The Language of the African National Congress

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This book demonstrates that there is more to language than its formal structural features and, similarly, more to language function than its communicative and naming function.

A critical analysis of national election manifestos of 1999, 2004 and 2009 of the African National Congress (ANC) - the ruling party in South Africa (SA) - reveals that linguistic devices, strategies and techniques are used to build up affinities between the ANC and the reader/listener with respect to the achievements of the ANC-led government, what work still needs to be done and to position the party's vision as one shared by all South Africans; to foreground the ANC as the organization which not only brought freedom to SA, but singularly led the struggle for freedom and change; to background and omit other political formations and the role they played in this struggle; and through statistics, figures, inter-textuality and inter-discursivity, to bestow the ANC with a systematic and scientific gravitas.

All of these symbolic devices contribute to a discourse which functions to position the ANC as more fit to govern South Africa than other political formations.

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