Scholarly KZN work finds media unfairly mistreats Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

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Scholarly KZN work finds media unfairly mistreats Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma
UNFAIRLY TREATED: Co-operative governance minister and former AU chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was vilified and delegitimised by the mainstream media in the lead up to the ANC's 2017 Nasrec conference, a KZN PhD researcher has found. PICTURE BY North Coast Courier

The work also finds Ramaphosa is portrayed as a saint, despite a negative view that many South Africans hold of him.


A scholarly research conducted by a PhD student at the University of KZN has found that co-operative governance minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is unfairly mistreated by the South African mainstream media.

The research work is part of a PhD dissertation by 29-year-old UKZN media studies post-graduate Tigere Muringa.

Titled ‘News Coverage in Online Press Titles During the ANC Elective Conference of December 2017’, his thesis looked at articles published by News24 and Independent Online while the ANC was heading towards its 54th national congress in Nasrec, Soweto – during which Cyril Ramaphosa and Dlamini-Zuma contested the position of ANC President.

Ramaphosa was voted for by 2 440 delegates while Dlamini-Zuma got 2 261 – Ramaphosa winning the race by a narrow 179 votes more than Dlamini-Zuma.

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Muringa found the media played a key role in legitimising and de-legitimising ANC politicians who were contesting for the posts in the elective battle – including the portrayal of Dlamini-Zuma as a villain of the whole setting and Ramaphosa as the imposed proverbial saviour.

“What was more striking from the findings was the difference in how the two leaders were portrayed,” Muringa is quoted as saying on UKZN’s official newsletter Ndaba Online.

“Ramaphosa was presented as a saint and statesman, while almost the opposite applied to Dlamini-Zuma,” he said.

Muringa, a very bright student of distinction, who passed his honours degree in media studies with the highest marks ever, said the study showed the Mzansi female politician who also served as chair of the African Union was “incessantly vilified and her leadership and political qualities recurrently delegitimised”. 

Muringa, also a news editor of his own newsoutlet, the University Press, completed the PhD in 2 years.

Scholarly KZN work finds media unfairly mistreats Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma
29-year-old doctoral graduate, Dr Tigere Muringa from UKZN’s Centre for Communication, Media and Society

The university says Muringa completed his undergraduate with high marks.

He received19 distinctions, 14 merit certificates and 9 deans’ commendations during his academic career at the university.

He had chose to explore how mainstream media portrayed the two political leaders in South Africa for his doctoral research.

“Overall, his study contributes to the body of knowledge by confirming how the press is able to evoke cultural discourses when reporting on political candidates to remind readers and allow them to interpret issues and topics using culturally constructed realities as a frame of reference,” reads the article on Indaba Online. 

A Zimbabwean citizen, Muringa was awarded a presidential bursary by the late Zim leader Robert Mugabe in 2012 to go pursue a university course to become anything he wanted. 

UKZN said Muringa is due to found an online newspaper for the university.

“He will take up his post-doctoral fellowship in June 2020”.

(edited by ZK)

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