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The Centre for Communication, Media and Society (CCMS) is the Southern African region's premier graduate research and educational unit in media studies. The unit consists of both graduate and undergraduate components. The staff, research and publications of CCMS are internationally renowned and read, and its leading staff members have been visiting professors in a variety of universities allover the world.

CCMS was established after the Soweto uprising of 1976, in order to develop strategies of cultural resistance through media and culture. The aim of CCMS was to teach critical media and cultural studies and to actively contribute to political change from inside the anti-apartheid coalition then known as the Mass Democratic Movement. Staff and students set out to develop theories and strategies to enable grassroots empowerment and local media and cultural development projects.

CCMS offers courses of an interdisciplinary nature, calling on contributions for the faculties of Humanities, Social Science, Science, Architecture and Education. Graduates find employment in a wide range of professions including:

  •     Non-government or community-based organisations
  •     University-based education, research and consultancy
  •     Film industry
  •     Television and radio broadcasting
  •     Marketing and market research
  •     Journalism
  •     Community development

With the advent of democratic political processes in South Africa, CCMS has shifted its emphasis to policy research and development support for communication projects, in the context of reconstruction and policy studies. This requires working as critical consultants for the state and parastatal corporations, commissions and task groups, as well as the progressive business sector. CCMS also engages in major research projects, development projects, conferences and media production.

  • Honours Applications Now Open!

    Honours Applications Now Open!

    [30-Sep] Dear Cultural and Media Studies students You've worked hard and now you want work. Well here's the bad news: A primary degree is not enough! You need postgraduate qualifications to make it in the media industry.

    Read More

  CCMS Alumni Talk
  •  Looking back on my MA now I am very thankful that I was able to pursue research into the topics that really interested me at the time. It has really informed my thinking and this, together the rigors of academic discipline have stood me in good stead in subsequent years.
    Thanks for allowing me to pursue my somewhat esoteric subject matter and to undertake the difficult task of running the GDTV broadcast. These events have shaped my life and enabled me to make an impact on the media landscape in South Africa.
    Mike Aldridge 9 April 2014 Cape Town TV
  •  "... when you get a degree from CCMS you know that you earned your stripes and can go toe to toe with the best in the industry!" Richard Delate (Hons, MA)
    Country Programme Director, Communication, Johns Hopkins Health and Education SA; previously
    Advocacy and Media Advisor, UNAIDS Eastern and Southern Africa.
  •  "We are happy to have been groomed by CCMS. Everything we learnt in every module fits the bigger puzzle in the working world" Lunga Memela (Hons)
    Journalist, Corporate Relations, University of KwaZulu-Natal
  •  "I chose to pursue my postgraduate studies through CCMS after reading an article (on the SABC) authored by Prof. Ruth Teer-Tomaselli in 'Media,Culture & Society' in 1995, while a 'fresher' at University College Falmouth in the UK " René Alicia Smith (CCMS MA and PhD graduate), 14 Dec 2011
  •  I always look back on my time at UKZN and in CCMS where we were given a solid grounding in critical theory and an ability to apply the 'shop' skills of journalism or media production. Anyone can learn to write an article, but to identify your role within society, how the text impacts on the lives of its listeners or readers and having the ability to communicate the message coherently is key. I think people who made an effort in their studies and participated in the various CCMS programmes are able to do just that.
    Shaun Ryan, CCMS BA(Hons) MA graduate, East Coast Radio, 22 Dec 2011 
  •  The past 3 months in the UK where I‘m doing my MA have flown by. While I'm studying an environmental degree, many of the scholars and theories we cover here are ones I was first introduced to at CCMS: Freire, Latour, Giddens, work on self-reflexive research, indigeneity, cultural globalisation, social constructivism ... so my time at CCMS has prepared me very well for a Master of Science degree. The work experience I received at CCMS has also been invaluable in helping me with my writing and research, as well as my editing and project-management skills. So I will always be grateful for the foundation that CCMS has given me! Sertanya Reddy CCMS Hons (2009), 14 Dec 2011
  •  "What I value as an outcome of Kate Finlay's project is the fact that we, as a commercial business responsible for managing, marketing and operating a community-owned facility, have been able to benefit from the academic research she has undertaken by evaluating her findings and considering these when redeveloping our marketing materials and strategy.
    "This is precisely what I had hoped for when Keyan and I first discussed the concept of UKZN's CCMS unit undertaking various research projects around !Xaus Lodge - that research could be applied in a beneficial way to a practical situation and not simply remain within  the covers of a book!! Glynn O'Leary
    Transfrontier Parks Destinations

Research in the Kalahari:

Shanade Barnabas, CCMS doctoral candidate 

Researching in the Kalahari since 2008, Shanade Barnabas, 28, also served as a key instructor and Afrikaans translator at centre workshops there. As an undergraduate, she thrived on familiar English Studies and Media. As a master’s student, “providential stumbling” led Barnabas to the unfamiliar: the visual. Now she welcomes the “safe space” of the nonstop Kalahari and CCMS’ weekly Research Day, both offering enough collegiality and confidence to make her “quite formidable” at recent academic conferences in Dublin and Prague. No desert ascetic, Barnabas emerged from days of solitary writing ready to connect. Though she claimed not to dance, she found herself doing just that, tugged into the frenzy at Andriesvale’s community center. Why, she asked, is the desert such an adventure?  Because “the Kalahari allows me to be me.”

School of Applied Human Sciences 

University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Howard College, Durban

Degrees Offered: Honours, Masters and PhD 

Copyright Notice

The documents located on these pages are copyrighted in terms of South African law.   They may of course be cited and quoted for bona fide academic use.  The reader will be able to determine the nature of assessment, as  published articles are reprinted here with permission; others are original unrefereed edited entries, and the remainder are theses and dissertations, all of which have been subjected to rigorous examination processes.

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