oa South African Journal of Cultural History - The discourse of the historical television drama - The case of 'Shaka Zulu'

Volume 5, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1018-0745



In the historical television drama, audiences recognize the existence of a system of knowledge that is already clearly defined in their minds as 'historical knowledge', yet historians experience a specific difficulty in interpreting the historical television drama. The synthesis of the two major elements in the historical drama, 'actual events' and 'fictional episodes', are for the historian mutually exclusive. Television has its own characteristic form of discourse and textual conventions. In an analysis of the Shaka Zulu television series, attention is drawn to the dramatic codes, economic structures, and the roles of the key communicators that shape the final form of television products bound for worldwide distribution to mass audiences.

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