*Electronic Theses and Dissertations (PhDs)

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    Igeza lensizwa as fashioned by ILanga le Theku
    (University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2023-03-15) Ngwane, Simphiwe Blessing Mthokozelwa; Mupotsa, Danai S.
    The objective of this study is to explore, analyse and interpret igeza lensizwa fashion inspired photographs on the back page of the first isiZulu-language lifestyle supplement called ILanga le Theku. These were photographs of street-casted young black men from around eThekwini that were being foregrounded as public scripts of youthful Zulu masculinities. Through a discursive approach to Critical Masculinities Studies, I interrogate how young Zulu men made situated decisions in the fashioning of their masculinities. The study engages other interlocutors that were involved in the fashioning of igeza lensizwa. These were the female-led editorial team, the mostly male photographers that street-casted and photographed young men, the young men that agreed and those that did not agree to be street-casted, and the female readers, as represented by the female persona. All these interlocutors had a hand in shaping the form of igeza lensizwa. The archive of the fashion inspired photographs of amageza ezinsizwa and their accompanying captions were approached as key sites where masculine representations were being articulated and contested. The study demonstrates how ILanga le Theku devised various literary techniques to cater for its two implied readers/audiences of igeza lensizwa. Through analysing these literary techniques, the study crafted two concepts to offer more context-based readings of Zulu masculinities as represented in ILanga le Theku. The study foregrounds a concept of igeza lensizwa as being comprised of ukuzithemba [self confidence] and ukuzizwa [self-regard]. The other concept is, thirst-trap which is achieved if the image of igeza lensizwa complies with ukuheha [to entice] and ukuchaza [to have an affect], in relation to the implied female audience. The study demonstrates how these two concepts offer insights on Zulu masculinities by engaging how young people eThekwini were changing dual gender systems norms and matters of desire. Moreover, the study shows how the section was also a site that challenged the myopic limits of homosocial desire with its limitation of masculine desire only incorporating interpersonal attractions. Furthermore, the study demonstrates that through shifts in spectatorship, facilitated by an auto-ethnographic queer lens as method, I inferred looking relations that, inter alia, explored how young men were asked to introspect, and confront masculine beauty.
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    Disinformation: exploring the nexus between politics and technology in Nigeria
    (University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2022) Olaniran, Samuel
    Over the past decade, disinformation and social media hoaxes have evolved from a nuisance into a high-stake information war, exploiting weaknesses in our online information ecosystem. Although social media has the potential to strengthen democratic processes, there is increasing evidence of malicious actors polluting Nigeria’s information ecosystem during elections. Misleading narratives targeting candidates and political parties were picked up, liked, shared, and retweeted by thousands of other users during the 2019 presidential election campaign. Rooted in the theoretical lens of centre/periphery dynamics and equalizing and normalizing hypothesis, this study examines the networked nature of disinformation by identifying instigators, techniques, and motivations for spreading manipulated information around elections. While providing valuable data-driven insights drawn from a computational analysis of over 3 million tweets and a critical blend of qualitative framework, this study analyses the human agency and motivations behind online disinformation. The spread of falsities is coordinated in a way that “ordinary users” unknowingly become “unwitting agents” as “sincere activists” of concerted influence operations, a participatory culture that amplifies disinformation and propaganda. Agents’ participation in the “nairainfluenzer” industry is motivated by factors such ethnic and religious sentiments, poor economy, and low trust in news media. These findings broaden the perspective for examining top-down, orchestrated work as well as other types of coordination that stress how election-related disinformation heightens centre/periphery power dynamics. It further emphasizes that the systematic production and amplification of disinformation on Twitter represents a universal online behaviour not common “emotional-periphery” states.