ISSUE #123

US elections expose flaws in Western democracy


“The much-praised US Constitution was never primarily about protecting human rights – it was about hammering out a deal between states. This is why the presidency is about winning states and why tiny states have as many Senators as huge ones.”

Ditching toxic masculinity in favour of positive masculinity


The abuse of women in South Africa happens in the safety of the home, in places of work, at schools and more recently all over the internet - pretty much anywhere. In addition to living with the fear of death, often from an intimate partner, women in South Africa endure cat-calling and sexual harassment in the streets and at work.

Why we still need a judicial inquiry into the Cato Manor killings


“As with the TRC cases of apartheid-era crimes that are finally reaching the courts, the family of every person killed unjustifiably deserves justice one day too.”

Mellet exposes debased half-truths installed as national narrative


“One of the signal strengths of this supple book is that through considered scholarship it avoids the lazy rhetorical slide that wants to reimagine all Black figures as modern-day action heroes in historical garb.”

Power and loss in journalism in SA


“Sadly, some units of investigative journalism appear to have become involved in political factions, which enabled the loss of credibility for journalism as a whole.”

Kadaf opens up about his hit single and fighting GBV


Besides music, the artist is involved in the national gender-based #ActNow Campaign. The campaign was formed by black men who decided to take a stand against the ongoing Gender-Based Violence in South Africa.

Protests against Anti Robbery squad a watershed moment for change in Nigeria


Nollywood celebrities, musicians and Big Brother winners must speak out on the side of the people

The SABC and Democracy


Downsizing will abandon the majority in this “information age”

ISSUE #123

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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