Sisanda Nkoala



I'm Sisanda Nkoala, an Associate Professor at the University of the Western Cape. The key focus of my scholarship and teaching is on the rhetoric and language of and in South African media ecologies. My work is focused on analysing how different actors within the media space use language to persuade, what they persuade us of, and how the unique characteristics of the South African context impact the rhetorical and linguistic choices. The aim is to unpack the persuasive power of media in shaping the South African narrative particularly in relation to marginalised voices, indigenous languages, and alternative media platforms and forms. This in turn has the potential to 

I hold a PhD in Rhetoric Studies from the University of Cape Town, where my research focused on the persuasive aspects of television news reports about crime and justice. My research interests are in the rhetoric and language of media ecologies in South Africa, covering topics like multilingual education, journalism education, media law, and court and crime reporting. 

 I've presented my research at international and national conferences, and published extensively in peer reviewed journals including Journalism Studies, Information, Communication & Society and International Journal of Multilingualism. I am an associate editor of the Journal of Communication Technology and am finalising a special issue as a guest editor of the African Journalism Studies journal. I have two edited book volumes published by Palgrave Macmillan on 100 Years of Radio in South Africa: South African Radio Stations and Broadcaster: Then & Now and Community Radio, Digital Radio and the Future of Radio in South Africa.

I currently serve as Vice President of the South African Communication Association (SACOMM), the Secretary General of the African Journalism Educators' Network (AJEN) and a Vice Chair of the Media Education Research stream for the International Assocation of Media and Communication Research (IAMCR). Further I am a public representative on the South African Press Council. I am also a member of the South African National Editor's Forum, the Indigenous Languages Action Forum, the US-based National Communications Association. I am on the Appeals Tribunal of the South African Film and Publication Board.

In 2023, I was awarded  the National Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences Digital Humanities Award for Best Visualisation or Infographic. I was also the recipient of the HERS-SA Young Woman Leader in Higher Education in 2023, and recognised as a 2022 Open Education Resource Champion for the South African Centre for Digital Language Resources. Further, the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport awarded me the 2023 Best Archival Researcher award.

Before joining academia I was a former award-winning journalist.

If you're interested you're interested in my research and teaching, you can find more details on my website.


Twitter: @snkoala