The role of branding in the success of the Economic Freedom Fighters( EFF)

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

Much has been written about the political mediatisation of society, often through the lenses of the media, its institutional rules and processes. These studies have focused on either side of the debate, choosing to look at the media itself, or its influence on the political subsystem and vice versa. This has resulted in the formation of a gap in the literature around the issue of the relationship between media and governance particularly in the political branding area. This thesis focuses on political branding in South Africa and explores the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF)'s "brand image" amongst voters in the last national elections 2014. The thesis thus is considered an exploratory study that uses in-depth interviews combined with primary qualitative and a preliminary secondary quantitative research. The data from the different research methods were thematically analysed by the researcher through the projective technique analysis of political branding in South Africa. The main objective of this thesis is to consider how the EFF used the media function within the current commercial media spheres to shape and influence political branding in South Africa. In addition, this thesis will look into how the EFF positioned itself on top of the current political dynamic in South Africa. The thesis ends with a number theoretical reflections and directions for future empirical research to explore the relation between media and governance in depth in dealing with South Africa as a society in transition. It also acknowledges its limitations.