Visiting scholar: Prinola Govenden
In March, MuliLing was visited by the very inspiring and creative PhD student in Media Studies Prinola Govenden from Wits University in South Africa, through the INTPART partnership. Among other things, she helped further develop the Center's media strategies and general communications. Here is an informal interview with her.
Hello, Prinola! Could we perhaps start by finding out a little bit about who you are and what your field is?
Yes! My name is Prinola Govenden from Wits University in South Africa where I currently work for the Media Studies department as a Teaching Fellow. My research interests are media policy and regulation, critical political economy of the media, ownership, power and control, media diversity, African media systems, public service broadcasting, media transformation, and decolonizing the media. I have worked in various capacities during my career: activism, media policy, research, public relations, media and communications, and lecturer. I am also a near completion PhD Candidate in Media Studies. The title of my research is True transformation or Racial tokenism in South Africa’s print media: A critical political economy of the media analysis of the relationship between transformation of ownership and content.
It sounds like you are very interested in inequality and activism, then!
I consider myself an "Intellectual activist" as I am passionate about using academic intellect and privilege to make the struggles of the oppressed, voiceless, and marginalized visible. I strongly ascribe to the Ubuntu philosophy, one of the founding principles of democratic South Africa, and that eloquently captured one of Nelson Mandela’s greatest gifts, his recognition that we are all bound together in ways that are invisible to the eye; that there is a oneness to humanity; that we achieve ourselves by sharing ourselves with others, and caring for those around us.
Of course, here at MultiLing, your job would actually reflect upon both your concern with activism and your expertise in media work. What were your tasks at the Center, and how did you find these tasks?
I visited MultiLing for the month of March through the INTPART partnership, and worked with the Administrative Team – lead by Head of Administration Mari C. R. Otnes – on their media, communications and societal impact work. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at MultiLing. I was welcomed with great inclusion, warmth, kindness, open hearts, and made to feel right at home so much so that I hardly missed South Africa. I learnt a lot from the professional, dynamic, and considerate work culture of MultliLing and the studious work ethic that undergirds its activities.
We enjoyed having you a lot, too! If we were to talk about something besides work, what were the most surprising things you found about Norway, coming here for the first time? What did you like, and what did you not like that much?
There were stark differences I observed about Norway and South Africa, from the weather, to the unemployment rate, levels of inequality, poverty, standards of living, and modes of transport to name but a few. I was pleasantly surprised at the staff diversity of MultiLing, as I met colleagues from Turkey, Brazil, Germany, Greece, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, and Russia. I loved everything about Oslo, however, I was not a fan of the weather because I live in Johannesburg, which generally does not go below 18 degrees even in winter, but it was the first time I experienced snow, which was memorable.
Did you have the chance to experience anything outside of the Center?
I experienced a few of Oslo’s tourist attractions like the Oslo Opera house, Oslo harbour promenade, and was taken on an interesting and insightful socialist tour of Oslo by MultiLing employee Mina Finstad Berg. I also was taken to some of Oslo’s coolest hangout and eating spots, by my colleagues Malene Bøyum, André Nilsson Dannevig, Kristin Myklestu, Mina Finstad Berg, Elisabeth F. Neuhaus and Mari C. R. Otnes.
Thank you so much, Prinola! I really hope we will meet you again, either in Oslo or South Africa, and I know that the work you put in at MultiLing will be the gift that keeps on giving in the future.