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.
Special Projects Editor for The Journalist.