Color TV: Postcolonial Concerns and "Colored" Television Audiences in South Africa

Shelley-Jean Bradfield


As the first postapartheid television show to exclusively address “coloreds,” Color TV, a variety comedy show, participates in the postcolonial objective of dismantling historical racial hierarchies in South Africa. Yet contradictory responses by “colored” viewers to the focus on working-class experiences expose fault lines in this democratizing project. Identity theories of strategic essentialism and creolization explain how working-class viewers embraced the realism of Color TV that they felt legitimized the significance of their role in the nation, while middle-class viewers perceived the images as too restrictive yet simultaneously identified proudly as “colored.” The uneven reception of Color TV highlights the significance of addressing intersectional identities (of race and class) in television programming to expand inclusion of minority groups in multicultural nations.


Color TV, postcolonial, colored, television, audiences, South Africa, intersectional, race, class

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