Women’s magazines in a 21st century democratic South Africa : merely parrot-talk or truly shape-shifters?
CITATION: Rossouw, E. & Rabe, L. 2014. Women’s magazines in a 21st century democratic South Africa : merely parrot-talk or truly shape-shifters? IAMCR 2014, Hyderabad, 15 -19 July 2014.
The magazine as a “social barometer” of a particular society is widely acknowledged. Furthermore, it is argued that women’s magazines provide essential information about society and cultures, thus helping readers think about themselves as contributors in self-governing societies. Since Nelson Mandela was sworn in as South Africa’s first democratically elected black president on 10 May 1994, the country’s socio-political sphere changed significantly. As such, this paper analyses the editor’s letter in True Love – an archetypal South African women’s magazine aimed at black readers – during 2004, 2009 and 2014 when the first general elections of the 21st century took place. The aim of this paper is to understand what the messages in the editor’s letter are about society and culture, realising that magazines mirror society and society mirrors magazines. It explores whether the editorials in this selected sample of True Love magazines can be described as merely “parrot-talk” or truly “shape shifters”?