Yizo Yizo: citizenship, commodification and popular culture in South Africa

Barnett, Clive (2004). Yizo Yizo: citizenship, commodification and popular culture in South Africa. Media, Culture and Society, 26(2) pp. 251–271.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0163443704041175


This article critically examines the development of an innovative approach to educational broadcasting in post-apartheid South Africa. Examining the policy background and the public debate sparked by the controversial drama series, Yizo Yizo, it is argued that the spatial restructuring of media markets re-articulates the sites and scales at which media practices and citizenship are connected. Yizo Yizo makes creative use of globalised media genres to address pressing social issues in ways that connect to national public policy debates. It does so by mainstreaming educational broadcasting, and by recognising children's complex media literacies and competencies. It is argued that the series is an example of a new rationality of media citizenship developed in the distinctive context of post-apartheid transition that has broader significance for understandings of the implications of media globalisation for citizenship, culture, and participation. Yizo Yizo is a practical example of mediated deliberation aimed at empowering citizens. It is indicative of subtle but important shifts in the dimensions of public culture in a highly divided society.

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