Barry Streek (on the right) shaking hands with then president Nelson Mandela.
30 August 1948|
[Pietermaritzburg [Kwazulu Natal]], South Africa
|Died||21 July 2006
Kenilworth, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
|Occupation||journalist, author, parliamentary media manager|
Early life and education
Barry Streek was educated at Michaelhouse in Kwazulu-Natal after which he completed his national service in the South African Navy in 1966. At the time national service was mandatory for all white males of a certain age in South Africa. From 1967 to 1970 Streek studied politics and law at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, while contributing to the Daily Dispatch and other publications.
At Rhodes he joined the anti-apartheid National Union of South African Students and was involved in many anti-apartheid activities at the university for which the then South African government later put a banning order on him. It was revealed in later years that the police special branch, with direct assistance from the university, had compiled a substantial file on Streek's anti-apartheid activities. While at Rhodes Streek also worked for the local committee of Helen Suzman's Progressive Party.
After graduation in 1971 Streek assumed duty as secretary-general of the National Union of South African Students in Cape Town. In July he issued a circular to the executive members of NUSAS describing the development of the post-1953 imposition of university apartheid based on a letter written for the annual student assembly in July 1968. By 1971 black tertiary students in South Africa were isolated and, some might say, offered at best a mediocre parody of a university education, on ethnically segregated campuses which deprived them of regular contact with South Africans whose ethnicity, and even mother-tongue, was different from theirs. These were the so-called 'tribal colleges'. With Streek's prompting, NUSAS was seeking to raise the awareness of its predominantly 'white' membership of the conditions under which other South Africans lived and studied while at university, a necessary strategy since students belonging to different 'population groups' were effectively barred from one another's campuses.
As a journalist for a number of South African newspapers Streek was known for detailing and exposing the negative impact of the apartheid government.
In 1984 he founded the Social Change Assistance Trust (SCAT), a non-profit organisation that works to assist and help develop poor rural communities in South Africa. SCAT's mission was, and still is, to assist rural communities in improving their quality of life and living standards. SCAT's focus is on human rights, gender and racial equity, as well as local economic development in the poorest communities of South Africa, which also tend to be predominantly black communities, was not popular with the apartheid government of South Africa.
Career as a journalist
25 years of Streek's long career as a political journalist was spent in the Parliamentary Press Gallery in Cape Town. For most of this time Streek worked for South African Associated Newspapers which at the time included the Cape Times, the Eastern Province Herald, the Rand Daily Mail, the Sunday Express, and the Sunday Times. Streek was, at different times, chairperson, vice chairperson and president of the Cape Town Press Club. He became Parliament's media manager in 2001 before returning to the press gallery as a correspondent for the Mail & Guardian newspaper. After which he became editor-in-chief for publishing house Jonathan Ball.
He died after an 18-month battle with brain cancer in 2006. In March 2006 SCAT renamed SCAT House, the organisation's headquarters in Cape Town city center, Barry Streek House and initiated a series of awards in honour of him. The Cape Town Press Club initiated a scholarship for people from previously disadvantaged backgrounds to study journalism at Rhodes University.
List of books
- Render Unto Kaiser: A Transkei Dossier. Ravan Press. 1981. ISBN 0-86975-206-5.
- The Rural Crisis in South Africa: Some Issues. SALDRU, School of Economics, University of Cape Town. 1984. ISBN 0-7992-0840-X.
- "Colleagues pay tribute to journalist Barry Streek". Mail & Guardian. Retrieved 2006-06-21.
- "Farewell to 'good guy' Barry". IOL News. Retrieved 2006-07-22.
- "Skeletons in the Rhodes Cupboard: What Should Be Done about Them?" (PDF). African Sociological Review (CODESRIA). Retrieved 2005-01-09.
- Streek, Barry (28 July 1971). "Letter from Barry Streek, Secretary General, NUSAS, to NUSED Executive and others". Retrieved 2010-08-08.
- Leon, Tony (8 August 2013). "Tony Leon salutes Barry Streek". Cape Times. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
- "SCAT TRUSTEES: Barry Streek". Social Change Assistance Trust. Archived from the original on 30 August 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-08.
- Orford, Margie (2004). Rural Voice: The Social Change Assistance Trust, 1984-2004, Working in South Africa. Cape Town: David Philip, Publishers. pp. 7,8. ISBN 0864866658.
- "Barry Streek Memorial Bursary". Cape Town Press Club. Retrieved 2010-08-08.