Today, 13th October 2009, I called Siki Mgabadeli’s SABC radio show when she hosted Shaka Sali of Voice of America News between 9.00hrs to 10.00hrs. Sali was talking about negative coverage of the African continent. I called the show after the 9.30hrs news headlines and went through. The gentleman who answered the phone asked me my name, telephone number and where I was calling from. He apparently took down my details and said he was going to call me back but he never did. After about 15 minutes I called again and my call rang and rang and went unanswered. I repeated the futile exercise about four times until the show ended. If this isn’t censorship then I don’t know what it is.
The question is, should the public broadcaster do what private radio stations like Radio 702 does? Radio 702 did exactly that to me several times. One time I wanted to challenge Hope Papo of the ANC, who during a talk show said that journalists at journalism schools were not being taught to portray Africa in a positive light. Whose role is it to develop a curriculum that teaches African reality? Is it not Papo’s ruling ANC? In fact, as Sali pointed out, teaching positively about Africa should start at kindergarten, then primary and to high school and not at journalism schools.
Tertiary institutions should buttress what has already been taught at formative years. The minds of young people are shaped at the formative stages as the Setswana idiom points out, “Lore le ojwa le sa le metsi”. The likes of Papo find it easy to point fingers at others while his ANC is failing to at least acknowledge the role the PAC and BCM played in our struggle for liberation.
During Mgabadeli’s show on South African people’s identity, Papo agreed with the white person who was a guest on Mgabadeli’s show that we didn’t have a national identity and that we had multiple identities. If a person thinks we don’t have an identity as a nation, then s/he won’t do anything for African culture and history and should therefore not be gleeful about Africa’s glorious past because s/he doesn’t understand that when we speak about culture, we talk about language, history and self-consciousness.
If charterist imposters suppress the glorious history of the PAC and BCM, like the colonizers suppressed the glorious history of the African people, why should they celebrate the glorious history of Africa? The history of the PAC and BCM is part and parcel of the history of the African continent.
By Sam Ditshego