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Sanders, J. A. (1997) A struggle for representation : The international media treatment of South Africa, 1972-1979. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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Between 1972 and 1979, the politicians and officials of South Africa's Department of Information attempted to manipulate and neutralise the international media's treatment of South Africa. This programme of activity was exposed at the end of the decade in what became known as the Information scandal. Meanwhile, in Europe and North America, South African exiles and British and American citizens opposed to apartheid, campaigned under the banner of 'anti-apartheid'. Foreign correspondents in South Africa numbered little more than a dozen in 1972. By the end of the 1970s, they had become a formidable force. This expansion was directly related to events on the ground, most notably the South African invasion of Angola (1975) and the Soweto uprising (1976). The introduction of the Cold War to the southern African sub-continent transformed the nature of the international media's coverage, leading, eventually, to a greater American media presence in South Africa. The increased number of American journalists, resident in the Republic, served to expand the scope of the debate regarding the intertwining of colonialism and racism in apartheid. In general, Americans tended to represent South Africa as a metaphor for the racial problems of the United States, whereas British commentators discussed the country in the context of a decolonisation story that had somehow gone wrong. One of the most significant developments in the coverage of South Africa, during the 1970s, was the re-emergence of colonial representations of both Africans and Afrikaners. This followed the temporary' suspension of such representations in the 1960s. Despite the extensive efforts of the anti-apartheid movements and the Department of Information to influence the Stiuth African 'story', these shifts in representation appear to have originated with the international media. It should, however, be acknowledged that the British and American media's dependence on the South African English-language press remained profound throughout the decade.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 14:58

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