Matau Setshase
PhD Student
Media Studies

Matau Setshase (she/her) is pursuing a PhD in Media Research and Practice in the College of Media, Communication and Information. She holds a Master of Theology in Religious Studies, a Bachelor of Arts Honors in Philosophy, and her first degree is Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies. She has worked as a tutor and academic assistant in philosophy, managed a bookstore, been in publishing, as well as a junior researcher at the University of Free State in South Africa.

Matau’s academic interests lie in epistemology, mean-making, decoloniality, indigeneity, indigenous knowledge, and communication and media studies. In her dissertation, she focused on decolonial discursive formations of indigenous knowledge systems in South Africa. She theorized that there were significant actors of power that rendered indigenous peoples vulnerable and a primitive other and ruptured their knowledge cultures to be both a subjugated and resisting kind of knowledge. This knowledge is primarily held by the houses and practitioners of indigenous knowledge including Sangomas and Dingaka. As a trained traditional healer herself, Matau is currently interested in the ways in which South African media represents traditional healers. She has hermeneutic suspicion that their representations are a fetishization and (an)othering toward the imperatives of the (neo)colony. She proposes that this may have meaning for African philosophies of media and communication.