Multilingual dialogue in a post-Apartheid television drama in South Africa: More than a rhetorical function

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Shole J. Shole


This paper examines the use of multiple languages in the television dramas of post-Apartheid South Africa that are broadcast in the state-owned South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), with special reference to a single scene selected from an episode of the popular soap opera Generations: The Legacy (GTL) which is a sequel to Generations. Multilinguality is not a new phenomenon in creative verbal art, nor is it peculiar to South African fictional television. Given the country’s separatist political history, the sudden change in the late 1990s from exclusively monolingual to multilingual dialogue in the SABC soap operas is of socio-political significance. The subject is considered within the frameworks of Communication Context and Code of Realism, inter alia, and the article argues that Rainbowism is the main motivation behind the multilingual switch. Promoting the Rainbowism agenda through TV drama constitutes a reliance on the mass media to influence society, a reliance which finds resonance among Cultivation as well as Social Cognitive theorists.







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