Media Lecturer Wins Best Paper Award at Communication Conference
PhD Media and Cultural Studies (Pietermaritzburg) candidate and contract Lecturer Ms Sandra Pitcher won the top prize for the best paper presented at the South African Communication Association (SACOMM) conference in Potchefstroom.
Pitcher’s research, which is based on her doctoral thesis, analysed the representation of former President Nelson Mandela in the work of political cartoonist, Zapiro. The paper, titled: “Moulding the Myth: An analysis of Zapiro’s Representation of Nelson Mandela 1994-1999”, aimed to critically evaluate the work of Zapiro in line with what it means to be a good political cartoonist.
In her paper, she argued that Zapiro failed to be critical of Mandela’s leadership and, instead, perpetuated ideologies of ‘Mandela the Saint’ and ‘Mandela the Superhero’. Consequently, it was argued that during Mandela’s reign as President, Zapiro was more political lackey than political watchdog.
Pitcher said she was both shocked and delighted at winning the award (one of only five) at SACOMM’s 40th anniversary gala dinner because so many other excellent papers were presented. She was happy her controversial argument was appreciated by her colleagues from across the country.
She was also quick to credit her supervisor, Dr Nicola Jones, for guiding her through her studies. ‘She was incredibly supportive when I wrote the paper, and offered invaluable feedback when I discussed the claims and arguments that I made in it,’ Pitcher said.