Gelane tries to see king, fails

Date: November 13, 2009
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This article may be used in training:
– As an example of gender blind reporting.
– To highlight the underlying gender issues that affect women in leadership.
– To initiate debate about the role of women in traditional leadership structures.
– To highlight how media often suppress women’s voices in the media even on issues that directly affect them.

Trainer’s notes:
When people go to the king, it is always thought that they seek personal gains. This woman was thought to seek protection over the chieftaincy dispute in her area. However, what is interesting about the story is that it is told entirely from a third person perspective. The woman, Gelane Zwane, who is the subject of the story, is not quoted at all. The writer does not even indicate whether the paper tried to get Zwane’s comment or not.

The story is therefore told mainly by Chief Ntabankulu Simelane who accompanied Zwane to the King’s Lozitha Palace. Simelane’s views capture the larger society’s view that a woman has to be accompanied by a man to give weight to her issues. The writer quotes the traditional leader as having said, ‘he hoped his presence alongside Zwane would be enough to convince the king that the matter was being resolved’. It would appear that women face the risk of not being listened to when they approach authorities on their own. The writer does not seem to question this perception.

This article looks at the mis-conceptions male people have on women in the royal residents (community). It explores, through the voice of a man and the perceptive they have on women. How women seek a scapegoat out of a problems.

The issue of gender representation on this issue against women is raised by chief Ntabankulu (a man) and the senate President Chief Gelane, the subject a women) although the issue is dealt with more in depth through the voice of a man source.

The writer exposes how the discrimination against women would build a steep road towards gender equality in Africa. This systemic description against women in all spheres may pose a difficult challenge towards achieving gender equality goals. It actually creates a mental frame that woman despite how close to the king they may be can not seek audience for other issues. Chief Ntabankulu simply concluded she wanted to seek favors from the king. It therefore manifest the blatant stereotypes man has over woman in African, to be more precise ‘Swazi man’. They are always considered a second hand, less important, properties and thoughtless people.

– This article is an example of a blatant stereotype as it shows how Swazi man treats on women in the traditional leadership circles.
– The woman was never considered for consultations on the issue or the reasons why she had to see the king.
– Every Swazi woman in Swaziland is never given equal chances to explain or qualify her stand on particular issues.
– The media simply chose an angle that actually favored them and the state to defame the women.
– A thorough research could have been sufficed to bring both sides of the story.
– The headline is just a statement that Gelane tried to see the king yet, nothing in the story support that.
– The voices in the story show some gender blind elements. Only a man’s voice is heard though the story involves both sexes.
– The women are not given an opportunity to present her side of the story, so to crack the blatant man ideology created to the news consumer.

Training exercises:

Exercise one :
You read news on Chief Ntabankulu alleging that chief Gelane wanted to see the king to dispute her allegations on chieftaincy disputes. This story can be used to create or be developed into strong gender perspectives .Train the people on:
– The story is told from a man’s point of view. It is basically gender blind as it uses only a man’s voice.
– Proper research could have been proper to show both sides of the affected parties. Chief Gelane could have been approached to find her view on the story.
– In a nutshell, gender issues raised by this story are the issue of neglecting one side of the story to create a face that women are to blame. This then defaces women in the society.
– Data needed to enrich this research to be factual would be to seek knowledge from both affected subject and objects.
– To substantiate this information, it would be proper to consider the background knowledge of the relationship between Gelane and the King, their meeting instances and reasons.

Other training resources:

– Whose news, whose views : Gender and Media Handbook




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