The lens of life – Daily Sun


Date: August 5, 2011
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Name of story: The lens of life

Name of journalist: Happy Baloyi

Name of publication: Daily Sun

Date: 14 July 2011

Country: South Africa

Theme: Arts, young women

Skills: Headline, perspective and language

Genre: Feature

GEM classification: Gender aware

In this article, Happy Baloyi features Nozipho Radebe, a 25 year old woman who has found her joy in creative production and broadcasting. She recently finished a 30 minute film entitled Positive Truth. Nozipho uses her camera (lens) to express her perspective of life. This article shows that young women in South Africa are becoming producers and screenwriters in South Africa. The notion that women are there only as faces of broadcast is being challenged by women behind the lens, such as Radebe. This article could have positive effects as it can encourage young women to follow their passion and pursue a similar creative career in the broadcast industry.

Headline
“The lens of life” is an appropriate and creative headline. The article is about viewing the world through a lens (the camera), which is what Nozipho Radebe does for a living. Radebe is a producer of plays and films that portray her perspective of life. Her camera is the lens that she uses to view life.

Sources
There is only one source in the article, Nozipho Radebe, the person featured in the story. She is the only person used as a source because Baloyi is telling her story and how she became who she is today. Although she is the most relevant source to be used in the article, a number of additional voices could have been used in order to balance the sources. These could be family members or colleagues who have witnessed Radebe’s growth or audiences of her plays and films.

Language
The language used to write this article does not contain any stereotypes or underlying sexism. The reporter uses words like “talented” and “gifted” to describe Radebe, which is appropriate and encouraging. The only time that Baloyi veers towards insensitivity is when s/he refers to Radebe as a “girl”. At 25, Radebe is a young woman, not a girl, which refers to somebody who is still a child. Especially considering Radebe’s achievements, her maturity should have been taken into account.

Visual image
Baloyi uses a strong visual image. It is of Radebe with a camera in her hand, looking ahead of the lens. The caption reads: “Nozipho Radebe’s short movie educates people about taking control.” This image tells us that Radebe is a filmmaker and she has the ability to use the camera she holds. She has produced her own movie, Positive Truth, and this is a positive portrayal of a woman in broadcasting.

Story angle and perspective
This article shows that sex or gender are not deterrents to achieving your dreams. Radebe became aware of her talent in primary school and has since worked on it to become the person she is today. She uses this talent to educate and entertain people, starting with the production of her own film. This article challenges the notion that women cannot succeed as producers in the film and media industry. It shows us that there are young women out there like Radebe who make their dreams of producing film and theatre come true.

Training exercises
1. What do you think of this story’s headline? Come up with alternative headlines for this story.
2. There is only one source used in this article. What could be the reason and could the reporter have used any other sources? Give reasons for your answer.
3. Define the term caption. What information should be included in a caption? Is the caption in this article accurate?

Other training resources

Publication: Feminist Media Studies

Publication: Film for Joy and Learning

Research: Racial attitudes and genre attributes in South African cinema: A case study of There’s a Zulu on my Stoep


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