Embodying Afrikaner male toxic masculinities in Tsotsitaal speaking characters in South African television : the case of Isidingo (1998), Yizo Yizo (1999) and INumber Number (2014).

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The research mainly looks at the deployment of Tsotsitaal in post-1994 South African television dramas and soap opera’s (known in South Africa as soapies) Yizo Yizo (1999), Isidingo (1998), and iNumber Number (2013). The study will focus on the Afrikaans syntax of tsotsitaal which is known as flaaitaal, though Iscamtho will also be considered. The research focuses on the representation of flaaitaal, speaking characters and their association with certain forms of masculinities. Also, to be investigated is the extent to which flaaitaal speaking characters convoke ordinary native Afrikaans speakers or identities. In an attempt to emphasise such a claim, the research will look at random episodes of Yizo Yizo (1999), Isidingo (1998) and iNumber Number (2014) and analyse their depiction of black masculinities which provoke toxic ordinary native Afrikaner masculine identities of the apartheid era. The aim of the research is to outline certain meanings and ideologies behind the deployment of Tsotsitaal (Flaaitaal) in Post-Apartheid South African soapies, dramas and films. In addition, the research aims to investigate how Afrikaans and its speakers are projected as those who are social miss-fits, the ills of society, cruel, self-centred, and mafia types by South African filmmakers through a reverse gaze and the disruption of racial hierarchies. Papa G, an Isidingo (1998) character, is a heartless, cruel, wealthy and well-connected flaaitaal speaking character. This study will correlate such characterization with that of the ordinary native Afrikaner masculine identities and how such characterisation and language could be a mere resemblance of Afrikaner-ness. The characterisation of Iscamtho-speaking characters such as Chester and Papa Action in Yizo Yizo (1999) as inferior, poor and of lower economic status compared to flaaitaal-speaking character Bra Gibb, heavily informs the audience and broader public with regards to language hierarchies within a South African context. In relation to the case of Mambane in Inumber Number (2014), the study looks into the Afrikaner-ness, and alibi portrayed and displayed by a character based on his mannerism, attitude, language usage and the role he holds with the heist gang. In addition, we have a female character, who’s part of the male dominant heist gang, who’s characterization leads the study back to the history of women in gangs. Furthermore, the study will explore aspects surrounding tsotsitaal, its growth, and its popularity amongst tsotsis in history, and youths in urban spaces and black townships in modern days. In application of Representation theory, the study will explore black constructions and meaning, and the way language connects meaning 4 to culture. Drawing from theorists such as Brown (2008), Gray (1995), Buasch (2013) and Craig (1992), the study further looks into how black images on television and media in general, are always negatively represented. Such black images are depicted as criminals, poor, visionless, violent, cruel, hopeless and public enemies.
A research report submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts to the Faculty of Humanities, School of Literature, Language and Media, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2023