The Space of Newspaper Cartoons in Mediating Social-Cultural and Political Reality in South Sudan


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships


Journalism and Communication


This study interrogates how editorial cartoons in two South Sudan daily newspapers, The Monitor and The Dawn, present the social-cultural and political narratives that have under-girded the violence the young nation has experienced since independence in 2011. Using the theory of semiotics developed by Ferdinand de Saussure and expounded by Roland Barthes, the study probes selected newspaper cartoons as literary tropes used to explicate the written narrative on the complex social-cultural and political issues of nation building. Whereas cartoons in general rely heavily on semiotic systems, newspaper cartoons are often a commentary on the topical issues covered in texts within the publication. In that respect, the study proposes Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) as a framework to interrogate the cartoons as referential or affirmational forms of the ethno-political strife that has characterized the country; but also how they present aspirational narratives of community and the hope for a better future.