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Friday, 05 March 2021

Thuthuka Grant Award for emerging academic

Department of Media Studies lecturer, Dr Adelina Mbinjama-Gamatham, has been awarded a Thuthuka Grant for 2021 which will further her research in the field of cyber-ethics.

The grant is not the only feather in the academic’s cap – she is the author of four book chapters published in 2021.

According to the National Research Foundation the Thuthuka Funding Instrument aims to develop human capital and to improve the research capacities of researchers and scholars from designated groups (Black [African, Indian and Coloured], female or persons with disabilities) with the ultimate aim of redressing historical imbalances.

“I am extremely happy to receive this grant for 2021 because it reaffirms that my research project meets Thuthuka’s transformative research agendas. I am also grateful for the grant because it will help me keep to my research focus and support me in producing research outputs tailored towards my research theme on cyber-ethics,” she says.

“Since a Master’s student is attached to the project, I have faith that the grant will help in kickstarting and completing her treatise timeously with the extra resources made available from the funding. I also know that the student will benefit from being exposed to presenting at a national or even an international conference. Applying for the grant has helped me think through some possible research areas and I now have a strategy. During this period, I know things will be difficult, but I  firmly believe in the ‘you reap what you sow’ metaphor and am looking forward to seeing what results emerge from my collaboration with my master’s student under the NRF’s Thuthuka Grant.”

Mbinjama-Gamatham’s project is titled: The Effects of Cyber-Ethics among Digital Marketers: A Case Study on Black SMEs in South Africa in the wake of Covid-19. 

“The study aims to explore the ethical and moral experiences of 12 digital media marketers or social marketers from black-owned Small- and Medium-Size Enterprises (SMEs) in South Africa during the wake of COVID-19. To explore what these businesses are doing to reach their markets and to ascertain what informs their choices and decisions, six managers from these businesses will also be interviewed.”

The project emanated from her doctoral work.

“After completing my Master’s, (resulting in a peer-reviewed paper) which centred around investigating social media as a dimension of the social identity formation among black female adolescents, ‘cyber-ethics’ sprung out to me.  I wanted to further my studies and I knew from the beginning that I wanted to tackle a research topic that would have ‘legs of its own’ and lead me to see opportunities for further research, especially within the African context.”

The title of her PhD was: “An investigation of the question of cyber-ethics in social media-communications within selected South African NGOs”.  

Her co-authored paper with Honorary Professor Bert Olivier entitled ‘Dark Technology’, Aggressiveness and the Question of Cyber-Ethics, was recently published in the journal Acta Academica.

The four recently published book chapters that she authored relate to social media, black feminism and the representation of women in the media. They are:

  • #BlackGirlMagic: How to Get Away With Murder Is Not Evil in Dilan Tüysüz’s International Perspectives on Rethinking Evil in Film and Television.
  • “The R. in R’nB”: Rape, Race and Representation in Surviving R. Kelly’ in Maria Marron’s Misogyny across Global Media.
  • ‘Shonda Rhimes’s Grey’s Anatomy and My Year of Saying Yes to Everything’ in LaToya T. Brackett’s Working While Black: Essays on Television Portrayals of African American Professionals.
  • ‘Black Woman: High-Powered but not Balanced in Shondaland’ in LaToya T. Brackett’s Working While Black: Essays on Television Portrayals of African American Professionals.

Mbinjama-Gamatham holds a DPhil in Media Studies from the Nelson Mandela University, where she worked as a Communications Lecturer from 2009 until 2017. During this period, she also served as the institution’s Head of Department of Public Relations and Communication Studies 2013-2014 and was appointed Acting Head of Department from June 2017 to September 2017 until her family relocated to Cape Town. 

 Her research interests are in social media-communications, cyber-ethics, black feminism and representation of women in the media.

Written by Ilse Fredericks


Provides coverage for the Health and Wellness Sciences and Informatics and Design Faculties.