Black Wednesday was not an attack on the media

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On October 19 1977, The World and Weekend World newspapers are banned by the apartheid state. Percy Qoboza, editor of The World at the time, is arrested by security police. Qoboza was imprisoned for five months under section 10 of the Internal Security Act Picture: Sowetan
On October 19 1977, The World and Weekend World newspapers are banned by the apartheid state. Percy Qoboza, editor of The World at the time, is arrested by security police. Qoboza was imprisoned for five months under section 10 of the Internal Security Act Picture: Sowetan

VOICES

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.

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