Returning to our roots: looking at Date My Family through an African conceptual lens
Keywords:Date My Family, Reality television, Performativity, African communitarianism, Black Twitter, Social media communication, Media studies, Ubuntu, Digital village
Viewers of reality dating shows on television have found a platform on Twitter to change the manner in which they consume the content of the shows. Audiences of the South African show Date My Family (DMF) use this social media platform to express their views and value judgements about the show and in particular about the performances of those seeking love on the show. The traditionally private act of courtship in an African context is reimagined in the manner in which audiences in these shows have brought the scrutiny of a private act into the public realm. Through an analysis of what was arguably one of the most noteworthy episodes of DMF (featuring Mdu Nyoni), and subsequent value judgements by viewers on Twitter, this article argues that there is nothing inherently surprising about the seeming shift of power to the audience in authenticating contestant performance on South African reality dating shows, and that is in essence an act of a traditional village digitally re-imagined.