Academic journal article Journal of Literary Studies

Media and Development: The Politics of Framing Gender Struggles in the Postcolonial Zimbabwean Shona Films

Academic journal article Journal of Literary Studies

Media and Development: The Politics of Framing Gender Struggles in the Postcolonial Zimbabwean Shona Films

Article excerpt


To frame gender struggles is to set an agenda on what people should think about it in respect of the contradictory roles that men and women play in society and culture. In this article, three films in the Shona language--Mwanasikana (1995), Kapfupi (2009) and Nhasi tave nehama (1993) have been sampled out to explore gender struggles inherent in the Zimbabwean society. The premise of this article is rooted in the ideological doubleness of the word framing as both restrictive as well as an instrument for liberation. Framing gender in the discourses of these three films calls attention to perceiving gender struggles in certain ways and in the process manifesting as far as possible the buried narratives that are otherwise obscured in manipulated forms of representing life. It is the duty of film critics to retrieve these silenced and "other" readings because of their potential to suggest to the audiences some alternative opinions and reactions. I advance in this article that while a flame can impose what should be thought about, it does not necessarily dictate how audiences interpret its text(s). This dialectical relation of framing implied in the restriction-liberating dimension of a frame, that emerges as it were from the struggle of verbal anal visual images inside a frame's boundaries, actually can predispose audiences to want to delve for alternative images of how men and women are depicted in the Shona film.


Oro die genderstryd in 'n raamwerk te plaas, is om 'n agenda te he vir wat mense moet dink oor die teenstrydige folie van mans en vroue in die gemeenskap en kultuur. In hierdie artikel word daar na drie films in Shona (Wanasikana (1995), Kapfupi (2009) en Nhasi tave nehama (1993)) gekyk om genderstryde wat inherent is aan die Zimbabwiese samelewing te verken. Die veronderstelling in hierdie artikel is ingewortel in die ideologiese dubbelsinnigheid van die woord "raamwerk" as beide beperkend en 'n bevrydingsinstrument. Oro gender in die raamwerk van die diskoerse van hierdie drie films te plaas, vestig die aandag daarop dat genderstryde op sekere maniere verstaan word en word die verborge narratiewe (wat andersins in gemanipuleerde vorms om die lewe uit te beeld, verberg word) so ver as moontlik blootgele. As gevolg van die potensiaal van hierdie gesmoorde en "ander" interpretasies om 'n paar alternatiewe opinies en reaksies aan die kykers te suggereer, is dit die plig van filmkritici om hierdie gedempte interpretasies terug te bring. In hierdie artikel voer ek aan dat alhoewel 'n raamwerk mag voorskryf waaroor daar gedink moet word, dit nie noodwendig dikteer hoe kykers die teks(te) daarvan moet interpreteer nie. Hierdie dialektiese verband van omraming wat deur die beperking-bevryding-dimensie van 'n raamwerk geimpliseer word, wat as't ware uit die stryd van verbale en visuele beelde binne die grense van die raamwerk voortvloei, kan kykers in werklikheid vatbaar maak om te wil delf vir alternatiewe beelde van hoe mans en vroue in die Shonafilm uitgebeeld word.

Introduction: Theorising the Framing of Gender Struggles

The term flaming is usually used to refer to the way news reporters shape the content and context of news items by focusing on what should be thought about and the range of acceptable debate on a particular topic/event. The metaphor of a flame implies the presence of a fixed border that includes some things and excludes others. Put differently, a flame which in the film genre translates into a screen, is an ideological window into the world that can censor the type and quantity of information accessible to the audiences. In his groundbreaking research, Lippman (1922) in Wicks (2001) contends that the basic ideas that drive the flaming concept are rooted in stereotyping. Stereotyping has, as its frame, the desire to confine cultural meanings. A stereotype is a site of dreams, images, fantasies, myths, obsessions enclosed in a system of synchronic essentialism and a knowledge of language signifiers (Bhabha 1996). …

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