Of sunsets, savages, and soccer framing Africa during the final days of the 2010 FIFA World Cup

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

Representation is fluid;symbolism changes between eras and between news channels. From the negativity of Afro-pessimism and threatening connotations of tribes and rampant warfare, to the notion of untouched wilderness, abundant natural resources, and financial miracles in recent years, Africa has many representations within the media. Sadly, many Africans argue, Western media practitioners tend to present "fatalistic and selectively crude" (Kromah, 2002) representations of Africa, portraying a large and diverse continent as homogeneous (Hammett, 2010), if they represent African realities at all (Golan, 2008). With the FIFA 2010 World Cup held for the first time on the African continent, the Western media spotlight was fixed firmly on South Africa for over a month of continuous, rolling reporting on Western and non-Western news channels. Did this journalism re-engender old stereotypes, symbolism, and language? This study scrutinises five rolling news channels to analyse that very issue, and adds depth and empirical evidence to an under-researched area.

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