Wena ungubani (Who are you)?: Post-1994 identity and memory through ukuthakazela in the ‘new’ media blog

  • Innocentia J. Mhlambi


The Internet’s capacity for ‘space flows’ and ‘timeless time’ has emerged as a new multi-functional communications technology. Its everyday use reveals intriguing ways contemporary societies connect in its sphere to (re)configure their identities. A virtual community’s discussions of ukuthakazela on the Internet demonstrates how this primordial oral genre interfaces with this ‘new’ media form in the (re)construction of (post)modern negotiated cultural identities. Arguably, the Internet has allowed to surface perceptions of (dis)continuities regarding contemporary social organisations, with one end of the debate drawing attention to how the Internet is conceptualised on the discourse of rationalities and social control, as in the modernist sense, and with the other, pointing to social diversification, as in the postmodernist thinking. This paper adds to these debates through a consideration of izithakazelo (used mainly by the Zulu linguistic group to refer to honorific clan names), and highlights the meanings of nostalgia brought about by intersectional ‘space flows’ afforded by the Internet and surfed by clans to (re) construct lost or muddled up genealogies. This discussion is set against the canvass of South Africa’s post-1994 attempt at nation building where certain forms of memory, nostalgia and memorialising are (dis)allowed for the greater demands of an ideologically induced national formation.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2305-1159
print ISSN: 0257-2117