n Image & Text : a Journal for Design - We were looking for our men in the faces of stars : soap opera and Afrikaner masculinities in

Volume 26, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1020-1491



This article examines the representation of masculinities in selected episodes from the soap opera : place of gold, aired in 1994. This specific moment in South African media history is characterised by a heightened sense of anticipation surrounding as the first local long-running soap opera developed for the relatively new - and only - independent broadcaster in the country, M-Net. Because of this genre's reliance on perceived realism, offers a historically significant televisual mediation of the widespread social and political changes that mark this particular period. This article, however, diverges from the wealth of research on soap opera as a so-called women's genre and approaches Egoli with a keen interest in the programme's negotiation of masculinities. The article's analysis centres on two particular white, Afrikaans male characters: Dr Walt Vorster (portrayed by well-respected opera icon Gé Korsten) and Doug Durand (portrayed by the controversial 'bad-boy' rock star Steve Hofmeyr), and examines how deals with the immanent destabilising of Afrikaner patriarchy at that historical juncture. The article furthermore examines these characters through the notion of celebrity-inter-textuality. The author identifies as the pioneer of casting celebrities as soap opera characters and turning soap opera actors into stars - a trend which has become characteristic of the South African soap opera genre.

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