n Communicare : Journal for Communication Sciences in Southern Africa - Ideological objectives underpinning as a model of communication and governance : research article

Volume 25, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0259-0069



In 2001, the South African government adopted an <I>imbizo</I> (plural: <I>izimbizo</I>) as a model of communication. <I>Imbizo</I> is a Zulu word for a traditional community gathering called by the chief to solve pertinent community issues. The word <I>imbizo</I> has its variants in many African languages in South Africa, e.g. pitšo in Sepedi, <I>kgotla</I> in Setswana and Sesotho. In African indigenous communities, imbizo is used as a platform to resolve pertinent community challenges through honest engagement between the subjects and leadership. In this article, the ideological nuances of the government's decision in 2001 to appropriate <I>imbizo</I> as a model of communication and governance are explored. It is argued that, at face value, <I>imbizo</I> is presented by government as a communication and governance model to deepen participatory democracy and public participation especially for the poor. It is argued in this article that the government's appropriated <I>imbizo</I> appears to be used to deepen the ideological positions of the government and ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC) amongst the masses. It is further argued in this article that an <I>imbizo</I> is used by government of South Africa for the attainment of four interrelated ideological objectives.<ul> <li> It is a vehicle to advance the political strategy of the ANC.</li> <li> It is used as an expression of the African Renaissance paradigm.</li> <li> <I>Imbizo</I> expresses the ideology of African unity.</li> <li> It is used as a manifestation of participatory democracy.</li></ul>

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