A narrative of omission : oral history, exile and the media’s untold stories – a gender perspective

Present, Hebresia Felicity (2011-03)

Thesis (MPhil)--University of Stellenbosch, 2011.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: South Africa consists of a vast, culturally diverse population, entrenched in customary tribal influences which are essentially based on stringent patriarchal directives. These spilt over into other societal spheres, one of which is the media, which is part of an existing male hegemonic society. The rationale for this study is essentially to determine the role played by the media in their representation of women, before and shortly after the liberation of South Africa. This study will establish whether the voices of women were represented, or not, in the media, in the period shortly after the unbanning of the African National Congress (ANC) and affiliated organisations in 1990. By interviewing and recording the oral histories of a few female ANC Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) soldiers, the need is evident to, through this oral tradition process, give a voice to these voiceless women. The theoretical foundations for this study is firstly based on “womanism”. Womanism was born from the shortcomings of feminism (a largely Western concept) that was unable to address the issues unique to the situation of black women. A second theoretical point of departure is the Social Responsibility Theory, a media theory that could, based on research done for this study, play a profound role to the benefit of women. The methodological investigation is based on a mixed method research approach where Content Analysis (CA) and Grounded Theory (GT) are triangulated with the literature review. The GT processes gave a voice to some unknown female MK soldiers by conducting interviews based on in-depth interview questions. The CA process led to the conclusion that the voices of women who contributed to the struggle were largely ignored by the media. The researcher found that given the contributions and sacrifices women have made in democratising South Africa, acknowledgement of these efforts are sorely lacking, especially in the media. This study therefore seeks to contribute to the lost and repressed voices of women, and to redress a history of omission to a history of commission.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Suid-Afrika beskik oor 'n kultureel diverse bevolking met tradisionele stam-invloede wat essensieel gebaseer is op streng patriargale riglyne. Dit het oorgespoel na ander sosiale kontekste, waarvan een die media is, en wat deel uitmaak van 'n bestaande manlike hegemoniese gemeenskap. Die rasionaal vir hierdie studie was om vas te stel watter rol die media gespeel het in die representasie van vroue kort ná die eerste stappe tot 'n bevryde Suid-Afrika. Hierdie studie wou vasstel of die stemme van vroue verteenwoordig was, of nie, in die media, in die tydperk kort ná die ontbanning van die African National Congress (ANC) en ander geaffilieerde organisasies in 1990. Die veronderstelling is dat vrouestemme nie in die media waarneembaar was nie, en dat die situasie teengewerk kan word deur die toepassing van mondelinge geskiedenis. In hierdie geval is die verhale van 'n paar vroulike Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK)-soldate geboekstaaf om sodoende deur die mondelinge geskiedenistradisie 'n stem te gee aan stemlose vroue. Die teoretiese grondslag vir hierdie studie is eerstens gebaseer op “Womanism”. Dié teorie het ontstaan weens die tekortkominge van Feminisme (grootliks ‟n Westerse konsep), wat nie in staat was om die kwessies wat uniek is aan die situasie van swart vroue aan te spreek nie. 'n Tweede teoretiese vertrekpunt is die Sosiale Verantwoordelikheidsteorie. Gebaseer op die navorsing vir hierdie studie, kan dit 'n groter rol in die media in die belang van vroue speel. Die metodologie is gebaseer op 'n gemengde metode-navorsingsbenadering waar Inhoudsanalise en Grounded Theory (GT) trianguleer met die literatuurstudie. Die GT-proses gee 'n stem aan 'n paar onbekende vroulike MK-soldate deur onderhoudvoering wat op in-diepte onderhoudvrae gebaseer is. Die inhoudsanalise proses het bevind dat vroue wat bygedra het tot die Vryheidstryd grootliks deur die media geïgnoreer is. Gegewe die bydraes en opofferings wat vroue gemaak het in die demokratisering van Suid-Afrika, ontbreek erkenning van hul pogings in ons geskiedskrywing, en beslis so in die media. Hierdie studie was 'n poging om by te dra tot die omkeer van hierdie situasie, naamlik om 'n “geskiedenis van uitsluiting” te herstel na 'n “geskiedenis van insluiting”.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/6477
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