Alternative media in South Africa
South Africa has a long history of alternative media. During the eighties there was a host of community and grassroots newspapers that supplied content that ran counter to the prevailing attitudes of the times. In addition, a thriving small press and underground press carried voices that would not have been heard in the mainstream, corporate media. Pirate radio projects operated by Caset were the forerunners of the country's community radio and small pamphlets and samizdat were included in the mix.
The advocacy journalism of early activist titles were in stark contrast to the complacency of the country's large media houses.While many of the counterculture titles associated with the apartheid struggle no longer exist, there has been a resurgence of alternative media and the small press after a period of decline, notable for the fact that large corporates absorbed many of the so-called "struggle" journalists and mopped-up small publishing houses. These media projects involve multi-media as well as electronic journalism. Only time can tell whether or not, today's alternative media will regain some of the glory of the past.
However, there are many who criticise what they call a lack of real alternative media in South Africa.
- Varsity (Cape Town) (1942-)
- Die Suid-Afrikaan (1983-1996)
- Grassroots (1980-1990)
- Kagenna (1989-1993)
- New Era
- New Nation (1980-1997)
- South (1987-1994)
- Weekly Mail (1985-1993)
- Vrye Weekblad (1988-1994)
Since the end of Apartheid, there has been a dearth of alternative media in South Africa as most of it got incorporated into mainstream corporate media as well as government and political party organising. Some of South Africa's largest social movements and other activist organisations have an online presence of alternative blogs and activist websites. According to the social movements, the importance of these alternative media sites are that they provide a way for 'poor people to speak for themselves'. These include:
- Abahlali baseMjondolo, the shackdwellers movement has the following website: www.abahlali.org
- The Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign in Cape Town
- The Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front produces Zabalaza: A Journal of Southern African Revolutionary Anarchism as well as a newsheet called Zabalaza News.
- Khayelitsha Struggles
- Mandela Park Backyarders
- South African Civil Society Information Service
- Amandla! Magazine
- Skawara News
Television and video
- "What’s wrong with the alternative media in South Africa?". The Killing Train. 2005-07-11.
- "Khayelitsha’s shackdwellers march and speak for themselves!". Anti-Eviction Campaign. 2008-10-20.