n Critical Arts : A Journal of South-North Cultural and Media Studies - Images of negotiation : the story of an election told through print advertisements

Volume 19, Issue 1_2
  • ISSN : 0256-0046



This study offers an account of the campaigning of the three main political parties involved in the 1994 national general election in South Africa through a close reading of their paid advertisements in the mainstream print media. Prior to the 1994 elections, the use of political advertising in the lead-up to elections was sporadic. The first democratic elections changed all the rules of engagement: while there were no television advertisements, there were largescale, expensive and complex print campaigns. The narrative approach followed in this article traces the symbology, coherence and arguments marshalled by the political parties, illustrating that parties were able to draw on already-established repertoires of accepted symbols, tapping into the deep-rooted fears, desires, aspirations and historical loyalties of their established constituencies.

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