Mthembu returns us to apartheid
IT’S amazing that ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu can display such antagonism towards the media. Sounds more like a National Party (NP) official than someone who would like us to associate him with the holy Struggle.
The media was responsible for exposing Sharpeville to the world in 1960, leading to the first arms embargo against the apartheid regime. Similarly, it exposed the Rivonia Trial in the mid ’60s.
Yes, it was antagonistic to the rise of Black Consciousness (BC) in the late ’60s portraying BC as reverse apartheid, but soon got in line following activist Onkgopotse Tiro’s explosive speech in 1972. It relentlessly exposed the South African Students Organisation-BC trial, regardless of harassment, in the mid ’70s.
Black journalism came of age in 1976 as the story’s only source of the Soweto riots as no one, except Africans, could enter the township. The World and Weekend World were at the forefront during the riots and even more so after Steve Biko was assassinated. They demanded answers about the circumstances of his death.
For that, they were shut down by the regime and their editors detained. The Sowetan was a reincarnation of The World. The East London publication, The Daily Dispatch, was similarly at the regime’s throat. Fortunately, being a white paper, the least it received from the regime’s wrath was the banning of its editor (not detention). The heat of the media led the regime to think of owning media to counteract the perceived onslaught. It got Louis Luyt to bid for the company that owned the Rand Daily Mail and when he was unsuccessful, they created The Citizen.
This was exposed – by the media – to be a fraudulent, corrupt misuse of state coffers to prop up the governing party, the NP. This is the infamous information scandal that brought down John Vorster, Connie Mulder and others. Any similarity with any incidence, past or present, is purely coincidental.
It is also surprising that the media’s role in elevating the ANC to an almost saintlike status is lost to Mthembu. The media has brainwashed the population, cleaned them of historical memory, leaving consciousness of Struggle history only as a doctored ANC story, which is killing Africanist-orientated liberation movements of their own heroics.
Media’s role in elevating ANC is lost to him