Addressing the annual dinner of the American Press Association in 1914 John Swinton, editor of the New York News said “There is no such thing as an independent press in America. Not a man among you dares to utter his honest opinion. We are the tools and the vassals of the rich behind the scenes. We are marionettes. These men pull the strings and we dance. Our time, our talents, our lives and our capacities are all the property of these men – we are intellectual prostitutes.” I am asking my countrymen and women who are journalists if they are like the way John Swinton describes them in the foregoing lines or different? They must search their souls and be honest. Are they proud of their reportage vis-à-vis the wretched of the African continent?
Both print and electronic media must do some introspection especially the public broadcaster, South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC). The Sowetan and Mail & Guardian are trying but can do better than they are currently doing. Motsweding FM’s Sekolo Sa Bosigo (Night School) also called Kgogamasigo hosted by Goitsemodimo Seleka is doing exceptionally well and I take my hat off for Mr. Seleka. It is about time that we tell inconvenient truths. Important news stories that never saw the light of day in all the publications and SABC television and radio are mentioned in the paragraphs that follow.
Pam Golding’s company owns prime land in the Cape sea coast which the majority of the indigenes will only dream of owning. The West continues to suck our country dry of its minerals while the majority of the African autochthonous population wallow in poverty and are destitute while there is an ostentatious display of opulence by the noveau riches.
South Africa has been a neocolonial state since its inception in 1994. The white minority government could stand up to the West like in 1983 when PW Botha declared a moratorium on World Bank and Internal Monetary Fund (IMF) debts. The current neocolonial ANC government however agreed to pay an odious debt which China repudiated in 1949 on the basis that the previous regime that incurred the debt was illegitimate. There was a precedent set that the South African neocolonial state could have emulated after the ANC came to power through a rigged election.
Some African countries like Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Sudan and Madagascar are leasing vast tracks of land to Asian countries such as South Korea and China for agricultural purposes and for bio fuels. The new leader of Madagascar however cancelled the land deal that his predecessor had entered into with Daewoo Company of South Korea. Very recently Israeli jet fighters bombed northern Sudan under the pretext that Sudan haboured Al Qaeda cadres. A small country like Israel can bomb an African country without any consequences and the media fails to report about such a flagrant violation of Africa’s territorial integrity.
South Africa is being used as a gateway to invade other African countries with the dangerous genetically modified organisms which threaten to pollute our natural seeds to make us dependent on Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) thus posing a danger to our food security. But these are issues that do not make it in this country’s reportage. Instead tons and tons of ink and broadcast time are wasted on gobbledygook.
The media should educate the hoi polloi about the impending danger that is about to befall them instead of spending an inordinate amount of time reporting about every little thing that the ANC does, to lament or rejoice over Congress of the People’s (COPE) problems, to harp on the time consuming polemics of both the ruling party and official opposition which result in the polarisation between the Democratic Alliance (DA) and ANC while ignoring former liberation movements like the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) and Azanian Peoples Organisation (AZAPO). The PAC and Azapo will get the usual crappy and scant coverage again towards the 2014 general elections.
By Sam Ditshego