I explore my own, and society's vulnerability in a manner that pays attention to the powerful ‘being’ of nonhuman forces and materials and their inherent entropic ‘messiness’. Given the scope and scale of current non-human agencies, such as viral, biological and climate change factors, I suggest that this area of research into a new 'dance of agency' between the human and the non-human could be of contemporary value.
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    #Democracy: a case study of social media use amongst members of the public sphere during the 2014 South African general election.
    (2016) Chunylall, Rasvanth.; Wade, Jean-Philippe.
    At present social media is used by 28% of the world’s population. The use has naturally penetrated the political sphere where social media presence in election periods is a global growing phenomenon. However, limited research has been conducted examining political social media use in South Africa despite calls for social media research in developing contexts and the pervasiveness of social media use amongst the country’s netizens. In addressing this the dissertation defines the uses of social media during election periods and illustrates how social media was used during the 2014 South African general election. Finally, the study also determines whether social media contributed to the democracy of the country. The researcher used Jϋrgen Habermas’s theory of the public sphere as the theoretical underpinning of the study. An exploratory case study method was employed as the main research method with web archiving, a thematic analysis of Twitter trends and observation adopted as sub-methods. Research was limited to the most popular social media sites in the country: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Mxit. The findings demonstrate that social media was used by the country’s public, the traditional mass media, politicians and political parties, civil society actors and the IEC as part of their undertakings during the election period. The study also found that during the election period an online public sphere was realised in the country and, as a result, facilitated the creation of public opinion by creating communication channels between the electorate and other electoral actors. The dialogues that took place online showed signs of deliberation and was given consideration by the relevant authorities. Finally, the online public sphere regulated the state by enlightening them on public concerns and holding them accountable for their actions.
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    Public relations in sport: a case study on the South African Hockey Association with a focus on social media in public relations strategies.
    (2019) Chisholm, Jamie Leigh.; Wade, Jean-Philippe.
    The South African Hockey Association (SAHA) is tasked with the responsibility of the management and functionality of indoor and outdoor hockey in South Africa. This includes the administration, development and coordination of all activities of the game in areas such as coaching, umpiring and playing whether at International, Provincial, Club or School level. SAHA is a member of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), the Africa Hockey Federation (AHF) and the International Hockey Federation (FIH). SAHA organises annual Inter Provincial Tournaments (IPTs) for the four age groups (U13, U16, U18 and open) for both males and females as well as liaising with other international hockey federations and governing bodies to partake in various international test series and tournaments such as World Cups, Commonwealth Games and The Olympics (South African Hockey Association, 2012). As with many other organisations, SAHA has in recent years adopted social media platforms to communicate with their stakeholders after having a website established for several years prior. Although SAHA is the governing body for all hockey in South Africa, this research will focus on the Men’s and Women’s National Teams and how the publicity is managed for these two teams. The social media platforms that are currently used by South African Men’s and Women’s teams are Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. This research will therefore focus on the content, management and connections that are facilitated by The SAHA website, the three Twitter pages (SA_Hockey, SA_Hockey_Men, and sawomenshockey), the two Instagram pages (sa_hockey_men and sawhockey) and the two Facebook pages (SA Hockey Men and SA Womens Hockey Team). This usage of social media offers a research opportunity that will assist organisations such as SAHA to utilise social media to its advantage with regards to public relations. Even though there is a significant rise in the interest of research in social media for corporate use, there is very little notable research specifically dealing with the use of social media for public relations activities in the sporting sector. This research uses a range of theories and related studies on public relations in various fields in order to develop a viable framework that can enhance the public relation efforts for The South African Hockey Association so that they can optimise social media to ensure maximum engagement with followers.
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    Panic! Looting! : the prevalence of disaster mythology on Fox News Online and CNN Online when reporting on Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma.
    (2022) Fourie, Liezel.; Scott, Claire.
    The aim of this research project was to establish whether or not the known sociological concept of disaster myths were used by CNN and FOX in their online coverage of 2017 Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. After investigating if disaster myths were used, further analysis was conducted as to how the disaster myths were used and represented. By conducting a content analysis, a framing analysis and a discourse analysis, it was established that when reporting on disasters in the USA both CNN and FOX in their online coverage of Hurricane Harvey seldom used disaster myths. When disaster myths were used, these were primarily the myths of panic and low community morale. In contrast location appeared to factor greatly into the reporting and representation of Irma, with FOX online primarily reporting on the impact Irma was having on the USA. In contrast CNN online focused on the impact of Irma both inside the USA and outside the USA. However CNN made frequent use of the disaster myths of looting and anti-social behaviour when reporting on events outside the USA. Disaster myths appear to be uncommonly used when reporting on events occurring inside the borders of the USA, however disaster myths are frequently used when reporting on events occurring outside the USA. The myths of panic and looting are still being used despite years of research proving that people tend to not abandon all societal norms during and after a disaster situation.
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    A critical analysis of documentary production ethics and technical standards of Zimbabwe’s key population documentaries.
    (2021) Mundondwa, Collins.; Jones, Nicola Jane.
    The majority of researchers on media and its impact on representation of Key Populations have concentrated on print media and advertisement. Limited research has been undertaken to understand how electronic media represent, and projects Key Populations (KP). Based on the premise that documentarians use humans/ people as subjects and have the potential to impact the lives of these people, the study examines ethical and technical issues that abound in documentary filmmakers. It analyses six documentaries focusing on the presentation of key populations (sex workers, lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender) (LGBT) persons in Zimbabwe. Theoretically, the study is informed by the framing theory and the social representation theory. Being qualitative in design, the study relies on observation and content analysis research methodology. The study argues that to a greater extent, most documentaries produced by Zimbabwean Non-Governmental fail to meet ethical standards such as confidentiality, consent and presentation of the subject. The reserach contends that the documentaries are subjective in their presentation of realities about the lives and circumstances of key populations. The story angle, and presentation is highly influenced by the sponsors of documentaries. Such presentations promote negativity, fuel discrimination against key populations in Zimbabwe and compromise the quality of the documentaries. The study recommends that the government of Zimbabwe, working together with the Human Rights Commission craft laws that protect key populations against discrimination by the media and society. Producers and documentary filmmakers should be capacitated on key population reporting. Film makers should also invest in professional film making equipment and widen their distribution of the films.
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    Framing and shaping in media reporting: online media report of Marikana Massacre 2012-2014.
    (2021) Msileni, Yandisa.; Ngema, Luthando Ngazile.
    The Lonmin Mines wage strike which saw 44 people lose their lives, 34 of which were brutally shot and killed by the South African Police Services, not only made the national or regional headlines but made international news as well. This study probes the news frames and news agendas as employed in five online news sources, namely: BusinessLive, SowetanLive, News24, Daily Maverick and Mail & Guardian. A non-random sample of 47 news and editorial articles taken from the aforementioned five news sources were thoroughly examined. The articles covered the events of the Lonmin Mines strike action and the subsequent massacre from August 13, 2012, until September 04, 2014. The data form the selected articles were analysed through Frame analysis and Critical Discourse Analysis. The study revealed that all five online sources considered the Lonmin Marikana event as newsworthy. The data revealed that the news reports had different outlooks which foreground their reporting on the matter. However, ultimately, they all demonised the miner workers and positioned the strike action as villainous. A focus on Lonmin consistently overshadowed the mineworker’s economic plight. Consequently, the news reports foregrounded the negative characteristics of striking mineworkers, and their supporters, while simultaneously, foregrounding the mineworker’s positive attributes during the days of the strike action.
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    The re-contextualisation and representation of women’s roles in the television series Once Upon a Time.
    (2020) Reddy, Dashentha.; Jackson, Fiona Margaret.
    This dissertation explores the representation and re-contextualisation of female roles in the contemporary television series, Once Upon a Time. Women in the media and society have long been undermined. Women, especially in the fairy tale genre, have been assigned stereotypically feminine roles that underline the roles that women in society are expected to follow. In a more contemporary world, representations of women in the media and the role they play in society have changed. Playing a critical role in changing this has been feminist thought and activism, which has resulted in an increased number of texts that showcase women in roles that are not only stereotypically feminine. A qualitative research approach was employed for this study, informed by an interpretivist paradigm. Two fairy tale characters, Snow White and Little Red Riding Hood, were analysed across three filmic texts that were purposively sampled: Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) and Jetlag’s Little Red Riding Hood (1995) were analysed in order to understand more traditional representations of Snow White and Little Red Riding Hood, and the third text, season one of Once Upon a Time (2011), was analysed in order to understand a contemporary representation and re-contextualisation of these characters. This study used three analytical methods: content analysis, visual/semiotic analysis, and actantial analysis, all of which incorporated textual analysis to support and further develop the findings. Ottosson and Cheng’s (2012) feminine and masculine trait categories were used to inform the content analysis. The study finds that Once Upon a Time highlights a world that is not male dominated but still contains some of the values of patriarchal society. It also challenges the heteronormative desire for love that is expressed by most fairy tale characters. Furthermore, the study suggests that the society you live in affects the privileges that you have. For example, white middle-class females have more options with regards to independence and being open about their sexuality, while women from poorer areas have limited choices due to their financial status and the society they live in.
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    Exploring the effectiveness of interactive information and data visualisation for news web interface in the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution: a South African perspective.
    (2021) David, Kubenthran.; Sewchurran, Anusharani.
    From a global perspective, news production and consumption is becoming increasingly digitised. The world is changing very fast, and big will not beat small anymore, but rather the fast beating the slow (Murdoch, 2016). Comparatively, South African news media organisations are not adapting fast enough to the new normal with respect to the deployment of innovative solutions to revamp their online platforms. They, therefore, need to adapt quickly and innovatively to the accelerated demands of the digital revolution in order to compete with international online news disrupters. The problem that this research identifies is that information and data visualisation for online news in South Africa is somewhat deficient regarding the use of non-linear interactivity for innovative news graphics. In South Africa, online news is a digital replica of a traditional newspaper, extensively relying on the use of still photographs that accompany text in a linear format despite the acceleration in digital development whereby the nonlinearity and interactive nature of Web 2.0 allows for interactive user engagement. While it is true that digital technology has beaten down the entry barriers to publication, it is also true that publishers need to do everything in their power to raise barriers that will prevent people from leaving their world of meaning. This research study undertook to comparatively review the information and data visualizations used in two international online news sites: The New York Times (NYT), and The Straits Times (ST) and the information and data visualisations used in two national online news sites: Times Live (TL), and E-News Channel Africa (eNCA) online to determine novel ways in which information visualisation can be incorporated into news websites in South Africa. The key finding was that non-linear interactive information and data visualisation is a neglected area of specialisation notwithstanding the fact that it can enhance the multimedia narrative output for South African news websites if implemented appropriately. Since this is a fairly new creative discipline, and with the increasing information and data deluge due to the advancement of technology, the results of this study underline the impact of visualizing an influx of information and data, providing a roadmap for an innovative and interactive execution of information and data in the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
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    Interrogating the synthesis of African traditional rituals and spirituality in contemporary South African dance: critical reflections on the dance work of Vincent Mantsoe, Moeketsi Koena, and my own work.
    (2020) Mtshali, Mduduzi.; Loots, Lliane Jennifer.
    This part dissertation explores the synthesis of selected, black (AmaZulu and Sotho) South African traditional rituals and spirituality, and the way they are negotiated and manifest in selected contemporary South African dance. This will be effected by reflecting firstly, on an examination and analysis of the dance work of South Africa’s Vincent Sekwati Mantsoe (KonKoriti- JOMBA! 2016) and Moeketsi Koena (Point of View-New Dance 2004). Both these choreographers enjoy both national and international reputations for their unique (and differing) fusion of South African cultural traditional practice and contemporary dance practice. I then move on to investigate how both Mantsoe and Koena have influenced and informed my own rehearsal style and choreographic processes, particularly with reference to the creation of Alive Kids (2016/17) - a dance performance work I created in 2016 and then re-worked in 2017 for the JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Festival at the KZN Gallery (August 2017). I will offer a detailed self-reflection and autoethnographic interrogation of my own rehearsal and creative process which describes and analyses, how-in this work-I began to push my own understanding of traditional Black South African culture and its links to ritual, spirituality- and contemporary identity. Finally I offer an autoethnographic study within what Timothy Rice refers to as “subject centred research” (2017:139). In investigating my own praxis and the influences and connections to South African dance makers such as Mantsoe and Koena, I have interrogated my own multifaceted Black identity as a dance maker and choreographer and how my traversing cultural and traditional practices engages with the growing lexicon of critical dance making in South Africa.
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    Hooked: a truelife production about teen drug and alcohol abuse: engaging action research and postmodern theatre practices in devising a theatre in education project.
    (2019) Strauss, Nancy Leigh.; Meskin, Tamar.
    Theatre in Education (TIE) has a long history of impact and development, and in South Africa, has been particularly instrumental in bringing about social change, challenging young people to reflect on their lives and their role in society. In this dissertation, I explore the usefulness of Action Research (AR) for the process of devising a TIE production using a case study of Trulife, a non-profit organisation working in schools across KwaZulu-Natal. Action Research has been shown to be useful in education but has not been properly explored in the context of the devising process for TIE programmes. This dissertation is structured into three parts – the initial establishment of the literature and a theoretical framework; followed by a description of the practical creative project and script; and concluding with a description of the methods used to reflect on the work as well as key observations and reflections. Central to this dissertation is the script of Hooked, a TIE programme which focuses on the impact of young people’s decisions relating to drug and alcohol use. The script, which is included in Chapter Four, was created using collaborative devising – with a focus on brainstorming, improvisation, and borrowing the storyboarding technique from the world of film. The study explores how the process of devising for TIE programmes relates to the intersecting ideas and frameworks of practice as research, self-reflection and the AR method, using postmodernism conceptually to examine how subjective truth is communicated and also practically as a stylistic approach to best engage high school learners using theatre. The data was drawn from both the script itself, group interviews with the participant actors, and my own observations captured in private journaling. The most important finding of this work is that AR was not only useful for helping to streamline the devising process but was already deeply ingrained in the way the team of creators and performers approached the task of creating a new TIE production. The benefits of using AR in guiding devising are explored, while parallels to other cyclical processes found in self-reflection and theatre are acknowledged. This study contributes both to the field of TIE – suggesting that AR can be a useful tool fordevising, and calling for future studies aimed at further developing and refining AR for TIE – and to my own personal development as a creative practitioner involved in producing TIE productions.
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    Into Ulwembu: exploring collaborative methodologies in a research-based theatre production on street-level drug use in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
    (2019) Coppen, Neil.; Young-Jahangeer, Miranda.; Erwin, Kira.
    Over a yearlong creative process starting in 2014, The Big Brotherhood, Mpume Mthombeni, Dr Dylan McGarry and myself, Neil Coppen, came together to devise a collaborative theatrical intervention in response to the ‘whoonga crisis’—a proliferation of heroin-based street-level drug abuse—in Durban, South Africa. The transdisciplinary, action-led, research process we adopted for Ulwembu would emerge as, and be refined into, an applied, syncretic theatre-making methodology—a methodology that we would come to call ‘Empatheatre’. Over this thesis, I provide a detailed narrative around the research, devising and dissemination of our production, unravelling the context and conditions from which Ulwembu arose, as well as unpack the process of testing and shaping our new methodology, arriving at an iterative definition of the Empatheatre methodology. By focusing on a variety of practices and methodological approaches employed across research-based theatre forms, I explore some of the complexities that arise when one attempts to bring research to life on the stage, including how empathy in applied theatre approaches may be considered either a ‘cathartic cop-out’ or ‘epiphany inducing catalyst’. In acknowledging the integral role empathy was to play—both in shaping our creative journey and our critical responses as practitioners, as well as impacting the reception of the production—I attempt to measure the pedagogical impacts of our project on both the Empatheatre practitioners and audience members. I do this primarily—but not exclusively—through the lens of the pedagogical empathetic impacts that the devising and dissemination of Ulwembu was to enable. I ask, firstly, how the experience of co-creating Ulwembu—and our deep immersion in the research process—transformed our understanding of street-level drug addiction and the way we subsequently devised Ulwembu. These transformations also shaped the way we intend to approach social justice theatre projects of this kind in the future. In exploring this process, I take a critical look at my own role and function within the Ulwembu theatre-making processes as cofacilitator, playwright and director. Secondly, I ask if, how, and to what extent, our Empatheatre methodology and production was able to shift perceptions around drug use and the whoonga ‘problem’ in Durban and inspire greater reflexivity in local city institutions and organisations, to ultimately move them collectively towards less judgmental and more compassionate outcomes.
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    #MrpMyStyle as brand communication: an analysis of Mr Price brand image as reflected through Facebook.
    (2019) Gunkel, Kaylyn Elicia.; Ngema, Luthando Ngazile.
    This study investigates the hashtag #mrpmystyle as brand communication. Through observation of Mr Price‟s Facebook page, and its activities over a period, to evaluate the effectiveness of the Mr Price Facebook page in directing consumers to its website. The main aim of this research study was to evaluate the social media platform „Facebook‟, in order to understand how the Mr Price brand used the platform to communicate with its consumers and vice versa. The study made reference to secondary sources to support the phenomenon that brand communication on social media can be effective. However it required constant engagement and encouragement between a brand and its consumers in order for the brand‟s image to be positively perceived. This study adopted a thematic analysis as to analysing data drawn from the Facebook activities, observed from Mr Price page. Information from the Mr Price Facebook page was then coded and interpreted through qualitative themes which were influenced by the study‟s objectives. The data was collected through e-observation where a total number of seventy posts were analysed for data collected from the Mr Price Facebook page. These posts were critically analysed through a thematic analysis in order to determine the level of communication that occurred between the Mr Price brand and its consumers on a daily basis. The information was interpreted qualitatively in order to get a holistic understanding of the communication patterns and whether this communication could be classed as „effective‟. The study formulated recommendations in order for brands to improve the manner in which they used social media platforms (specifically Facebook) as a communication tool between them and their consumers.
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    Articulating pain and surviving trauma: interrogating the representations of extreme gender violence in two contemporary South African plays by Lara Foot and Phyllis Klotz.
    (2019) Mtshali, Nompumelelo.; Loots, Lliane Jennifer.
    The high rape statistics in South Africa has launched diverse research enquiries to interrogate extreme gender-based violence particularly child rape and corrective rape. The findings from broad research studies for example by Rachel Jewkes, Hetty Rose-Junius and Loveday Penn Kekana (2005) point to poverty as a cultural legacy of colonialism and power imbalances between genders as some of the most significant symptoms of gender-based violence. Lara Foot and Phyllis Klotz as South African playwrights, directors and activists have used real-life rape cases to create plays that heighten awareness on rape through horrific fictionalised stories. This half-dissertation applies a literary and performative analysis on these plays namely, Tshepang (2005) and Chapter 2 Section 9 (2016), as postcolonial feminist theatrical texts that engage critical scholarly and performance discourse on gender-based violence in South Africa.
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    Contemporary Afrikaner cultural identity and the Suidlanders: a discursive analysis of the Suidelanders Inligting DVD 2.
    (2012) Lategan, Nicolette.; Jones, Nicola-Jane.
    This dissertation is a discursive analysis of the Suidlanders DVD2. It explores white Afrikaner identity through discourses such as those offered in the Kill the Boer debate, and an all-encompassing fear discourse that flourishes through crime, a South African terrorism as experienced through farm attacks, and a perceived 'white genocide' conspiracy. The dissertation examines through critical discourse analysis how ways of talking about ANC rule and the 'problems' experienced in the new dispensation are used to validate an Afrikaner identity that, were it not for a prevailing fear discourse, would otherwise remain on the fringes of identity in the country. The dissertation concludes that a traditional, apartheid era Afrikaner identity persists when opposing discourses across the cultural divide are pitted against each other, that 'white' cannot conceive of itself without 'black' and vice versa, and that Afrikaner identity as portrayed through an extremist group like the Suidlanders, is an identity caught in discursive limbo where everyday experience of fear paralyses all other means of rationalising a sense of self beyond that of a potential victim.