Towards a Ghetto Fabulous Township Aesthetic in South Africa: Neoliberal and Nation-Building Archetypes in DStv’s Lokshin Bioskop and eTV’s eKasi: Our Stories
Keywords:television films, township space, ghetto fabulous, post-apartheid South Africa, middle-class aspirations, representation
Television films in South Africa such as the series Lokshin Bioskop and eKasi: Our Stories represent the township space as fabulous and rife with economic opportunity. This is in contrast to the representations that are often depicted by mainstream film, in which the township space is portrayed as manifest with crime, unemployment and decay as in the case of Hijack Stories, Wooden Camera and Tsotsi. This study demonstrates the way in which neoliberal and nation-building archetypes are central in the creation of a ghetto fabulous representation of blackness and the township space. The study employs a close textual analysis of Taxi Cheeseboy and Maid for Me. It is informed by the “ghetto fabulous genre of black film” by Mukherjee in its reading of these new forms of grassroots expression. Moreover, the study delves into the representation of a post-apartheid township amidst the economic and social woes faced by the majority of its dwellers who are still significantly underprivileged. The selected films represent the township exclusively from its quasi-suburban areas which promulgate a picture of a township that has not been neglected by gentrification in post-1994 South Africa.
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