Table of Contents:

Theoretical framework

The chapter deploys insights gleaned from CPE of the media and decolonial theory. The former is deployed for its acknowledgement that the media are cultural, political and economic institutions (Murdock and Golding 1997; Wasko, Murdock, and Sousa 2011). This chapter investigates Kwayedza's and Umthunywa's survival strategies in context - both current and historical - and holistically. Both CPE and decolonial theory contend that, in their emancipatory project, they have to be historical and contextual (Karam 2018; Murdock and Golding 1997; Wasko et al. 2011). Whereas CPE seeks to expose capitalistic control of the media (see Murdock and Golding 1997; Wasko et al. 2011), the decolonial project seeks to de-Westernise indigenous knowledge (Chasi 2018). As Moyo and Mutsvairo (2018) observe, ‘decoloniality is a combative, revolutionary, and

Kwayedza and Umthunywa 109 above all liberatory theory that originates from the South’ (26). It rejects what Moyo and Mutsvairo (2018, 26) call ‘epistemic colonisation’ that is perpetuated by Western research methodology and theory. To combat this colonisation in African media and communication studies, the decolonial project calls for the utilisation of hermeneutical and phenomenological research methods (Karam 2018). However, bearing in mind Nakata et aL’s (2012) observation that the emergence of the local does not mean the disappearance of the foreign, the chapter, as noted above, also utilises insights gleaned from CPE because media are political, economic and cultural institutions. CPE, just like decoloniality, is also liberatory. It contends that any study of changes in media institutions should not just focus on the immediate but on the economic, the political and socio-cultural transformations over long periods of time (Murdock and Golding 1997; Wasko et al. 2011). This contextualisation and historicisation means that CPE is holistic - it does not treat economics as a bounded system, but ‘it focuses on the relations between economic practices and social and political organization’ (Wasko et al. 2011, 2).

This chapter also locates the analysis of Kwayedza and Umthunywa's struggle for survival in the broader political, social and economic context and the give-and-take relations between these media institutions and their macro-environment. It also borrows CPE’s moral project and its obligation for practitioners ‘to follow the logic of their analysis through into practical action for change’ (Wasko et al. 2011, 2). The analysis will examine from both a CPE and decolonial perspective these two publications’ organisation and ‘the constitution of the good society grounded in social justice and democratic practice’ (Wasko et al. 2011, 2). The intention is to examine whether, in their operations, they are motivated by the desire to attain the good society or by their bottom-line considerations.

With regards to praxis, the chapter also seeks to unravel and render visible that which had been rendered invisible by colonialism. This is indeed the goal of decolonial theory' which, through rendering visible that which had been murdered, decapitated and buried by colonialism and coloniality, seeks to humanise the ‘other’ (Chasi 2018). This chapter seeks to humanise indigenous language media and indigenous languages in Zimbabwe. It does this by interrogating the long-held view that indigenous language media in Zimbabwe and Africa generally do not perform well and the suspicions that this is because of the use of indigenous languages. It questions the beliefs that indigenous languages and indigenous language media are not considered useful in the development project (see Mpofu and Salawu 2018b), ideas that appear oblivious to Zeleza’s (2006) argument that both indigenous languages and foreign languages were tainted by' the colonial encounter such that foreign languages now appear less foreign whilst indigenous languages appear less local. The chapter thus searches for a more measured analysis (see Nakata et al. 2012) of indigenous language media’s survival strategies and opportunities. It seeks the middle-of-the-road approach - an approach that neither privileges foreign languages media nor disadvantages indigenous language media. The chapter finally interrogates how issues of ownership affect indigenous language media’s performance and survival.


The chapter is qualitative, and specifically interpretive, in nature. This is because it is interested in meanings and thus seeks to engage in ‘sense making’ (Bhattacherjee 2012, 104; see also Krippendorf 2004; Tutwanc 2010). Consequently, the chapter pays attention to context since reality ‘is embedded within and cannot be abstracted from their social settings’ (Bhattacherjee 2012, 104). In seeking to understand the survival strategies, challenges, opportunities and impact of indigenous languages on the survival of indigenous language media, the editors of Kwayedza and Umthunywa were purposively selected for interviewing. The two editors were chosen because they possessed knowledge about the editorial and the business or marketing sides of the selected publications (see Bhattacherjee 2012; Zhang and Wildemuth 2009). The intention was to gain a deeper understanding of the survival strategies deployed by Kwayedza and Umthunywa, the challenges they face and the impact of the use of indigenous languages on the profitability of the newspapers. To achieve this, in-depth telephone and email interviews with the two editors were conducted. Open-ended questions were emailed to the Umthunywa editor whilst the Kwayedza editor was interviewed over the telephone.

The findings were analysed thematically but this analysis was also located in context and history. The data were categorised into ‘concepts or “codes’”, which were used to unravel the emerging patterns in the data (Bhattacherjee 2012). Coding schemes can be derived from related literature, theories and the data (Zhang and Wildemuth 2009). Here, the researcher deployed a grounded approach where themes emerging from the data were used to code the data. In the analysis, attention was paid to issues of content, profitability, impact of the economy on performance, readers’ perceptions (from the perspective of the editors) and marketing strategies.

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