The representation of kwaito in the Sunday Times between 1994 and 2001



This research investigates the representation of kwaito in the Sunday Times between 1994 and 2001, a period of transition for South Africa and the South African media. Kwaito, a music phenomenon that began in the streets of townships, was an important social development. Initially, it offered a range of ways in which post-apartheid black youth could represent themselves and their lives, both good and bad.

The Sunday Times, on the other hand, was a white establishment newspaper that needed to change to represent a wider community and provide a space for the inclusion of previously neglected areas of South Africa cultural life. My analysis of all the articles on kwaito published in the newspaper demonstrates that the paper increasingly covered kwaito musicians and events, but tended to confine this coverage to the gossip pages of the City Metro, an insert aimed at black readers.

On the other hand, commentators in feature and commentary articles in the main body, who had the power as “cultural consecrators” to investigate the meaning of kwaito as a phenomenon, tended to dismiss it as debased form of expression by lost youngsters. This bears out the argument by Hebdige that youth subcultures tend to be accommodated and contained by the media through a process of converting them into mass-produced objects or through neutering them ideologically.



M.A. University of the Witwatersrand, Faculty of Humanities (Journalism and Media Studies), 2012



Sandisiwe Vilakazi Journalism MA Research Report (412.92 KB)






Vilakazi, Sandisiwe