News framing of Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki in South African media
De Beer, Arnold S.
MetadataShow full item record
South Africa'sfirst two democratically elected presidents, Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki, are portrayed very differently by the media. Since the 1999 transfer of the country's leadership to Thabo Mbeki, the two leaders were frequently compared by the media. Reports that appeared in the study period of 2002 to 2004 in mostly South African newspapers depicted former president Nelson Mandela as the "magic man" who is revered by celebrities and street children alike for his warmth, humanity and statesmanship. President Thabo Mbeki on the other hand was portrayed as the rather cold and distant "mystery man": the highly intelligent politician who plays clever word and political games. Jn this article a number of theoretical framing tools are developed to compare the apparent assumptions about, and portrayal of, as well as the hugely disparate public media images of, the character and personality of Mandela and Mbeki. Elements of literary characterisation, such as appearance, behaviour, and effect on others, are used to determine the frames of reference created by the media in their reports on the two men. These tools are universally applicable in the analysis of media personalities and may prove helpful to other researchers working in this field of study.