Durban – As thousands of students graduate in the next week and a half at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, one of the more notable ones will be house musician Holly Wasserfall or more popularly known as “Holly Rey”.
The Durban born artist is known for songs like ‘Deeper’, ‘Joy’, and ‘You’ which feature on many local radio stations. Wasserfall graduated with an Honours degree in Media and Communication, cum laude on Monday.
Her research project focused on decoding gender inequality on popular South African telenovela uZalo. The show which is based in Durban is one of the most watched in the country. Wasserfall said uZalo was interesting in that the show started with two male-headed households but ended up with women heading them.
“It is important to understand how these encoded messages of empowerment are decoded by audiences, to understand whether or not they are facilitating or challenging the gender-based inequalities prevalent in society; and as a result empowering women,” she said.
On her graduation, the 23-year-old said she was excited about graduating as it had been the result of hard work she had put in the past year. Wasserfall said it was sometimes hard to balance studies and her music career but that she was only able to pull through due to making time to study and asking for advice from her lecturers.
Wasserfall said while conducting the research she gained a deeper understanding of Zulu culture and female identity and that uZalo could be a strong agent for social change.
She also learned about how the effect the media could have on people can be either positive or negative. Wasserfall said she planned to focus on her music career this year, but also had an eye on continuing her studies up to doctorate level in the near future.