Searching for 'African' perspectives in South African media's discourse on Zimbabwe's challenges
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The year 2000 witnessed an aggressive displacement of white farmers by Zimbabwe’s war veterans in pursuit of an unfulfilled African struggle for land repossession usurped by British colonialists led by Cecil John Rhodes in the 19th century. This turn of events received international media attention. Both in Africa and abroad, the media attacked Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and called for Mugabe’s removal from power. Pressure was exerted on the Southern Africa Development Community-appointed mediator, Thabo Mbeki, to drop “quiet diplomacy” and adopt an aggressive and uncompromising approach to Mugabe. African leaders, including Mbeki, saw the media’s attitude as pro-Western and anti-African. This article, utilising Afrocentricity as theoretical framework, examines how the South African newspaper City Press, a self-proclaimed “distinctly African” newspaper, handled the Zimbabwean crisis, with particular reference to the land issue and taking into cognisance traditional African culture’s stance with regards to land ownership.