Indigenous Language Media in Africa is a new Research Niche Area that has been approved by the institutional Senate for the NWU Mafikeng Campus.
The research entity will focus on the study of African Language Media and African Traditional/Folk Media. The media that will be engaged in this niche area are the print, broadcast and the digital media making use of African languages.
The application document for the research entity indicates that its goal is “to research the indigenous language media and their traditional communication system in Africa in terms of their nature, content, styles, organisational management as well as their applications for democracy, development and corporate communication”.
Explaining the essence of the research entity, the document notes that “mainstream media studies have not so far shown much interest in indigenous (African) languages. This is partly, perhaps, because of its bias towards urban society, linked to the perception of indigenous (African) languages as being somehow linked to the past rather than the future”.
The document further discloses: “a main concern of this area of study has to do with the role the media can play in supporting a language and its culture. This is to say that supporting and promoting African language media by directing academic focus on them has a significant role to play in the maintenance of the African languages”.
The work of the entity will revolve around African Language Journalism, Management and Political Economy of African Language Media; Corporate Communication, Democracy and Development Communication in African Language Media; as well as African Indigenous Communication Systems.
Professor Abiodun Salawu, head of the research group, explains that the vision is to build the research entity into a reference point for research in indigenous African language media, adding that this will be done by a concert of researches leading to awarding degrees of PhD, Master’s and Honours; as well as researches by established researchers for the purpose of journal, monograph and book publications.
The institutional senate’s approval for the establishment of the research niche area followed earlier approvals by the Institutional Research Support Commission and the Institutional Committee for Research and Innovation.