The media’s role in exposing the atrocities of the apartheid regime and fuelling its global condemnation is not in dispute. However, it is naive to assume that Black Wednesday was an attack on the media. It was the regime’s failure to contain the insurrection that erupted in Soweto in June 1976 that prompted it to ban publications.
Sixteen months later, Soweto was still in a state of unrest, heightening white society’s fears over a looming “swart gevaar [black danger]”. So it was “die nuwe swart gevaar” and not a robust, fearless media that prompted the apartheid regime to ban the Black Consciousness movement and its 18 affiliates.