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Doctoral Degrees (Media, Visual Arts and Drama)

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    Social media activism and simulated democracies: a comparative exploration of #FeesMustFall (South Africa) and #Jallikattu protests (Tamil Nadu, India)
    (2024) Govender, Kameshwaran Envernathan.; Sewchurran, Anusharani.
    Social media's transformation into public spheres has influenced activism and shifted protests and social movements into digital spaces. The #FeesMustFall movement (2015) campaigned for free education in South Africa. #FMF was precipitated by the #RhodesMustFall movement (2015) which called for the removal of the statue of Cecil Rhodes at the University of Cape Town, which represented colonialism. #RMF called for the decolonisation of education and #FMF reiterated the same. In parallel, the #Jallikattu protests (2017) in Tamil Nadu was against the Supreme Court's ban of 'Jallikattu’ a 2000-year-old cultural sport with bulls. The protests were triggered by the cumulative grievances of the people of Tamil Nadu against India's union government. The temporal proximity, student-led activism, social media influence of the protests and the nations being post-colonial democracies invoked the interest for this inter-continental comparison of protest cultures. This study explores a unique comparison of democracies via protest movements in South Africa and India. The researcher has collected data from blogs, e-newspapers, e-magazines, online news aggregators, e-editions of mainstream media, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and personal interviews to compare the discourses, which emerged from both these social campaigns. A snowball sampling method and open-ended interviews were used to collect data from student protestors, university faculty, media persons and the general citizenry. Foucault's discourse analysis and Yin's explorative case study analysis were used to analyse the collected data. Gidden's structuration theory provided a theoretical lens to how colourism, police brutality, racism, casteism, sexism, centres of protests, media bias, and diaspora support affected the social movements. Baudrillard’s simulacra and simulation theory afforded further analysis of the levels of democracies in both these nations. Drawing from the above events and narratives the researcher posits a simulation of democracy in South Africa and India disrupting normative ideals.
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    Mother, daughter, sister, wife? interogating construction of South African Indian women's Identity – a study of South African Indian women playwrights and our plays.
    (2022) Moodley, Devaksha.; Meskin, Tamar.; Young-Jahangeer, Miranda Eleanor.
    This thesis interrogates the gendered constructions and representations of Indian South African women (ISAW), South African Indian women (SAIW), and/or South African women of Indian descent’s (SAWOID) identity through a study of such playwrights and their plays, including my own work. ISAW, SAIW and/or SAWOID lives are critically affected by the roles we are expected to perform in our families, namely those of daughter, sister, wife, and mother. Sylvia Walby (1990) distinguishes two key forms of patriarchy: public and private. Such a differentiation is particularly relevant to ISAW, SAIW and/or SAWOID who have long been confined to the private domain in South African Indian (SAI) communities and families for the purposes of patriarchal and cultural preservation (Govender, 1999, 2001). Thus, although great strides have been made in ISAW, SAIW and/or SAWOID’s lives, traditional patriarchal roles remain entrenched (Rajab, 2011). Theatre, particularly in this study playwriting, offers SAIW like myself, an empowering public space to articulate our own subject positions (Govender, 2001). The study therefore adopts an autoethnographic and practice-based research (PaR) approach, methodological modes that are rooted in each individual’s creativity and experiences. Autoethnography and PaR connect in my thesis through the play I have written and directed as a primary part of this study, Devi (2019). Furthermore, the research explores the theatrical work of ISAW, SAIW and/or SAWOID through a reflexive thematic analysis of interviews with selected playwrights and a textual analysis of their selected plays. In undertaking such a study, I unpack the politics of identity construction through a feminist poststructural framework. Principally, I assert that Ideological State Apparatuses (ISAs), as conceptualised by French philosopher Louis Althusser (1971, 2006), especially those of family, religion and culture, are powerful ideological constructs. These ISAs strongly shape our experiences and the construction of our identities, which paradoxically, are both personally chosen but also socially regulated (Hall, 1997; Weedon, 1997; 2004). As a SAIW playwright, I am critically examining the specificity of the SAI (diasporic) community and how we continue to maintain traditional patriarchal values postcolonialism and post-apartheid. The often marginalised yet vital voices of ISAW, SAIW and/or SAWOID playwrights challenge the predominant patriarchally embedded socio-cultural practices of SAI communities and families, offering a dynamic “re-representation of brown female identity” (Naicker, 2017: 39).
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    Life stories: ethnographic portraits of migrant women challenging gender based violence in South Africa(Durban).
    (2022) Nyambuya, Venincia Paidamoyo.; Wade, Jean-Philippe.
    Gender-based violence (GBV) is not a new problem –nor is it unique to South Africa. However, the problem is profound and widespread in South Africa, a violent society. South Africa is the regional economic powerhouse, a status that culminates in a huge influx of foreign nationals converging in a centripetal pattern from across the globe in search of the proverbial greener pastures. Multiple waves of violent xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals, coupled with intimate femicide, which is five times the global average, bear testimony to the prevalence of violence in South Africa. GBV is a prevalent phenomenon in societies characterised by a culture of violence, and normalised male dominance. Migrant women living in KwaZulu-Natal endure a double burden of being foreign nationals, which exacerbates their exposure to xenophobia and that of GBV in general. GBV is therefore systemic, and deeply engrained in social institutions, cultures and traditions that exist in contemporary society. Exploring the contours of GBV, this study provided nuanced reflections on the lived experiences of female migrants in Durban and how the women in this study challenged GBV. The study adopted a qualitative approach located within the interpretivist paradigm. Data were collected using in-depth interviews with 15 purposively selected participants. The researcher adopted Braun and Clarke’s (2006) thematic analysis model to process the data into meaningful themes. Cultural Hegemony theory, Conflict theory, Social Ecological theory and Feminist theories served as the analytical lens for this study. The findings indicated that migrant women’s experiences of GBV were mainly drawn from their experiences of xenophobia among other intricate variants to this cause. Migrant women experiences of GBV were identified to have a connection on the their quest for survival leading to them abusing their bodies. The study elicited three themes (n=3), which were presented in three sequential chapters of this doctoral thesis (Chapter 6-8).
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    Social media as an alternative voice for the social movements: exploring the opportunities and challenges of alternative media in the digital age.
    (2023) Nkuna, Jabulani Master.; Sewchurran, Anusharani.
    Social media has evidently revolutionised communication, giving end-users the freedom to produce and consume media products. This has been evident in recent social movements such as the Arab Springs, Occupy Wall Street, and the Fallist movement. Whilst various social movements have embraced social media to communicate their alternative discourses, the extent to which social media serves as an alternative media for social movements is underexplored. This dissertation critically analyses the pitfalls and potentials of social media, such as Twitter and Facebook as alternative media. The theoretical basis of this study is located within the critical theories of the network society, critical political economy, the public sphere, and the post-colonial theory of subaltern. The findings reveal that social movements have adopted social media to communicate their discourses, challenge the dominant narrative, and set the news agenda. Whilst social media is an important medium of communicating their discourses, this study also observed that the discourses of social movements on social media are undermined by low engagement rates, digital divides and rapid commodification of culture. The study also found that social media ownership is ideologically counterposed to social movements that subscribe to subaltern politics. The capitalist owners’ desire to make money has led to re-circulating the ideas that affirm the place of the dominant in society. Social media tend to use algorithms to prioritise entertainment, celebrity lifestyles, conspicuous consumption and in some instances social media can be used to influence the political decisions of the masses. This effectively means that whilst the social movements have done well to create an alternative space for their community, the potential to counterbalance the force of power is still determined by dominant members of society who also set the agenda for inclusion and exclusion. In this case, the study proposes a blended approach in which social movements integrate new and traditional media to tell their stories to the general populace.
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    Theatre as grieving: a theatrical response to the Matabeleland and Midlands disturbances of the 1980s (A.K.A. Gukurahundi) in Zimbabwe.
    (2023) Moyo, Cletus.; Washington, Michael Salim.
    This research explores devised theatre, in the form of Popular Participatory Theatre (PPT) as a way of encouraging the victims and survivors of the Gukurahundi and their community members to speak out on this issue to create what I term a langalezo experience, which is a grieving experience as envisioned in the Ndebele culture. As a strategy to dismantle the Patriotic Front – Zimbabwe African People’s Union (PF ZAPU) and to address the dissident problem, the newly elected Zimbabwe African National Union– Patriotic Front (ZANU PF) government deployed the 5 Brigade in the Midlands and Matabeleland provinces, resulting in the massacre of about 20,000 unarmed civilians in what has become known as the Gukurahundi. The atrocities started in 1983 and ended with the signing of the Unity Accord in 1987. Following this violence, the government muted dialogue around the issue. The silencing of public discussions on the Gukurahundi by the government has blocked the grieving process of the victims and their children. To explore ways of speaking about this issue and of aiding the grieving process for the second-generation sufferers (and by extension the first-generation sufferers), I worked with a group of young people from Bulawayo to collectively devise and stage theatre on this emotive subject. Speak Out! Phase one and two plays were created and performed in Bulawayo, followed by post-performance discussions. Decolonial theory (Mignolo and Vazquez 2013; Mignolo 2018; Gaztambide-Fernández 2014; Quijano 2000, 2007; Ndlovu-Gatsheni 2013a, 2013b), Postcolonial Feminist theories (Mohanty 1988; 2003; hooks 1989; Spivak 1988), Popular Memory (Dawson 2015) and the concept of the Generation of Postmemory (Hirsch 2008) were used to frame the research as part of a body of artistic research that engages the African context in the era of so-called ‘liberation’. This qualitative research deployed Participatory Action Research (PAR) as a methodology within the emancipatory paradigm because of its emphasis on doing research with the people and not simply for the people. Since the study was participatory and carried out with participants from my cultural and linguistic community, I also used autoethnography (Cresswell 2013) and community autoethnography (Toyosaki et al. 2009) as part of the methodology within the interpretive paradigm. Findings of the research show that while the Gukurahundi ended in 1987, its effects have continued to exist in the form of difficulties for victims to obtain identity documents, economic problems, fractured families and trauma for the victims, and unhealed psychological wounds, among others. The study reveals that victims of the atrocities are frustrated that their pain and suffering are not publicly acknowledged and public discussions of the issue are being silenced. For closure and healing of emotional and psychological wounds of the Gukurahundi to take place, people should be free to talk about this issue and to grieve the way they want. I argue that PPT is rich with the potential to create democratic spaces that can give a platform for telling stories of pain and suffering that have been marginalised. I observe that techniques such as improvisation, storytelling, and the use of songs, when deployed during the devising process, assisted in creating a social and aesthetic space to speak about the Gukurahundi issues, creating a potential for helping those who are grieving. I conclude that participating in the processes of this research (interviews, focus group discussions, devising and staging theatre and post-performance discussions) encouraged the participants and audience members to speak out on the Gukurahundi, a move that presents a potential for aiding grieving and also documenting and archiving stories of the atrocities. The research shows that though fear is still present, survivors are willing to speak up and desire to see the Gukurahundi issue being addressed. Closure is necessary for the sake of the victims and the sake of unity, peace, and progress in Zimbabwe as a country.
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    Articulations of the media, migration and the urban in constructions of black African subjectivity in post-apartheid South Africa: a decolonial approach=Ukuvezwa kwezokuxhumana, ukufuduka kanye nobudolobha ekwakheni ubu-Afrikha obumnyama obuvumelana nesikhathi sangemumva kobandlululo eNingizimu Afrikha: Indlela ephikisana nobuqonela.
    (2022) Mlotshwa, Khanyile Joseph.; Jones, Nicola Jane.
    This study enacts a decolonial Media and Cultural Studies. Rather than think in terms of what the media as technologies of culture ideally ought to do, the thesis focuses on what the media have historically done in South Africa. This epistemic delinking from a Media and Cultural studies that proceed from liberal pluralist normative assumptions locates representation at the centre of what the media have historically done in colonised and postcolonial parts of the world. The study embraces the constructivist approach to representation. Here representation is seen as emerging out of modernity and playing a constitutive role in contemporary postcolonial culture (Lloyd, 2019; Webb, 2009; Colebrook, 2000; Hall, 1997). Culture then occupies a similar space to the economy and material conditions in shaping historical events and social subjectivities (Hall, 1997). Media and Cultural Studies emerged in South Africa in the 1960s as a terrain for conversations and debates between British and Afrikaner viewpoints (Tomaselli, 2002; De Beer and Tomaselli, 2000). Historically, in both media practice and media studies, the black African subject has always been represented, that is spoken about and spoken for (Webb, 2009; Alcoff, 1991; Spivak, 1988). Decolonising Media and Cultural studies, then, partly means exploring this ‘visible’ black absence. In the postapartheid moment, western theory and methods have continued to be hegemonic. To explore this coloniality, this thesis puts representation at the centre of Media and Cultural Studies historically tracing the media’s articulations to its broader context that includes migration, the border and urbanity. The study theoretically stages a conversation between postcolonial studies, decolonial studies, black studies, Marxism, and other variants of critical theory. Located in the debates between Cultural Studies and critical political economy approaches to the study of culture, this research combines ethnography and textual analysis. Texts include 18 news stories taken from the Independent On line (IOL), News24 and the isiZulu Ilanga newspaper and in-depth interviews are analysed through discourse and ideology analysis. Eleven images, including 5 photojournalism and 6 photographs taken during the ethnographic field work, are analysed through semiotics analysis. The black African subject who emerges tethered to global colonial capital as a racialised colonial labourer, serf and slave still emerges in the contemporary articulations of the media, border and urban discourses as a precarious colonial labourer, illegalised, violent, dead, a non-being and an ethnicised national subject.Iqoqa Iqoqa Lolu cwaningo luvumela ukungaqoneli kweziFundo zokuXhumana namaSiko. Kunokucabanga ngendlela yokuthi ezokuxhumana njengobuchwepheshe kwesiko kulindeleke ukuthi zenzeni, umqulu ugxile ekutheni ezokuxhumana sezenzeni ngokomlando eNingizimu Afrikha. Lokhu kungahlanganisa okuqinisekisiwe ezifundweni zokuXhumana namaSiko okuqhubeka kusuka ezihlawumbiselweni ezivamile zamaqembu kubeka ukuvezwa okumaphakathi kwezinto ezokuxhumana esezizenzile ngokomlando ezingxenyeni eziqonelwe nezingaqonelwe zomhlaba. Ucwaningo luhlanganisa indlela eyakhayo ekuvezweni lapho kubonakala kuvela njengesimanje futhi kudlala indima ebalulekile esikweni lesimanje lesikhathi esingemumva kokuqonela (Lloyd, 2019; Webb, 2009; Colebrook, 2000; Hall, 1997). Isiko bese lithatha indawo efanayo emnothweni kanye nasezimweni zokuphathekayo ukuveza izigameko zomlando kanye nokuvumelana nendlela yomphakathi (Hall, 1997). IziFundo zezokuXhumana namaSiko ziqhibuke eNingizimu Afrikha ngeminyaka ye-1960 njengesizinda sezingxoxo kanye nokuqophisana phakathi kwemibono yabokudabuka eBhrithani kanye namaBhunu (Tomaselli, 2002; De Beer and Tomaselli, 2000). Ngokomlando, kukho kokubili ukusebenza kwezokuxhumana nezifundo zokuxhumama, isihloko somuntu omnyama wase-Afrikha besilokhu sivela, okukhulunywa ngaso futhi okhulunyelwayo (Webb, 2009; Alcoff, 1991; Spivak, 1988). Ukuphikisana nokungaqoneli kwezifundo zokuXhumana namaSiko, bese, ngakwelinye icala kusho ukuphenya lokhu ‘kubonakala’ kokungaveli komuntu omnyama. Esikhathini esingemumva kobandlululo, injulalwazi yasentshonalanga kanye nezindlela kuqhubekile kwaba okwamukelekile. Ukuphenya lokhu kuphikisana nokuqonela, lo mqulu ubeka ukuvezwa maphakathi neziFundo zokuXhumana namaSiko ngokomlando kulandela ukuvezwa kwezokuxhumana esimweni sakho esisabalele esibala kuso ukufuduka, umngcele kanye nobudolobha. Ucwaningo ngokwenjulalwazi luveza ingxoxo phakathi kwezifundo zangesikhathi esingemumva kokuqonela, isifundo esiphikisana nokuqonela, isifundo sabantu abamnyama, i-Marxism, kanye nezinye izinhlobo nenjulalwazi ehlaziyayo. Okubonakala ekuqophisaneni okuphakathi kweziFundo samaSiko kanye nezindlela zomnotho ezipolitikayo ezihlaziyayo kuze kube esifundweni samasiko, lolu cwaningo luhlanganisa ucwaningo lapho umcwaningi eba ingxenye yababambiqhaza abacwaningwayo kanye nokuhlaziya kwemibhalo. Imibhalo ibala izindaba ezi-18 ezithathwe kwi-Independent On line (IOL), i-News24 kanye nephephandaba lesiZulu Ilanga futhi izingxoxo ezijulile zihlaziyiywe ngohlobo lokuhlaziya okucwaningwayo kanye nendlela yokucabanga. Imifanekiso eyishumi nambili, okubalwa kuyo ubuntathelizithombe ezi-5 kanye nezithombe ezi-6 ezithathwe ngesikhathi umcwaningi eba ingxenye nabahlanganyeli abacwaningwayo, kuhlaziyiwe ngohlaziyo lwemifanekiso. Isihloko somuntu omnyama wase-Afrikha oqhamukayo sixhumene nomnotho wokuqonela womhlaba wonke njengomsebenzi onokuqonela onobuhlanga, umsebenzi wezolimo osebenza njengesigqila kanye nobugqila kusavela ekuvezweni kwesimanje kwezokuxhumana, okuhlaziywayo komngcele kanye nobudolobha njengokungabophezeli emsebenzini onobuqonela, ukhuphikisana nomthetho, udlame, ukufa, ukungabi muntu kanye nomuntu owehlukaniswa ngobuhlanga.
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    She’s seldom seen wearing her director’s hat here: interrogating the paucity of black women stage directors in three state-supported theatres in contemporary South Africa (1999-2018)
    (2020) Matete, Noxolo Anele.; Mahali, Alude Sinayo.
    The startling dearth of black women stage directors accessing three of South Africa’s six state-funded theatres – Artscape, the Market and the Playhouse – between 1999 and 2018 forms the impetus for this study. Production information across these case studies reveals that black men, white men and white women theatre directors continue to dominate mainstream stages, despite the 1996 White Paper’s resolute stance that everyone is to equally participate in the arts in a post-1994 dispensation. This study examines the factors contributing to this group’s under-representation through analysis of cultural policy, one-on-one in-depth interviews with the institutional heads of the three theatres, and with twelve black (inclusive of African, Coloured and Indian) women who have directed productions in at least one of the theatres during the 20 years under investigation. As historically those who are the most marginalised, the narratives of the twelve women are centered. Although these women have had directing opportunities within these theatres, their narratives reveal adverse experiences at the time that their productions were staged or later. Cultural policy is not the panacea for persistent intersectional prejudices at state-supported theatres, as other mitigating factors are at play, including the profoundly elitist nature of the mainstream performing arts world and the notion of excellence. Nevertheless, it remains the foundational document guiding artistic activities in these spaces in a democracy. In their frameworks, the White Paper of 1996 and later drafts, neglected to effectively facilitate the overt inclusion of black women stage directors. Efforts to substantially transform these theatres are further betrayed by the pursuit of commercial viability. Additionally, lack of investment by these institutions towards training and capacity-building programmes designed to benefit specifically black women directors does not augur well for emerging directors particularly. Furthermore, aspects like level of education, training, experience or accolades do not seem to ease challenges of access, despite the various efforts made by this group of practitioners to get into these spaces. Essentially, weak cultural policy frameworks alongside insufficiently funded theatres that must see to their own sustainability foster an arts and culture landscape that has only marginally transformed in more than twenty-five years of democracy.
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    Developing a methodology for creative interpretation of traditional dramatic texts in post-apartheid theatre: a case study of Shakespearean interpretation at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
    (2021) Ngcongo-James, Nellie Nicola.; Pratt, Deirdre Denise.; Young-Jahangeer, Miranda Eleanor.
    While student demographics in higher education have changed to reflect South Africa’s multicultural society, many universities are still offering traditional Drama curricula with colonial-based content. This thesis focuses on developing a methodology for the creative interpretation of traditional Shakespearean texts in the post-apartheid theatre and educational space. Shakespeare is still the most read and most often produced playwright in the world, but the thesis argues that if his texts are to be taught, this cannot be in an ahistorical or political vacuum, and the focus should be on performance. From within a constructivist approach, a case study methodology was used to explore combining Text Study with workshop theatre to facilitate the interpretation of traditional texts, as well as integrating discrete syllabus items into a holistic teaching and learning process. Digital technology was used as an innovative part of the proposed teaching and learning methodology, as the current student body are now the ‘virtual generation’. Constructivist pedagogy, together with postcolonial and decolonial theories, provided the theoretical framework for the study. The empirical work was in the form of a case study, comprising teaching the Text Study module and developing a production as part of the process, and was carried out as an extra-curricular research project with students of the Drama Education Department at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. The socio-political-economic context was post-apartheid South Africa, with the student group being predominantly African, and the majority, isiZulu-speaking, who were for the most part, economically - and educationally - disadvantaged. At the time the empirical work was carried out, the Drama Education Department curriculum at UKZN was heavily loaded with the study of classical texts, in particular, Shakespearean plays. The results suggested that the methodology developed not only resulted in an enthusiastic response from student participants, but also led to a more scholarly approach to the actual texts. It also gave the participants, who were student teachers, insights into ways in which Drama Education could be dealt with in their own teaching practice. The product of the research was a model of teaching methodology for creative interpretation of Western traditional dramatic texts in Africa contexts. This pedagogical approach has the potential to form the core of an agential curriculum transformation process in Drama Education, as well as ultimately contributing to the decolonising of not only Shakespeare but university disciplines emerging out of the Liberal Arts.
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    Exploring gender identities of females from township in Durban as represented and negotiated through stereotypes by South African soap operas: Generations: The Legacy and Isidingo: The Need.
    (2020) Blose, Maud.; Wade, Jean-Phillipe; Pratt, Deirdre Denise
    This study explores gender identities and media culture of black African women through digital storytelling using two of South Africa’s popular soap operas, Generations: The Legacy and Isidingo: The Need, as its case studies. The interpretive paradigm was employed to ascertain a deeper understanding of soap operas and the historical, social and cultural context of individual viewers and perspectives of those involved in the production. Data in this qualitative research were gathered not only from the perspectives of viewers from townships around Durban where the study was carried out, but also incorporated the views on gender stereotypes of the soap opera production team. Reception analysis theory was used as the main theory for the study with social identity theory and the social representation theory subsumed under it. The data analysis suggested that viewers’ awareness of gender stereotypes contained in South African soap operas did not only take place in their immediate encounter with soap opera text but was heightened when they discussed such text with other viewers. In other words, soap operas have a mixture of both active and passive viewers. Active viewers question and address gender inequality and stereotypes in television soap operas, whereas passive viewers’ unawareness of gender inequality and stereotypes makes them susceptible to media influence. Stereotypes in soap opera storylines were seen to determine viewers’ social practices and what was seen as acceptable behaviour within their social group(s). The results suggested that stereotypes portrayed in soap operas contribute to the suppression of black women, especially those who reside in townships. The results also suggest that soap operas are not a true reflection of society but are tainted with the subjective lived histories of the production team. In conclusion, it is essential that soap operas are not only entertaining but should also be informative and educational. If used correctly, this genre has the potential to educate societies about socio-economic, socio-political and other developmental issues. It is hoped that this research will add to the body of knowledge in the field of media representation of gender stereotypes and contribute to the empowerment of women in South Africa in realising that the roles they adopt in real life are not limited to the options presented in soapies.
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    Choreographies of identity, self and the ‘African’ dancing body in negotiating contemporary dancing histories and practices in KwaZulu-Natal post 1994 : a case study of Flatfoot Dance Company.
    (2018) Loots, Lliane Jennifer.; Olsen, Kathryn Rita.
    This thesis, through a series of case studies of my dance work with FLATFOOT DANCE COMPANY (post 1994), offers an interrogation of both my internal and external processes of decolonising entrenched paradigms of training, writing/researching and making dance and attempting to re-imagine an inclusive dance practice in South Africa. I use the conceptual framework of ‘decolonisation’, in part, because it is the key political and pedagogical terminology being used in South African within current student protest movements such as ‘#Fees Must Fall’ and within the 2016 (onwards) South African debates around recurriculation of higher learning institutions. I further, use the frame of decolonising as it offers me personally, pedagogically and politically an opportunity to look deeply at what this might mean in action and in practice for my own dance teaching and dance making in South Africa – post 1994. This is an autoethnographic study of a 24-year temporal space in my own engagement with dance and is set against the larger geo-political, social and cultural fights of South Africa. The personal narratives offer a microcosm of larger issues and focus a lens on how arts (and dance in particular) have been, are, and become, a tipping point in the enactment of lived – and significantly – embodied democracy (a term I go on to explain) in South Africa. Section One of this thesis is an investigation – through my community-based dance education work with FLATFOOT DANCE COMPANY – into a proposed methodology and praxis for a decolonised pedagogy. Section Two turns away from an explicit discussion around pedagogy and moves to an examination of my choreographic practices with FLATFOOT DANCE COMPANY post 1994. In Section Two, I reflect on my own on-going work as a professional choreographer and attempt to bring together my own multiple identities as researcher, teacher and choreographer as I begin to interrogate, through this academic text and the writing and reflective process, my own artistic process as a dance maker, dance educator, and a choreographer in South Africa. I do not isolate methodology in a chapter of its own in this thesis. Given the feminist and autoethnogaphic nature of this study, I have opted instead to allow the methodology to inform and be articulated in each chapter as it reveals process and practice.This thesis is also made up significantly, though not exclusively, of collecting together, re-considering, re-writing and re-focusing a selection of my previously published articles that have spanned 23 years as an academic scholar interrogating my research within the paradigm of Praxis Led Research. This act of re-visiting dance practice, writing and pedagogy is also part of the autoethnographic nature of interrogating and re-interrogating identities of self and of the ‘African’ dancing body. This is all effected in a negotiation of contemporary dancing histories and practices in KwaZulu-Natal post 1994 through my case study of FLATFOOT DANCE COMPANY.
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    Beyond homeland crisis: identity negotiation of Black Zimbabwean women migrants in the South African metropolis of Johannesburg.
    (2017) Gadzikwa, Joanah.; Jones, Nicola-Jane.
    The thesis interrogates the identity creations/recreation and negotiations/renegotiations of Zimbabwean women migrants living in the metropolis of Johannesburg. The study combines the self-descriptions of women migrants with media narratives about Zimbabwean women migrants to unearth an area of research that has received little attention from the scholarly community. The research employs ethnographic, in-depth interviews with Zimbabwean women immigrants living in Johannesburg to gather narrative data about their lived experiences. Together with a qualitative content analysis of articles published in Johannesburg-based news websites on Zimbabwean women migrants, details of the immigrants’ experiences are extracted to determine the types of identities they construct. The media narratives provide the basis for identifying emerging themes using the Grounded Theory Method (GTM), and a theoretical framework for understanding how the migrant women’s experiences are constructed through the othering process. The underlying ideologies in the media narratives on Zimbabwean women migrants are further explored using a combination of Gee’s framework and a Foucauldian discourse analysis (FDA). The second stream of data, the migrant women’s narratives, shed light on the growing phenomenon of the feminisation of migration. The interviewees described a transnational place of space, located in a realm somewhere in between, where their identities are negotiated. While home, as perceived by the women migrants interviewed in this study, remains their country of origin, belonging becomes a concept that requires redefinition. Using the metaphor of transnationalism and transmigration, their identities remain tied to what they become when they enter South Africa. To the people back home, the women migrants attain a saviour identity through remittances. Notwithstanding the challenges the metropolis poses to non-nationals, the women migrants interviewed in this study professed resilience, even self-sacrifice, for the sake of their children, parents, relatives and siblings. The analysis of the women’s narratives also reveals their agency in the migration matrix that goes beyond economic gains. While monetary gains remain an important factor in the feminisation of migration, the women’s narratives revealed other benefits that are in line with their caregiving and nurturing inclinations. Bringing together the findings from the two data streams through a triangulation, points of divergence and convergence between the women’s self-description and the media narratives are apparent. In terms of identities, the media has constructed demeaning discourses upon which the Zimbabwean women migrants’ collective identities can be deduced. The discourses of xenophobia, identity crisis, victimhood and vulnerability provide a fertile ground for the cultivation, culturing and subsequent harvest of identities such as prostitutes, criminals and vagabonds that the media presents to the public domain. In contrast, however, the women’s self-descriptions bring to the fore valorised identities of great benefactors, opportunists and agents who are the architects to their own personal growth and development in their land of exile.
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    An animated film with an accompanying analysis of its relationship to the theory and practice of art and animation.
    (2016) Stewart, Michelle.; Van der Hoven, Anton.; Hall, Louise Gillian.
    The focus of this practice-based PhD study is the production of an experimental, 2D animated short film of 10 minutes, 27 seconds, titled Big Man. The animated film is a retelling of several episodes that are found in chapters two and four of The Book of Daniel from the Old Testament in which Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, has troubled dreams that can only be interpreted by the Hebrew prophet Daniel. In the film, this biblical story is re-imagined using the former South African Prime Minister, Mr Balthazar Johannes (BJ) Vorster as the character of Nebuchadnezzar, thus linking the narrative directly to South African history. This is done using a variety of animation techniques, including stop-motion paper cut-out animation, digital and traditional hand-drawn frame-by-frame and cel animation, digital puppet animation and paint-on-glass animation. The written component of this research provides a detailed explanation of the conceptual, technical and creative approaches used in the making of the film prior to, during and post production, and locates the film within the contexts of animation and fine arts practice in South Africa. In addition, the theoretical component discusses the concept of the ‘Big Man’, the particular literary, theoretical and visual influences at work in the film, and the adaptation of the biblical narrative from its origins to its re-imagining as a fictional, South African narrative explored through the medium of experimental animation. Practice-based research is essentially interdisciplinary, as one is approaching a study through both practice and theory (Elkins 2009). Thus research methods and aims can be applied to both aspects of the study and can differ quite radically, as textual research is clearly not the same as research through creative practice. This makes it impossible to come up with a single research question. Research that originates through practice involves a complexity of technical, conceptual, visual and aesthetic areas of exploration and approaches specific to creative practice, whereas the associated written component critically and cognitively engages with and supports the practice through theory. In terms of assessment the PhD project comprises a 50/50 split between practice and theory. The following questions cover the scope of my exploration in both the practice and textual components of my study: Does the film represent the theme of the “Big Man” in such a way as to make it relevant to both the South African context and to a broader international audience? At the outset the objective of this project was to use the theme of the “Big Man” to explore notions of power, and, in particular, to comment on the present political climate in South Africa with an emphasis on the rising conception of President Jacob Zuma as South Africa's most recent “Big Man”. The intention was to explore this idea implicitly, through the guise of the past, using former apartheid Prime Minister BJ Vorster as the central character of the film. A motivation for casting BJ Vorster as the biblical character of Nebuchadnezzar is that the biblical king is a famous, archetypal Big Man, whereas BJ Vorster is not necessarily widely known outside South Africa. Also, using The Book of Daniel from the Old Testament as the overarching narrative was intended to place the narrative within a broader understanding, beyond the South African context. The primary intention was for the film to convey this theme and narrative to its audience in a visually, conceptually and aesthetically coherent way. The textual component aims to reflect critically on the various visual, aesthetic and conceptual methods the film uses to engage with both the theme of the Big Man and the biblical narrative. This component also aims to engage with the relevance of the notion of the “Big Man” in terms of notable precedents in the creative and performing arts in South Africa. What are the interdisciplinary and research potentials of the experimental animation platform? While my film uses a narrative form associated with orthodox animation, the use of a multiplicity of styles and approaches is more commonly associated with the experimental tradition (Wells 2002: 42). One objective in creating this film was to extend my creative and conceptual knowledge of art-making and animation by creating an independent, experimental animated film. I chose to make an experimental film due to my interest in learning, using and integrating a variety of creative processes within a filmic medium. My methods and aims included using and extending my skills and interest in the fine arts, digital image-making and 2D digital animation. The film's identity within the experimental tradition, and the successful use and integration of a variety of creative processes is hopefully evident in the artwork itself. The methods of researching and applying these diverse approaches are illuminated in the course of the textual component. How can the digital platform act as both a medium and a tool for the animation process? A significant objective of this project was to explore the digital platform on the one hand as a tool for facilitating the animation process, and on the other hand as a medium for creating digital animation. The film accessed the traditional stop-motion animation processes of paper cut-out animation and paint-on-glass animation. As these are labour-intensive processes, I aimed to find ways of using the digital platform as tool to facilitate and speed up this process. I also had to find ways of integrating diverse traditional and digital styles and approaches. In order to do this, while I had previous knowledge of digital cinema technology, I had to learn to process and integrate these hybrid techniques in film editing and production suites at a more advanced level than I had previously used. In terms of accessing the digital platform as a medium with which to create animation, I aimed to develop my skills in digital, hand-drawn, frame-by-frame animation and learn 2D puppet animation using the Flash animation platform. To what extent do the visual conceptualisation, planning and preparation for the film represent valid research methods? The general consensus within practice-based research is that the practice forms a significant part of the research (Elkins 2009). While to some extent the investigation is seen to be made visible in the culminating creative work, other modes of investigation applied during the practice may not be apparent in the end product. These include storyboarding the narrative, the initial visual and aesthetic conceptualisation, and the technical planning. Some commentators suggest that these processes can be recorded in the form of a diary (Frayling 1994). I have chosen to incorporate them into the written component. In this way the textual component aims to elucidate and document the visual methods of investigation applied during the creative process. The objective is to clarify this visual exploration as valid research, without which there would be no film. It is important to note that while such visual processes are major aspects of the research, other forms of non-visual investigation also apply and are an essential part of the planning process as well. The theme of the “Big Man”, for example, required both visual and theoretical exploration. However, for the sake of clarity, these aspects of the research are dealt with separately to the visual research process.
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    Theatre for social capital : a case study at Mangaliso child and youth care centre.
    (2015) Naguran, Lerisa Ansuya.; Young-Jahangeer, Miranda.
    This study was conducted at Mangaliso2 Child and Youth Care (CYCC) in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, in response to concerns expressed by child residents of the high prevalence of aggressive behaviour in the CYCC. This study, through an applied theatre programme that adopts a combination of sociodrama and psychodrama techniques, attempts to address the prevalence of aggression at Mangaliso CYCC by generating social capital (Putnam, 1995). Weakened family social capital has been shown to give rise to aggressive behaviour (Imtiaz et al., 2010:103). Given that the participants of this study have been removed from their families due to physical and/or sexual abuse, the central premise of this study is that the high prevalence of aggression displayed by the residents of Mangaliso is resultant of weakened family social capital. Through weakened family social capital and the exposure to abuse in the home, the “culture of violence” (Galtung, 1990:291) that was deeply entrenched by the apartheid regime is transmitted intergenerationally. This study, however, recognises that strong peer social capital has the potential to compensate for weakened family social capital, thereby minimising the negative effects of it (Gatti & Tremblay, 2007). The applied theatre programme that forms the basis of this research therefore attempts to reduce the prevalence of aggression at Mangaliso CYCC by increasing peer social capital. This applied theatre programme is specifically designed for the generation of social capital. The programme makes use of theatre of the oppressed (Boal, 1979), theatre of the oppressor (O’Toole 1998; Weinblatt & Harrison, 2011 and Chinyowa, 2014) and Geese Theatre Company (Baim, Brookes & Mountford, 2002; Watson, 2009) techniques with the intention of increasing peer social capital at Mangaliso by specifically engaging the four essential elements of social capital as defined by Robert Putnam (1993): trust, reciprocity, social norms and social networks. The findings of this study show that, although the programme was certainly effective in the generation of peer social capital, the effectiveness of the programme was greatly influenced by the challenges that the institutional environment posed. These challenges include insufficient adult supervision due to short staffing, and the negotiation of hierarchical peer structures created to give some child residents power over others. This study finds that the institutional environment was often at odds with the participants’ personal choices to employ less aggressive strategies for conflict resolution. Even so, the findings of this study show that the increase in peer social capital that was generated through participation in the theatre programme resulted in less frequent incidents of aggression. An increase in peer social capital at Mangaliso CYCC created an environment that offered more safety, social support and fewer circumstantial reasons to behave aggressively.
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    Deviant doodling: contextualising the discourses of Zapiro in a socially responsible press.
    (2016) Pitcher, Sandra.; Jones, Nicola-Jane.
    Abstract available in PDF file.
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    A social and cultural theoretical appraisal and contextualisation of the visual and symbolic language of beadwork and dress from southern KwaZulu-Natal, held in the Campbell Collections, UKZN.
    Winters, Yvonne Elizabeth.; Leeb-du Toit, Juliette Cecile.
    This Doctoral dissertation, A social and cultural theoretical appraisal and contextualisation of the visual and symbolic language of beadwork and dress from southern KwaZulu-Natal, held in the Campbell Collections ,University of KwaZulu-Natal seeks to act as a review and contextualisation of existing holdings of beadwork and dress to be found in the Campbell Collections of the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Most of the material referenced in this thesis was collected by the author in the post of Senior Museologist for these museum collections, but remain true to the eclectic, Africana and Oral History orientated collecting-policies of the founder, the late Dr Killie Campbell who’s ideas were no doubt equally informed by the Modernist, Colonialist notions of her times. Her collections were also heavily influenced by her friend and protégé, the artist Barbara Tyrrell, who recorded indigenous African dress according to the categories of gender age-grade/status and profession, noting within each category the correct posture, gesture and name of sitter/poser in some 1200 in-situ field-sketches of indigenous peoples of southern Africa. However, museum collecting is neither static nor neutral and as Campbell’s museum and library holdings had been bequeathed to the University of Natal (later KwaZulu-Natal), further collecting-policies were to be influenced by prevailing theories and schools of thought within the university disciplines most affecting the Collections at that time, namely Social Anthropology and History. The first of these schools excluded ‘material culture’ as being an art form (and at the time designated as a ‘craft’), as it concentrated instead on social and kinship organization( as did the British and French Schools versions of this school adopted by the English speaking University of Natal). ‘Material culture’ was the domain of Cultural Anthropology of the American and German Schools, which had been adopted by the Afrikaans speaking universities in South Africa. This fact side-lined the museum holdings of the Campbell Collections as a relevant source of study material for the University’s students as it not only delegated the material cultural artefacts to the status of ‘popular’ and ‘tourist-art’, but they were also an echo of the ruling apartheid Nationalist Government’s attempts to subvert the topic of indigenous culture to its own ends of divide and rule. Only the library division of the Campbell Collections assumed a more academic profile as it fell under the auspices of the discipline of History. The introduction of Orality-Literacy under the Faculty of European Languages and the introduction of a component of African art into the History of Art course at UKZN during the 1980s could be said to have redeemed material culture by contributing a new perspective upon it. The acquisition and sale of ‘authentic’ items of African art via western ‘Tribal-Arts’ sales-houses tends to de-emphasise the cultural function of these items for aesthetic considerations, a disingenuous mode of forcing up investment values. Only the academic writings of such art-historians as Anitra Nettleton, Sandra Klopper, Juliette Leeb-du-Toit, Thenjiwe Magwaza and Frank Jolles among others can counter this trend. This because they so often reference the Orality-Literacy theory of Walter Ong and the Symbolic Interactionist, Interpretivist and hermeneutical orientations in anthropological thought pioneered by people such as Clifford Geertz, famous for his introduction of the term ‘thick description’. These above mentioned schools of thought are the ones privileged in this thesis. From Geertz’s viewpoint I argue that instead of presupposing, as is the usual 1980-90s stance on beadwork that any suggestion of meaning, communication or message stems merely from the wish of African sellers of these crafts to appeal to European tourists/buyers with romantic notions of the ‘mythic African other’, rather these items may well still contain messages and communications that can only be understood by reference to the culture that produced them. Traditionalist women beadworkers, following ‘ukuhlonipha kolwimi’ (respect of language) encode messages into the non-verbal art of beadworking. In this they express themselves via regional colour and motif conventions that reference the formerly oral isiZulu language of the praise-poets, with its metaphor, alliteration and innuendo. In these items design and meaning unite to reflect the beadworkers/wearers’ concerns and act to not only circumscribe their identities according to gender/status/age-group that accompany important rites-of-passage like engagement, marriage, birth(ing) and death (and mourning),but also allow for the woman to express her expectations and disappointments, thus giving her a ‘voice’ albeit a non-verbal one. The regional location concentrated upon in this study is that of both the Embo-Mkhize and their Zulu neighbours’ resident in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands and the Bhaca and related Nhlangwini peoples of southern KwaZulu-Natal and East-Griqualand. The period covered is the 1950s to the 1990s, a time which largely parallels that when the administration of the Collections both passed to the University and continued to be administered by it. The majority of the items of beadwork and dress analysed in this study had actually been worn by their makers. They were obtained on field-collecting trips by museum staff during the 1980s–1990s, initially mainly by the author. Later on items were obtained increasingly more from African isiZulu speaking field collectors. Where possible in this thesis the original language of the maker-wearers, along with their explanations as to the meaning attributed to these items, has been retained and English translations provided accordingly, thereby allowing for a much clearer understanding of the connection between the rich idiomatic phraseology, often regional in its variations, and the symbolic choice of colour, motif and pattern and their intended communication. Not all beadwork and dress necessarily carries messages, but nearly all allow for ornamentation in its role of respecting and honouring (ukuhlonipha) both the ritual participants and wearers themselves as well as their viewers/witnesses (both those living and those deceased as in the case of the all-important amadlozi or ancestral-spirits). Concerns of African Feminism, modernisation and change are addressed throughout the study which has been divided into six chapters: Chapter 1 is an Introduction which gives a background to the topic, issues involved, literature and methodology. Chapter 2 is an intensive discussion of pertinent views and schools of thought (both Modernist and Postmodernist) that pertain especially to art and aesthetics, orality-literacy, anthropology (especially Interpretivism and Symbolic Interactionism) and museology, all of which are apposite to the selection of the beadwork and dress holdings under consideration. In Chapter 3 there is a discussion of the phenomenon of Nguni age-grades for both male and female and the ritual dimensions of courting which relate to the cultural significance of beadwork and dress in their function as external markers of such status and self-image. I also discuss manifestations of modernisation in relation thereto. Chapter 4 is an intensive overview of female engagement and marriage beadwork and dress and how these relate to concepts of the role of women in Nguni culture and integral to the many and various rituals of engagement and marriage that indicate these culturally important rites-of-passage. Examples of the ever-present modernisation and adaptation are also discussed. Chapter 5 examines the museum held documented beadwork communications of the women makers (in isiZulu, if available, with English translations) in the light of the cultural overview of the previous chapter. These communications involve the makers’ concepts of self, expectations, disappointments, conformity and attitudes to polygamy and awareness of modernisation and culture change. Chapter 6 is the Conclusion which summarises the thesis as a whole and suggests possible areas needing further research, particularly in field recordings of life-histories and the collecting of supporting documentation where available. The Bibliographic References follow and the thesis is supported by images placed in Appendices and marked by Chapter numbers and then Figure numbers, referenced accordingly within the chapters’ text.
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    When granny went on the internet : the screenplay and the search for content and tone in South African screenwriting.
    (2014) Burnett, Carolyn.; Van der Hoven, Anton.
    The development of content and the creation of tone in a screenplay is a challenging task for the screenwriter. This thesis explores, through the writing of an original screenplay, how content is sourced and tone is manipulated in a comic story. The context of screenwriting in South Africa is established and an account is given of the emerging micro-budget filmmaking movement along with a discussion of issues relating to the broadband streaming of films in South Africa. Such factors, along with declining or stagnating cinema attendance, affect how films will be viewed and distributed in South Africa. A major case study was conducted on the South African film Jozi (2010) by director-screenwriter Craig Freimond. The influences, screenwriting process, sources of content and creation of tone in his film are examined through in-depth interviews and structural, thematic and tonal analysis of his work. An original feature-length screenplay, When Granny Went on the Internet (2013), was written. An account is offered of how the content was derived and tone was manipulated. A reflective report of the screenwriting process offers insight into the development of the multi-layered, tonally complex comic screenplay and suggests that a new form of South African comedy may be emerging.
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    Other than ourselves : an exploration of "self-othering" in Afrikaner identity construction in Beeld newspaper.
    (2014) Vanderhaeghen, Yves Nicholas.; Jones, Nicola-Jane.
    This thesis explores Afrikaner identity construction in Beeld using the concept of “self-othering”, by which is meant first, the representation of the group as “othered” or marginalised, and second, the re-articulation of Afrikaners as “innocent”. “Self-othering” takes place within discourses of guilt, loss, fear, belonging, transformation and reconciliation, at a time when a national identity imagined as a “Rainbow Nation” is being contested by discourses of Africanism, nativism and minority rights. These discourses are articulated in the context of the globalisation of South Africa’s economy, which has consolidated the economic fractures that characterised Apartheid. The thesis is formulated in an interpretive paradigm, uses the post-structuralist Discourse Theory of Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe as a theoretical framework, and draws heavily on Judith Butler’s concept of “grievable life” to analyse the ambivalences in the mediation and utterance of an identity positioned in “otherness”. A qualitative research methodology is employed to interpret the discourses that emerge in my Beeld case study. I argue in the thesis that articulation, a concept central to the theory of Laclau and Mouffe, seeks to achieve for Afrikaners moral equivalence in a chain of meaning hegemonised by the liberation narrative, so as to restore a legitimacy of common citizenship compromised by Apartheid and subject to contemporary discourses of exclusion. In considering how the Afrikaner self is positioned to the racial “other” in and by Beeld, I conclude that these relations are, in spite of prevailing discourses of reconciliation, “antagonistic”, while the intra-group construction of Afrikaners within the discursive space of Beeld is “agonistic”, thereby reinforcing the sense of an ethnic group identity over other identities. I also conclude that the utterance of Afrikaner innocence renders 2 reconciliation with the “other” of Apartheid redundant (as opposed to denied) as an element of identity because the rearticulated subject of reconciliation has been (self)absolved of guilt, leaving the historical (racial) victim “ungrieved” as the boundary of difference hardens into a frontier of antagonism. This study makes a contribution to media studies by, first, introducing and developing the concept of “self-othering” as a mode of rhetorical displacement in representation, and second, by suggesting that it establishes a structural oscillation and an irreconcilable stress between the discursive ontological objectives embodied in “readers” and the ethical journalistic objectives which guide not just individual reports but the newspaper as a performative utterance in itself.
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    Culture, politics and identity in the visual art of Indian South African graduates from the University of Durban-Westville in KwaZulu-Natal, 1962-1999.
    (2012) Moodley, Nalini.; Leeb-du Toit, Juliette Cecile.
    The purpose of this research is to document the visual art production of Indian South Africans who graduated from the University of Durban-Westville (UDW) with a degree in Fine Art, and provide an explanation of how and why their art works are so poorly documented within a post-Apartheid art historical narrative. When South African Apartheid society was designed to promote Black intellectual underdevelopment, this Indian university provided a space for young Indian intellectuals from all fields to engage with the struggle politic of the country to envision a strategy for a liberated and democratic future. While the visual art in this country has provided powerful social commentary throughout the Apartheid years, the voice of the Indian artist has remained silent. Some students managed to complete their degrees and find a little recognition as artists; the majority, however, relegated their art-making to a pastime. Little is known about this body of graduates; hence this research attempts a systematic study about how Indian Fine Art graduates fell into silence upon the completion of their degrees. The rationale of this study is to determine in what ways the constructs of culture, politics and identity, as key environmental factors at UDW, impacted on the virtual absence of Indian artists from South Africa’s art history. To this end, the social history of education of Indian South Africans since their arrival in this country has been provided. The influential and historical location of the University College for Indians (UNICOL) and later UDW as a cultural and political construct is explored against the art production of its Fine Art Department. Thus, the geopolitical space of this university as a site of struggle is contextualised. Against this background, the varied life stories of the forty-three graduates presented in this study are contextualised within the framework of separate and segregated education. These stories illuminate the unfolding dynamics that shaped the directions they subsequently took. The significance of this study lies in its contribution of knowledge to the existing literature on Indian history in South Africa as well as on the art production of this community as students of the Fine Art Department at UDW and subsequently as a small body of practising, but not always exhibiting, artists. Through this study I suggest that some of these graduates became internal exiles, which positioned them on the margins of the art-producing community in this country. This position of marginality impacted on their representation within the South African art historical archive. The study makes a number of recommendations to bring these and other South African Indian artists into the picture again.
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    Drawing as a generative medium in art making.
    (2013) Hall, Louise Gillian.; Gouws, Andries Stefanus.; Armstrong, Juliet Yvonne.
    The research of a practice led PhD in Fine Arts consists of interrelated artwork and writing (Macleod and Holdridge 2005:197). In the dual practical and theoretical research for this PhD I examined drawing as a generative medium in art making. This thesis constitutes the theoretical aspect of such research, which is rooted primarily in artistic practice and not in theory. As the other, practical aspect of this PhD I have produced and exhibited original art works, namely works in paint and drawing media. The thesis presented here is an integrative text supporting this practical aspect. It examines the role and process of drawing as a contemporary medium of artistic expression, and pays special attention to its generative nature. The focus on drawing stems from the fact that drawing plays a seminal role in all aspects of my art-making. The thesis examines the body of art works produced during this research as well as the artistic process and methodology used to produce it. It also contextualises the research within the contemporary Fine Art field where drawing has become an ascendant, primary and legitimate medium of artistic expression. In the history of mainly Western art since Classical Antiquity, drawing served an essential and predominantly, though not exclusively, preparatory function. In the last fifty years the status of drawing has shifted, so that it has become a legitimate primary medium of expression for many contemporary artists. The historical function of preparation is consequently no longer the primary guiding rationale for drawing. The status of drawing as secondary and incomplete is now also obsolete. As a consequence of this recent radical function and status shift, current drawing discourse and practice is continually open to question and exploration. Moreover, there is little consensus about the nature of drawing among key players in the Fine Art field. This, as well as the ambiguous nature of drawing which allows it to be a constituent of other media as well as an independent medium, complicates any attempt to define drawing strictly. Having given an outline of the parameters of my specific research topic and my rationale for choosing it, the text proffers a working definition of drawing. Notwithstanding the challenging nature of this task a working definition is necessary to discuss the focus of the research—drawing. The thesis next examines my idiosyncratic use of drawing. Lastly, I address the central question of the thesis, namely, what accounts for the generative nature of drawing? The title of the research, Drawing as a Generative Medium in Art Making, may seem to suggest that the generative potential of drawing is peculiar to the medium as a discrete entity. This research concluded that while drawing is indeed eminently suited to such a function, this exploratory and innovative capacity is the likely outcome of a complex of factors. These factors span artistic approach, drawing process and medium. These inextricably connected factors are difficult to treat discretely. Each of them plays an essential role in this non-formulaic, nuanced and dynamic thinking and art making process. It was therefore concluded that media other than drawing, if combined with a similar complex of factors, may have a marked generative potential as well.