SACOMM2022 Round-Up

24 Sep 2022
24 Sep 2022

Every year CFMS sends a handful of delegates to attend the annual South African Communications Association Conference (#SACOMM2022). This year was no exception as a total of 12 CFMS delegates arrived in Johannesburg last week representing UCT. The conference was held at Wits University and centred around the theme “Unravelling Big Tech: Power and the Global South”.

Conferences such as SACOMM present an invaluable experience for students and staff alike to network with fellow colleagues in the field and share research.
We understand the incredible educational value present in attending such academic conferences and we encourage and facilitate students to take part wherever possible.  
For many of our MA delegates who took part in #SACOMM2022, this was not only a significant first step in their research journey, but it also provided an opportunity to make connections that will assist in forming the foundation of their work going forward in both their academic and professional capacities. 
Below are some of topics presented by our delegates:


Prof Herman Wasserman

Prof Wasserman had a full schedule presenting two research papers, his latest book, and participating in a plenary panel discussing ‘Unravelling Big Tech’. His research papers covered recent work relating to misinformation literacy in South African Schools and universities, as well as global media coverage of Africa. As part of the SACOMM book presentation section of the conference, Prof Wasserman presented his latest book (co-edited with Dani Madrid-Morales), entitled Disinformation in the Global South.
A/Prof Tanja Bosch
A/Prof Bosch presented on three panels at SACOMM. Most notably, her research with Alette Schoon from Rhodes University explored how TikTok is used for racial activism in South Africa, using the recent Stellenbosch University incident as a case study. She also presented a recent paper on social media surveillance during the Covid-19 lockdowns.
A/Prof Martha Evans
A/Prof Martha Evans took part in a panel discussion engaging with Lesley Cowling, Anthea Garman and Sandra Pitcher on the role narrative journalism plays in the era of big tech.
Dr Alexia Smit

Dr Smit presented her recent paper that examined the television series 40 and Single (2018), a television drama made in Ghana and distributed to global steaming audiences on Netflix. The paper, titled "African Television Drama and Postfeminism in the age of Streaming: 40 and Single", demonstrates how postfeminist discourse and narrative tropes are being harnessed in African TV shows as a way of exploring complex positionality, managing tensions among different and complex patriarchies.

Dr Julia Cain presented a co-authored paper with CFMS colleague Dr Liani Maasdorp titled “STEPS and the Generation Africa documentaries: African perspectives on the global issue of migration”. A short version of this research can be found in "The Conversation – The award-winning African documentary project that goes inside the lives of migrants".


Johanna Hoess (PhD Candidate)


Johanna presented her PhD research on gender portrayals in television commercials in South Africa and Germany. As part of her cross-cultural research, she developed a culture-specific codebook.
Soligah Solomons (MA Candidate)


Soligah presented her research which analysed the ways in which South African news media covered the COVID-19 Pandemic. Her MA thesis looks specifically at how news media interpreted the post-lockdown period within South Africa.
Deborah Aderibigbe (MA Candidate)


Deborah’s research set out to investigate how mobile money apps facilitate the maintenance of interpersonal relationships and transnational communication practices among migrant women entrepreneurs. Her research concluded that mobile money apps such as MamaMoney, MoneyTrans and Mukuru are a form of communication that are relevant and beneficial to the unbanked migrant women entrepreneurs in South Africa.
Fadiyah Rabin (MA Candidate)


Fadiyah Rabin is an MA candidate with a focus on social media research. Her first presentation, entitled Virus from the Global South, provided an overview of her MA dissertation; a comparative analysis on Twitter commentary relating to COVID-19 & China and Omicron & South Africa. Her second presentation was titled Efficacy vs Diplomacy and was based on a paper exploring Twitter commentary on the Sinovoac-Coronavac vaccine and China's COVID-19 vaccine efforts in early 2021.