Social Media and Democracy in Africa: A Case Study of the Zimbabwe 2018 Harmonised Elections

dc.contributor.advisorBosch, Tanja
dc.contributor.authorNcube, Meli
dc.date.accessioned2022-03-10T09:01:12Z
dc.date.available2022-03-10T09:01:12Z
dc.date.issued2021
dc.date.updated2022-03-08T11:37:00Z
dc.description.abstractA political system that facilitates and encourages sincere and careful listening among its citizens will produce more democratic decisions. Yet, good listening is being almost completely ignored in that form of political conversation we know as democracy. As such, this thesis argues that due to an abundance of ‘digital citizens' owing to the proliferation of the internet and social media, a ‘democratic listening' approach to political deliberation has become urgent. However, the application of digital citizenship and democratic listening theories have been minimal in Africa's democratic framework. Accordingly, this thesis seeks to develop this neglected body of scholarship by submitting a case study of Zimbabwe's 2018 harmonised elections. In the African context, most countries principal criterion for democracy is the holding of elections and simply letting citizens' vote. Most of these African administrations also escape the demands of accountability and democratization by steadfastly manipulating legacy media – media originally distributed using a pre-internet medium i.e., print, radio and, television. With the advent of social media which has enabled citizens to access alternative sources of information, this aberrant principal criterion of democracy is now being challenged. The thesis locates itself within digital methods that incorporate qualitative research methods. It makes use of the available digital objects such as the like, share, and retweet buttons to explore societal changes and cultural conditions by investigating online data. The data for analysis is gathered from the social media platforms, Twitter, Facebook, and WhatsApp Messenger. Twitonomy which was developed precisely for Twitter research and offers detailed and visualised analytics of tweets and hashtags is used for data gathering on Twitter. For Facebook, the now defunct Netvizz is used for textually mining data off the platform and on WhatsApp Messenger, an ethnographical approach is exercised. The findings confirm that in Zimbabwe and Africa, social media have emerged as a space for mobilising resistance to authoritarianism and failed promises from elections. Although, African administrations exercise listening as a rhetorical exercise undertaken for instrumental reasons to boost their popularity when they are in a state of decline, social media are now a viable alternative public sphere that democratises political space.
dc.identifier.apacitationNcube, M. (2021). <i>Social Media and Democracy in Africa: A Case Study of the Zimbabwe 2018 Harmonised Elections</i>. (). ,Faculty of Humanities ,Centre for Film and Media Studies. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/11427/36017en_ZA
dc.identifier.chicagocitationNcube, Meli. <i>"Social Media and Democracy in Africa: A Case Study of the Zimbabwe 2018 Harmonised Elections."</i> ., ,Faculty of Humanities ,Centre for Film and Media Studies, 2021. http://hdl.handle.net/11427/36017en_ZA
dc.identifier.citationNcube, M. 2021. Social Media and Democracy in Africa: A Case Study of the Zimbabwe 2018 Harmonised Elections. . ,Faculty of Humanities ,Centre for Film and Media Studies. http://hdl.handle.net/11427/36017en_ZA
dc.identifier.ris TY - Doctoral Thesis AU - Ncube, Meli AB - A political system that facilitates and encourages sincere and careful listening among its citizens will produce more democratic decisions. Yet, good listening is being almost completely ignored in that form of political conversation we know as democracy. As such, this thesis argues that due to an abundance of ‘digital citizens' owing to the proliferation of the internet and social media, a ‘democratic listening' approach to political deliberation has become urgent. However, the application of digital citizenship and democratic listening theories have been minimal in Africa's democratic framework. Accordingly, this thesis seeks to develop this neglected body of scholarship by submitting a case study of Zimbabwe's 2018 harmonised elections. In the African context, most countries principal criterion for democracy is the holding of elections and simply letting citizens' vote. Most of these African administrations also escape the demands of accountability and democratization by steadfastly manipulating legacy media – media originally distributed using a pre-internet medium i.e., print, radio and, television. With the advent of social media which has enabled citizens to access alternative sources of information, this aberrant principal criterion of democracy is now being challenged. The thesis locates itself within digital methods that incorporate qualitative research methods. It makes use of the available digital objects such as the like, share, and retweet buttons to explore societal changes and cultural conditions by investigating online data. The data for analysis is gathered from the social media platforms, Twitter, Facebook, and WhatsApp Messenger. Twitonomy which was developed precisely for Twitter research and offers detailed and visualised analytics of tweets and hashtags is used for data gathering on Twitter. For Facebook, the now defunct Netvizz is used for textually mining data off the platform and on WhatsApp Messenger, an ethnographical approach is exercised. The findings confirm that in Zimbabwe and Africa, social media have emerged as a space for mobilising resistance to authoritarianism and failed promises from elections. Although, African administrations exercise listening as a rhetorical exercise undertaken for instrumental reasons to boost their popularity when they are in a state of decline, social media are now a viable alternative public sphere that democratises political space. DA - 2021_ DB - OpenUCT DP - University of Cape Town KW - Journalism and Media Studies LK - https://open.uct.ac.za PY - 2021 T1 - Social Media and Democracy in Africa: A Case Study of the Zimbabwe 2018 Harmonised Elections TI - Social Media and Democracy in Africa: A Case Study of the Zimbabwe 2018 Harmonised Elections UR - http://hdl.handle.net/11427/36017 ER - en_ZA
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/11427/36017
dc.identifier.vancouvercitationNcube M. Social Media and Democracy in Africa: A Case Study of the Zimbabwe 2018 Harmonised Elections. []. ,Faculty of Humanities ,Centre for Film and Media Studies, 2021 [cited yyyy month dd]. Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/11427/36017en_ZA
dc.language.rfc3066eng
dc.publisher.departmentCentre for Film and Media Studies
dc.publisher.facultyFaculty of Humanities
dc.subjectJournalism and Media Studies
dc.titleSocial Media and Democracy in Africa: A Case Study of the Zimbabwe 2018 Harmonised Elections
dc.typeDoctoral Thesis
dc.type.qualificationlevelDoctoral
dc.type.qualificationlevelPhD
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