In previous studies (Wasserman 2012, 2013 and 2015) it was found that within the BRICS alignment, the South Africa–China relationship is the one that received most media attention. Content analyses over a number of years had indicated that China received the biggest amount of coverage in the South African media, followed by India. These previous analyses also found that coverage of the China–South Africa relationship has been cautiously optimistic over the past number of years, perhaps mostly because coverage has tended to frame China’s involvement in Africa in economic and political terms. Previous exploratory interviews with journalists (Wasserman 2014) had indicated that while journalists were not unequivocally positive about the South Africa – China relationship, they recognize the importance of providing coverage to this geopolitical alignment. Some indication was also found that journalists started using Chinese media (especially Xinhua) as sources for their own understanding of the SA-China relationship. Some reported that exposure to these media helped them form a more nuanced understanding of China’s involvement on the continent and South Africa’s place on the BRICS group.

At the same time, South African media have also been impacted upon by unfolding geopolitical relationships. The South African media company Naspers, for instance, has benefited greatly from its investment in the Chinese internet platform Tencent (Peacock 2014), while the recent purchase of Independent Newspapers by the Sekunjalo group has raised controversy partly because of the stake owned by a Chinese consortium (Harber 2013).

References in this page

  • Harber, A. (2013). China’s soft diplomacy in Africa. Ecquid Novi: African Journalism Studies, 34(3), 149–151.
  • Wasserman, H. (2012). China in South Africa: media responses to a developing relationship. Chinese Journal of Communication, 5(3), 336–354.
  • Wasserman, H. (2013). China in Africa: The implications for journalism. Ecquid Novi: African Journalism Studies, 34(3), 1–5.
  • Wasserman, H. (2015). South Africa and China as BRICS Partners: Media Perspectives on Geopolitical Shifts. Journal of Asian and African Studies, 50(1), 109–123.