Reimagining South African political campaigns through indigenous language posters in the 4IR: A political communication perspective


How to Cite

Reimagining South African political campaigns through indigenous language posters in the 4IR: A political communication perspective . (2023). Communicare: Journal for Communication Studies in Africa, 42(1), 52-63.
  • Articles
  • Submited: August 5, 2022
  • Published: July 21, 2023


This study sought to explore how the Fourth Industrial Revolution tools or platforms such as digital media technology, social media, and the internet are employed to publicise indigenous language posters for political election campaigns in South Africa. The study was underpinned by a theory of communication in political campaigns to ascertain the importance of communication or linguistic features in political campaign posters. A phenomenological qualitative research method and exploratory research design were employed to address the research problem and objectives of the study. Furthermore, a semi-structured interview was used to collect data from 10 purposively selected respondents. The collected data were thematically analysed to identify, describe, and explain the major themes and sub-themes that emerged. The study established that the previously disadvantaged and marginalised South African indigenous languages were seriously underutilised for political election campaign posters on social media platforms by various South African political organisations. Therefore, the article recommends that, in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, for political parties to participate in the development, preservation, digitalisation, and promotion of these indigenous languages, they should strive to use and post on social media accounts political election campaign posters that are written in the various South African indigenous languages.



  1. Amenyeawu, B.E. (2021). Social Media and Political Campaign Communication in Ghana. MSc Dissertation, Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts.
  2. Asrini, H.W. (2019). Language semiotics of campaign banners and billboards of legislative candidates in Malang. Advances in Social Science, Education and Humanities Research, 3(4): 217-220.
  3. Atul, K., Richa, D., Shikhar, T., Atul, G. & Nakul, G. (2020). Role of posters in enhancing HIV/AIDS Awareness. Journal, Indian Academy of Clinical Medicine, 21(4): 164-69.
  4. Beard, A. (2000). The Language of Politics. London: Routledge.
  5. Bhattacherjee, A. (2012). Social Science Research: Principles, methods, and practices. Florida: Creative Commons.
  6. Cassels, M. (2019). Indigenous languages in new media: Opportunities and challenges for language revitalization. Working Papers of the Linguistics Circle of the University of Victoria, 29(1): 25-43.
  7. Chew, K.A.B. (2021). #KeepOurLanguagesStrong: Indigenous language revitalization on social media during the early COVID-19 pandemic. Language Documentation and Conservation, 15(1): 239-266.
  8. Creswell, J.W. (2009). Research Design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed method approaches. London: Sage Publications.
  9. Cristobal, J. (2022). Graphic and textual elements of selected political campaign posters: A stylistic analysis. American Journal of Arts and Human Science, 1(2): 46-51.
  10. Cru, J. (2015). Language revitalisation from the ground up: Promoting Yucatec Maya on Facebook. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 36(3): 284-296.
  11. Danziger, J.N. (1998). Understanding the Political World: A Comparative Introduction to Political Science. Pennsylvania State University: Longman.
  12. Davis, N. (2016) What Is the Fourth Industrial Revolution? World Economic Forum: Geneva, Switzerland, 2016: p.11. Available from: (Accessed on 5 May 2022).
  13. Dawson, C. (2002). Practical Research Methods: A user-friendly guide to mastering research. United Kingdom: How To Books.
  14. Denter, P. (2014). A theory of communication in political campaigns. Report No. PBSGP1-135426. University of St. Gallen, Zürich.
  15. Esser, F. & Strömbäck, J. (2012). Comparing election campaign communication. In: The Handbook of Comparative Communication Research, pp. 289-307. Edited by Frank Esser and Thomas Hanitzsch. New York: Routledge.
  16. Fanoro, M., Božanić, M. & Sinha, S. (2021). A review of 4IR/5IR enabling technologies and their linkage to be manufacturing supply chain. Technologies, 9(7): 1-33.
  17. Fox, C.A. & Menchik, J. (2011). The politics of identity in Indonesia: Results from political campaign advertisements. Paper presented at the APSA 2011 Annual Meeting, Seattle, March 31 - April 3, Seattle, USA.
  18. Janulienė, A. & Cibulskienė, J. (2014). Politics, Text, and Ideology: What is implied by the use of language? Vilnius University. Available from:
  19. Jensen, K.B. (2002). A Handbook of Media and Communication Research: Qualitative and quantitative methodologies. London: Routledge.
  20. Jimaima, H. & Banda, F. (2019): Selling a presidential candidate: linguistic landscapes in a time of presidential elections in Zambia. Social Semiotics, 1(1): 1-18.
  21. Kalsoom, T., Ramzan, N., Ahmed, S. & Ur-Rehman, M. (2020). Advances in sensor technologies in the era of smart factory and industry 4.0. Sensors, 2(1): 67-83.
  22. Lirola, M. (2016). Multimodal analysis of a sample of political posters in Ireland during and after the Celtic Tiger. Revista Signos: Estudios de Lengua y Literatura, 49(91): 245-267.
  23. Manheim, J.B. (2011). Strategy in Information and Influence Campaigns. How Policy Advocates, Social Movements, Insurgent Groups, Corporations, Governments, and Others Get What They Want. New York: Routledge.
  24. Mawela, T. (2021). The role of language in the 4th industrial revolution. Research Repository, Academy of Science of South Africa, 1(1): 1-6.
  25. McGinnis, D. (2020, October 27). What is the Fourth Industrial Revolution? Available from: (Accessed: 09 July 2022).
  26. Mhlanga, D. & Moloi, T. (2020). Covid-19 and the Digital Transformation of Education: What Are We Learning on 4IR in South Africa? Education Sciences, 10(2): 1-11.
  27. Mhlongo, L. (2021). A critical analysis of South Africa's system of government: from a disjunctive system to a synergistic system of government. Obiter, 42(2): 257-274.
  28. Moll, I. (2022). The Fourth Industrial Revolution: A New Ideology. TripleC, 20(1): 45-61.
  29. Patrut, M. & Madalina, M. (2013). The political poster: An advertising tool on Facebook. Proceedings of International Conference SMART, 2013, Bacau, Romania. Social Media in Academia: Research and Teaching. ISBN 978-88-7587-686-9: 231-236.
  30. Petrocik, J. (1996): Issue Ownership in Presidential Elections, with a 1980 Case Study, American Journal of Political Science, 40(3): 825-50.
  31. Remi R.A. & Ojukwu, C.C. (2013). Language of political campaigns and politics in Nigeria. Canadian Social Science, 9(3): 104-116.
  32. Riker, W.H. (1996). The Strategy of Rhetoric. Connecticut: Yale University Press.
  33. Russmann, U. (2012). Going negative and going positive: Political parties’ communication strategies in election posters, campaign advertisements, and press releases during the 2008 Austrian National Election Campaign. Journal of Political Marketing, 16(2): 95-117.
  34. Schwab, K. (2016, January 14). The Fourth Industrial Revolution: What it means, how to respond. Available from: (Accessed, 09 July 2022).
  35. Schwab, K. 2016. The Fourth Industrial Revolution. Geneva: World Economic Forum.
  36. Sharndama, E.C. & Mohammed, I. (2013). Stylistic analysis of selected political posters and slogans in Yola Metropolis of Adamawa State of Nigeria. Asian Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 1(3): 60-68.
  37. Sontag, S. (1999). Posters: Advertisement, Art, Political Artifact, and Commodity. New York: Allworth Press.
  38. South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) Editorial Policy (2020). Available from: (Accessed, 30 June 2022).
  39. Stier, S., Bleier, A., Lietz, H. & Strohmaier, M. (2018). Election campaigning on social media: Politicians, audiences, and the mediation of political communication on Facebook and Twitter. Political Communication, 35(1): 50-74.
  40. Strömbäck, J. & Kiousis, S. (2011). Political public relations. Defining and mapping an emergent field. In: Political Public Relations. Principles and Applications, pp. 1-32. Edited by Jesper Strömbäck and Spiro Kiousis. New York: Routledge.
  41. Strömbäck, J. & Kiousis, S. (2014). Strategic political communication in election campaigns. In: Political Communication, pp. 109-128. Edited by C Reinemann. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.
  42. Stromberg, D. (2008): How the electoral college influences campaigns and policy: The probability of being Florida. American Economic Review, 98(3): 769-807.
  43. Tasah, N.J. (2021). The Role of Posters Written in Indigenous Languages in Disseminating Health-Awareness Information within the Far North Region of Cameroon. European Scientific Journal, 17(33): 181-197.
  44. The Republic of South Africa. (1993). Interim Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Act 200 of 1993. Government Gazette Vol. 378, No. 17678. Pretoria: President’s office.
  45. The Republic of South Africa. (1996). Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Act No. 108 of 1996. Government Gazette Vol. 378, No. 17678. Pretoria: President’s office.
  46. United Nations report (2017). Language rights of linguistic minorities: A practical guide of implementation. Shutterstock: Geneva.
How to Cite
Reimagining South African political campaigns through indigenous language posters in the 4IR: A political communication perspective . (2023). Communicare: Journal for Communication Studies in Africa, 42(1), 52-63.

Send mail to Author

Send Cancel

Custom technologies based on your needs

  • Crossref
  • PubMed
  • Clarivate