Black Wednesday Edition

As South Africa commemorates the 44th anniversary of this day – October 17, 1977 – which, in history became a dark spot and a reminder to reflect on how freedoms of expression were trampled upon, violated and suppressed by the apartheid government, this edition examines where we are today and where South Africa needs to be, looking into the future as we guard against tampering with all freedoms provided for in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights, including the media’s.

The Journalist team has put together this Black Wednesday edition, first and foremost, to gather a sliver of distinctive voices that have been working towards contextualising the importance of creating the spaces to narrate our stories with broader more inclusive lenses.

This edition is not confined to journalism as the only conduit to truth-telling but it also extends to the literary critical works that situate the plurality of realities in the public sphere, thereby enriching the public discourse. Four media practitioners – Frank Meintjies, Shepi Mati, Zubeida Jaffer and Phindile Xaba – share a forward looking statement to open up a platform for engagement, while Meintjies, Vusi Mchunu, Sabata-mpho Mokae, Dr JJ Tabane, Sylvia Vollenhoven, Jaffer and Ylva Rodny-Gumede, Colin Chasi, and Mvuzo Ponono add their voices and share their works.

Meintjies writes on Can Themba’s craftiness to converge reporting and creative writing to highlight the plight of the marginalised and oppressed, Mchunu emphasizes the grandeur in ourselves while Mokae’s Sol Plaatje – a writer as the righter of past (mis)representations – is a take on his novel Mhudi that took a decade to be published and challenged the status quo to give this piece of literature a feminist voice in the protagonist’s character. Then there is Sylvia Vollenhoven, whose excerpt from the book Rethinking Africa: Indigenous women reinterpret Southern Africa’s pasts, writes us back into history while the prodding research work of Tabane’s PhD thesis interrogates the role of players (media and government)  in the public sphere and the cause of the tensions between them.

Rodny-Gumede, Chasi, Jaffer and Ponono share the yet-to-be published book Decolonisation of Journalism in South Africa: Critical Perspective pointing out the importance of a university curriculum reflective of its environment.

This is our offering and much more for this issue.

Phindile Xaba

Special Projects Editor for The Journalist.

More stories in Issue 126

THESIS Of – Onkgopotse JJ Tabane

BRIDGING THE GAP: AN ANALYSIS OF THE COMPLICATED RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN GOVERNMENT AND THE MEDIA 23 YEARS INTO DEMOCRACY Download the full paper on this link: 77X OJJ TABANE FINAL THESIS AS OF 25 APRIL 2020 (1) (2) (1)

Mancoba in a class of his own

Phindile Xaba The late Ernest Mancoba, painter and sculptor, should be to South Africans as Van Gogh is to the Dutch and Picasso is to the Spanish.  He, like others, have for too long been excluded from the South African narrative. He is considered to be in a class of his own and yet his […]

Towards a new national narrative

Shepherd Mphofu and Zubeida Jaffer South Africa’s transformative national narrative sprung from the intellectual strata.  Way back in 1911 a South African lawyer, Pixley ka Isaka Seme, delivered a lecture that gave intellectual stimulation to the decolonisation process. Seme’s address was part of a cultural and intellectual movement of writers, artists, religious and political leaders […]

Decolonising Journalism Education

Ylva Rodny-Gumede, Colin Chasi, Zubeida Jaffer and Mvuzo Ponono These calls are not new. However, at the birth of South Africa’s democracy in 1994 they slipped into the background, as the word “transformation” became the dominant focus of the discourse. There was no widespread effort to place the issue of “transformation” into the historical context […]

Rediscovering grandeur in ourselves

Vusi Mchunu The carnival takes place in the streets. Dance is a celebration of form over fixity, a momentary triumph over gravitational pull, a symbolic conquest of gravity. In the vein of Afro-Brazilian capoeira, it becomes an anti-oppression martial art-cum-dance sequence. Motion is inherent in change, growth and development in nature and nurture. Orature is […]

Politics and Media Freedom

Dr. Onkgopotse JJ Tabane The tension that is alive between media and the government is caused by wrestling for either to be dominant over the other, to control the national narrative and the public sphere agenda. While South Africa as a country has come a long way since the dark days of apartheid where the […]

Black Wednesday Edition

As South Africa commemorates the 44th anniversary of this day – October 17, 1977 – which, in history became a dark spot and a reminder to reflect on how freedoms of expression were trampled upon, violated and suppressed by the apartheid government, this edition examines where we are today and where South Africa needs to […]

The history of SA’s Media Freedom Day

Ongeziwe Babane and Phindile Xaba On this bleak day, then apartheid state minister Jimmy Kruger clamped down on the media leading to the closure of The World and Sunday World, and the Christian Institute’s publication Pro Veritate that was edited by anti-apartheid activist and Dutch Reformed Church clergyman Beyers Naudé. Percy Qoboza, who was at […]

Media Freedom Statement

Zubeida Jaffer, Shepi Mati, Frank Meintjies and Phindile Xaba Known as Black Wednesday, the day has appropriately become the official South African Media Freedom Day. On that day in 1977, the whites-only racist government banned 19 Black Consciousness Movement organisations and detained scores of activists. It further closed The World and Weekend World newspapers and […]

Writing Ourselves Into History: The liberating narrative of who we are

Sylvia Vollenhoven “We are discouraged from taking history or politics too seriously and pushed towards the titillation of crime, sport and frivolity. The confines of being blinkered in this stifling box is a fitting metaphor for where we find ourselves in the 21st century. Our story is still controlled too often by bourgeois economic interests […]

Sol Plaatje – a writer as the righter of past (mis)representations

Sabata-mpho Mokae He added that he was looking for a publisher. Mhudi was only published ten years later, in 1930. Now, a century later since Plaatje sat down in the cold concrete jungle of London, England, to write this novel, Mhudi is as relevant now as it was back then. Many readers in many parts […]

Can Themba­­ – A form of self-liberation

Frank Meintjies Themba’s life testifies to a commitment to both journalism and creative writing, even though his gainful employment was squarely in the sphere of journalism and, at certain points, teaching. In one sense, educated black people in the 1940s and 1950s faced extremely limited employment options and we thus can’t deduce much from their […]

Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter and get notified of new issues.