Representations of masculinity in Skeem Saam

Maggs, Alexandra Catherine
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This dissertation unpacks representations of masculinities in the popular SABC 1 series Skeem Saam. Using content analysis, discourse analysis, and visual discourse analysis this dissertation illustrates the complex representations of masculinity in Skeem Saam, combining historical discourses of responsible manhood, fatherhood, and the idea of the breadwinner. I use Kopano Ratele’s idea of Hegemony within Marginality to unpack how the representations of masculinity in Skeem Saam are strongly underpinned by a neoliberal idea of success. In the two distinctive settings of Johannesburg and Turfloop, I focus on two central characters: family man Zamokihle “Kwaito” Seakamela and ruthless businessman Lehasa Maphosa. Ultimately, although these representations deviate from popular tropes in South African media, which associate black men with violence, they still follow similar patterns as historical representations that privilege consumerism, prioritize class mobility and alienate the working class.
A dissertation submitted in full fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts by Research in Media Studies to the Faculty of Humanities, University of the Witwatersrand, 2021