Congratulations to Joel Pearson and Phesheya Dube, two outstanding scholars, for earning distinctions for their MA dissertations.
Phesheya, whose work was titled 'Who cares about Swaziland? A textual analysis of the representation of Swaziland in South African media', was supervised by Media Studies' research associate Dr Sarah Chiumbu. His thesis explores the representation of Swaziland in key South African media sites. Using a thematic content analysis of reports on Swaziland in The Star, Mail & Guardian and Sowetan, it argues that South Africa replicates western media's stereotypical reporting of the continent as a result of the socio-political and economic structural similarities between South Africa and the west. Phesheya, who has worked as a media professional in Swaziland for many years, will return to Wits to undertake his PhD.
Joel, who was co-supervised by Nicky Falkof and Professor Peter Delius (History), wrote a thesis entitled 'Witchcraft management in the early 20th century Transvaal', which used original archival research to show that the job of policing witchcraft during the colonial era was more uncertain and ad hoc at grassroots level than official 'civilising' rhetoric suggested, and that discursive constructions around witchcraft and diviners were shrouded in fear, amibuity and misconception. Joel's MA was part of an NRF-funded research project on moral panics in South Africa. He is currently working as a researcher at the Public Affairs Research Institute (PARI).
Witchcraft Management in the Early Twentieth Century Transvaal