ISSUE #67

Jansen is leaving UFS with ‘mixed emotions’


Freedom Day: The good, the bad and the invisible


Today we celebrate our 22nd Freedom Day since the system of apartheid was stopped in its tracks. We never want to go back there, to have to endure its oppression, inhumanity and extreme violence. Back then, the challenges appeared straightforward: Put an end to the monstrous system and replace it with a non-racial democracy. In […]

We have a WINNER on Freedom Day


Salvaging moments with oil, charcoal and metal: The art of Banele Njadayi


Year of Chinua Achebe’s ‘A Man of the People’


Panama Papers: the nuts and bolts of a massive international investigation


Professor of Journalism, Cardiff University

Veteran journalist joins Wits Journalism as adjunct professor


Lessons of Fees Must Fall


Call for reconstitution into Free Education Movement

The Indian press: A proud history in South Africa


UHURU Now: The Trouble with ‘Transformation’


I imagine that, at the dawn of democracy, those who conjured up the ‘rainbow nation’ dream also envisioned transformed tertiary institutions. I am sure that as they huddled around round tables strategising about what this ‘transformation’ would entail, and how best to introduce specks of colour into previously white South African tertiary institutions, while declaring […]

Violence, nakedness and the discourse of #RUReferenceList


‘Anger is borne from a place of genuine pain’

UHURU Now: A deeper look at the university graduation


Quest to produce decolonised spaces

UHURU Now: Decolonising the teaching of economics in South Africa


Curriculum does not speak to country’s reality

UHURU Now: De-skilling and the Tertiary Sector


Graduates should value both theoretical reflections and practical application

ISSUE #67

Welcome to the World Press Freedom Day edition of The Journalist


As the world marks the 30th anniversary of the World Press Freedom Day, The Journalist is going back in time in search of the African journalists who gifted the world the Windhoek Declaration back in 1991.

This year’s theme “Information as a Public Good” resonates with The Journalist’s work, whose online platform thejournalist.org.za has been committed to recording African media pioneers. We dug into our archives to find stories that highlight journalism forebears of the late 19th and 20th centuries without whose advocacy and agency, media freedom would have not been possible.

In this special edition we bring you a background story on how the Windhoek Declaration of 1991 came about. You also get to read narratives of the trailblazers in journalism.

Allan Kirkland Soga was many things – politician, lawyer, visionary but most importantly, an agitator of African protest journalism. His editorship at Izwi Labantu and activism amplified the movement towards liberating Africans.

Then we have two historians who met over a cup of strong coffee at an Ethiopian eatery in the Mother City to discuss Malawi’s Clements Kadalie’s writings – the first trade unionist whose organising work spread across Southern Africa.

South African literary giant Sol Plaatje, a linguist who translated William Shakespeare’s works into Setswana, was not only revered as a journalist extraordinaire but also an African intellectual, thinker, writer and politician.

Nigeria’s first president Nnamdi Azikiwe, like his peers used the might of the pen to fight colonialism for economic socio-political liberation of his people, before he ventured into political leadership.

Hilary Teague is being celebrated as the father of Liberia’s independence through the American Colonisation Society (ACS). The pioneer of Liberian media, he held the editorship at the Liberia Herald which he used to champion the liberation cause of his people.

Apollonia Mathia is described as the rock of Sudanese journalism who fought tirelessly before South Sudan’s liberation from the Khartoum regime. Defying the odds in the turbulent post-conflict region for a free media, she advocated for women’s voices to be heard.

Helen Nontando “Noni” Jabavu was the first black South African woman to publish autobiographies. She had a stint as a radio host for the BBC before taking up a position as editor of Britain’s The Strand Magazine.

Founder and financier of Abantu Batho newspaper, Swazi Queen Mother Labotsibeni Mdluli understood the power of the printed word and ensured that staff members reported on bread-and-butter issues affecting the Swati people.

Sophia Yilma Deressa, an Ethiopian media legend once incarcerated without trial, had her parents imprisoned and her husband executed under the Derg regime. But this did not deter her as she continued civic activism until independence.

Happy reading.


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