Generation, South Africa’s longest running and most popular soap (viewed by many more than 4.9 million people daily) tracks the vicissitudes of black business people in the advertising and marketing fields. The show confronts the problems which arise from the post-1994 changes in social milieu (especially among the younger generation) via a fairly standard family saga: themes of co-option into white capital, loss of concern for roots, gender discrimination, homophobia in the light of cultural expectations and so on play out against a backdrop of love, life, power, greed etc.

We re-watch Generations, from the first episode that aired on SABC 1 in 1994 to the present, exploring the character development, the fashions, the lifestyles and the underpinning ideology, to understand and interrogate its role in sustaining social-political life and relations, and in constituting the social-political self in post apartheid South Africa.

Visit the Generations website (for blow by blow summaries of each episodes)

Academics love the show:
Mediating the Neoliberal Nation: Television in Post-Apartheid South Africa by Sarah Ives
An analysis of South African television’s political economy as a “public theaters of late capitalism” that is tied up with notions of national belonging.

Making meaning, making a home: students watching Generations by Catherine Mary O’shea June 2004

and Watching Soap Opera by Miki Flockemannn in Senses of Culture : South African Culture Studies by Sarah Nuttall, Cheryl Ann Michael (Oxford University Press, 2000)

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