The South African media's (re) colonisation of Namibia

Robin Tyson


This paper seeks to reveal the patterns of power, influence and ownership that South African media houses are having over Namibians and Namibian media outlets. The hypothesis is that there has recently been an increased interest in Namibia as a source of further revenue for South African media businesses as well as an opportunity for further strengthening ties of cultural and language issues between the two countries. In addition there might also be increased opportunities for South African political perspectives to be further advanced through linkages with Namibian media outlets.
The paper further seeks to expand academic discourse to include those countries, such as Namibia, living in South Africa’s cultural and economic shadow, and, in a larger sense, looks at the increasingly regional and even nature of media systems in Africa.
It tries to move these discussions into everyday discourse, as opposed to the margins, where, as McMillin (2007:68) says:
we fail to understand the incredible impact of colonialism on the development of their media systems, the regional influence of these systems, and the unique character they take on as they assert their postcolonial identities and meet the challenges of globilization.
The research refers to the unique position of Namibia, having been, firstly, a German colony, and, later, a South African ‘administered territory’, and makes reference to the implications this had on the shaping and control over the media environment.
The findings reveal an increase in South African influence and shareholding over Namibian media companies and content. This parallel has strengthened economic ties with South Africa, and in particular the influence of South African retail chains and their stock levels of Namibian versus South African publications.

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