Civil Society’s Care and Creativity in South Africa’s Covid storm
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Covid-19 amplified the seismic rumblings of South Africa’s divided society. Out of the limelight and away from corruption scandals, a vast network of civil society organisations mobilised as the pandemic approached. They harnessed the thunder, directing attention to people who are usually not seen or heard – compelling the nation to take a long, hard look at itself.
Television came late to apartheid South Africa. By the early 1980s the state-owned broadcaster was ready to expand the network to include the black majority. There were sound economic and propagandist reasons for this. Msibi was among those recruited to be trained as technicians, journalists, and cameramen. The irony was that this enterprise coincided with the sustained popular uprising that finally led to the end of white minority rule. So the new generation of black television journalists went back into their own townships and ‘homelands’ to record, like no-one else could, the rising resentment and the reciprocal repressions that characterised large swathes of the country in the 1980s and early 1990s.