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Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe

versão On-line ISSN 2224-7912
versão impressa ISSN 0041-4751


BOTMA, Gabriël J.. "Koos says..." : A critical discourse analysis of the meta-capital of a prominent South African media tycoon. Tydskr. geesteswet. [online]. 2016, vol.56, n.1, pp.153-168. ISSN 2224-7912.

This article, "Koos says...": A critical discourse analysis of the meta-capital of a prominent South African media tycoon, engages the public statements of Koos Bekker, CEO of Africa's largest media company, Naspers. Bekker is renowned as a visionary entrepreneur and has made a personal fortune in the process of taking Naspers from a national and rather sectarian print-based media company to an international digital television and e-commerce concern. The aim of the article is to analyse and describe the discursive power relations in which Bekker is situated. In the last few decades, Bekker received much media coverage, and also contributed a number of opinion pieces to the newspapers owned by Naspers. The argument here is that he functions as an opinion leader by virtue of his influence and standing in the field of business, and the "meta-capital" (Bourdieu & Wacquant 1992; Couldry 2003) it affords him - in part due to media access and exposure -across other fields in society. In this regard the article refers to the discourse theory of Michel Foucault and the comparable work of Pierre Bourdieu on the link between language and power. According to this view, language is the medium of construction and circulation of knowledge/power in society. Those who have access to the media, are able to influence the construction of readers' reality. Flowing from this theoretical framework is the methodology of critical discourse analysis, as it was developed by Norman Fairclough and Teun van Dijk. Thus the analysis takes place on three levels - text, context of production, and the larger context of society. The analysis focused on a number of selected articles, in the main interviews with or opinion pieces written by Bekker, in which he commented on issues outside his primary field of interest, Naspers and the media. The following eight discursive themes emerged: (Koos Bekker as) supporter of Darwinian evolution theory, critical patriot, champion for Afrikaans, critic of some Afrikaners, honorary Chinese citizen, strategic opinion leader, informed casual writer, and youth "worshipper". It was noted that Bekker occasionally moved close to institutional power, for example as a member of the Board of Stellenbosch University, and the Bid and Local Organising Committee of the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup. Interestingly, on at least two occasions Bekker engaged critically with the views of two former National Party ministers, Naspers'former allies, in opinion pieces. In the first instance Bekker displayed relative conservative views on the maintenance of Afrikaans at South African universities, and in the second case he argued against conservative Afrikaners who tried to stop Stellenbosch University from awarding an honorary doctorate to deceased (Afrikaner Communist) freedom fighter Bram Fischer. Thus, the CDA found that Bekker displayed a complex positioning towards Afrikaans and Afrikaners. On the one hand he clearly identified with "white" and "brown" Afrikaans speakers of a younger generation. His argument was that they should not be blamed for the "sins" of apartheid because they were born after the fact. But Bekker had far less empathy for the older generation of white Afrikaners. He identified two "types", on the one hand those who had become bitter and reactionary about the loss of political power, and on the other those who had resigned themselves to an inferior position for their language and culture. Writing in English for a wider audience on some occasions, Bekker emphasised South African inclusiveness and diversity as the key to unlocking the potential of the country. He was generally optimistic about the "new" South Africa, but also cautioned against tendencies such as "cader deployment" and a devisive polarisation between black and white. It is argued in closing that his informed style and rhetoric displayed a sense of careful and strategic planning, dressed down by seeming nonchalance and a deliberate informal approach.

Palavras-chave : Afrikaans; Afrikaners; Bourdieu; Critical Discourse Analysis; Entrepreneur; Identity; Foucault; Language; Media; Naspers; Power; South Africa.

        · resumo em Africaner     · texto em Africaner     · Africaner ( pdf )


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