02 February 2021 | Story Dr Willemien Marais | Photo Supplied

The current issue of Communitas, academic journal of the Department of Communication Science in the Faculty of the Humanities at the University of the Free State (UFS), features scholarly articles ranging from indigenous knowledge systems for science and health communication to online discourses about male rape and the use of social media to increase social capital.  

Communitas is a nationally accredited, open-access academic journal publishing scientific articles in the context of community communication, information impact and related disciplines, including corporate and marketing communication, development and health communication, media studies, and journalism.

These articles address real-world challenges in the field of communication, as well as the impact of communication and information in developing societies, including Southern African communities. While the articles range in focus from global participation to area-specific issues in remote rural areas, they all highlight areas or aspects that form part of or contribute to the rich tapestry of the Southern African communication landscape, thus contributing to African knowledge creation.

Interdisciplinary experts write on real-world issues 

In the latest issue of Communitas, Dr Anton Binneman and Dr Corne Davis write about the use of indigenous knowledge systems for science communication in the context of the Square Kilometre Array radio astronomy project, while Lesego Radebe et al. investigate how traditional folk media can be used to convey diabetes mellitus messages at public health-care services. 

In an article by Dr Tsitsi Mkomde and Dr Estelle de Beer, nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) can benefit from their analysis of the communicative decision-making processes used by corporates to make decisions about funding NGOs and other donor recipients. In another NGO-related article, Prof Retha de la Harpe presents a conceptual model for NGOs and volunteer-based organisations to use data generated by an online platform to understand the invisible user.

For marketers and brand communicators, Dr Abyshey Nhedzi provides valuable insight into improving brand-linkage effectiveness for consumers from an African perspective, while Vuyelwa Constance Mashwa et al. focus on the consumer’s perspective in their article on the use of fictional spokes-characters in brand advertisements and communication. 

The increased focus on pro-environmental reputations by consumer brands and how this is reflected in South African print media, provides marketing-communication practitioners with guidelines to distinguish between types of green advertising, as identified by Prof Angelique van Niekerk and Dr Marthinus Conradie. Dr Patrick Mupambwa and Prof Norman Chiliya look at factors that influence the adoption of an e-marketing orientation among Zimbabwean churches. 

Heterosexual responses to lesbian and gay-themed advertisements are the focus of an article by Nkosiville Welcome Madigana et al., while Dr Karabo Sitto and Prof Elizabeth Lubinga analyse online discourses on gendered myths, risks, and the social amplification of male rape. 

With an increasing number of digital natives joining social media and the growing popularity of influencer culture, Dr Stenford Matenda et al. are looking at young people’s use of social media to increase social capital.  An article by Dr Mvuzo Ponono investigates the implications of current debates on fake news for South Africa and how we understand these insights in the context of histories of conflict and high inequality. Dr Ponono is a lecturer in Communication Science at the UFS. 

*Communitas uses a continuous publication (CP) model and authors are invited to submit manuscripts online or email the Editor-in-Chief, Dr Willemien Marais, at maraisw@ufs.ac.za for assistance. The journal is one of the accredited journals of the University of the Free State. Visit the Kovsie Journals webpage for more information. 

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