n Africanus - Exploring the use of Humour, Vulgarity and Allegory in social media discourses : the case of Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp - research

Volume 49 Number 1
  • ISSN : 0304-615X



This article unpacks notions of humour, vulgarity, and allegory in social media discourses during the trial of Oscar Pistorius by analysing the dynamic interactions between South Africa’s judicial system and multiple discourses on Facebook and Twitter. It explores whether social media, in this instance, provided a platform for citizen-led conversations on the South African judiciary’s legal processes. It proposes that where the “legacy media” were constrained in facilitating case-related public discussions, social media created an alternative sphere for citizens to engage with the South African justice system throughout the trial. The article examines the popular views that were posted on Facebook and Twitter during the trial. Using a Foucauldian approach and Achille Mbembe’s interpretation of the postcolony, the article argues that the trial of Oscar Pistorius can be used as a lens to examine the humorous, vulgar and allegoric views of South Africans towards the judicial system in the post-apartheid era. This is more so in a context where intersectional contestations of class, race, and gender exist within popular socio-political discourses of “rich white men’s justice” versus “poor black men’s justice.”

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