Mthembu re­turns us to apartheid

The Star Early Edition - - INTERNATIONAL - Dr Kenosi Mos­alakae

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


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