THE DEPICTION OF JULIUS MALEMA IN THE SOUTH AFRICAN PRESS

Klaus Kotzé

Abstract


The contemporary South African press presents an antagonistic depiction of the actions ofJulius Malema, the expelled (pending appeal) president of the African National CongressYouth League (ANCYL). This depiction embodies the oppositional political force the pressexhibits in its representation of the near hegemonic political power of the ANC. In itsassumed capacity of socio-political watchdog the press propagates influential depictions ofthe political elite, depicting selected individuals in antipathetic terms. These representations,which if assumed only as objective portrayals, neglect the intended opposition that the pressacts in as ‘fourth estate.’ This study canvasses the aversive manner in which Julius Malemais pictured in the South African press through conducting a content analysis of two SouthAfrican daily newspapers, The Cape Times and The Sowetan. The study analyses fiveintensely media-covered events in which Malema was central. Though the depiction ofMalema does not present intrinsic malevolence, his actions are presented as antagonisticthrough predominantly episodic and emotive framing. His explicitly insolent diction is usedas fodder to engage resistance. Such reporting signifies irresponsibility where, within adecontextualised framework, selective sound-bite journalism manipulates readers,accordingly shaping content from truncated snippets that are patched together within aprevailing media logic.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5789/6-2-112

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