Citizen Engagement in Print Media A study of SMSes published in The Namibian

Main Article Content

Alexandra Tjiramanga
Selma Mwaetako


This paper explores the content and communication acts of text messages in the form of SMSes written by Namibian citizens and published daily under “What you’re Saying!” in The Namibian. Its main aim is to provide insights into the realities of the population at grassroot-level, which are brought to light via the medium of the newspaper. Using the theoretical framework of Medium theory and theory of Cultural Hegemony, this paper argues that citizen engagement via SMS discloses how  public communication contributes to press freedom, problem solving and nation-building in Namibia. The “What you’re saying” platform enables alternative and activist citizen participation in the discussion of their choice. This study used 286 SMSes to identify areas of concern of Namibian citizens. The study’s objectives were to presents issues, such as eduation, health, or service delivery  directed to entities in the public and private sector, Further objectives include sub-themes, and communication acts, such as criticism, information-giving, complaint, suggestion, question, request, review and praise. The analysis discusses frequency of keywords in relation to the themes and sub-themes used. The findings are related to services and governance. Another feedback mechanism might be required to show responses to legitimate concerns.

Article Details

How to Cite
Tjiramanga, A., & Mwaetako, S. (2023). Citizen Engagement in Print Media: A study of SMSes published in The Namibian. NAWA Journal of Language and Communication, 16(2), 91–107.
Author Biographies

Alexandra Tjiramanga, Namibia University of Science and Technology

AlexandraTjiramanga is a lecturer in the Department of Communication at the Namibia University of Science and Technology.  She has an M.A.Phil. from Karl-Franzens University, Austria). She obtained several online certificates from the University of London, University of Oregon and NUST. She is a curriculum developer and teaches undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the areas of Mediation Communication, Technical and Business English, Communication for Specific Purposes, for the Bachelor of Communication programme.  Her research interests are online education in HE, corporate communication, Namibian literature, and the Herero Genocide and she has published several papers in peer-reviewed journals and books.  

Selma Mwaetako, Office of the Judiciary, Government of Namibia

Selma Mwaetako holds a Bachelor of Honour’s Degree from the Namibia University of Science and is a candidate for the Master’s Degree in International Relations at the International University of Management. She currently works at the Ministry of gender Equality, Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare as a PR officer. Her experience encompasses the banking sector, Communication and Digital Content Creation, she is a mainstream media and digital communication expert and co-author of the poetry book Rhythm of a rising fog.



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