Re-thinking Gender in Contemporary Uganda using the Comedy of Anne Kansiime


Linda Besigiroha

Research Area:


“African women in general need to know that it’s OK for them to be the way they are – to see the way they are as a strength, and to be liberated from fear and from silence.” – Wangari Maathai

Media use in Africa is rapidly changing due to advances in telecommunications, especially mobile phones and the Internet. However, on the African continent as elsewhere on the globe, the media world is still a highly gendered one. Yet this certainly has not kept alternative views of gender from developing in the media industry to challenge patriarchal, heterosexual, “single stories” (in the words of novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie). A look at new acts on Uganda’s comedy circuits reveals that this is happening in refreshingly novel ways. The study therefore investigates women’s agency in hegemonic discourses on Uganda’s contemporary media scene by looking at how a female comedian challenges the status quo on television.

Using an interdisciplinary approach, the analysis draws both from discourse analysis discussions in the cultural studies and critical content analysis methods of media studies. This gives rise to questions related to the effects and “effectiveness” of television as a media format. Looking forward, the project also briefly considers how the Internet acts as multiplier for televised shows in the entertainment industry (i.e. YouTube and its metaphors of library, archive, a laboratory or a medium like television as described in new research, e.g. by Pelle Snickars and Patrick Vonderau).