Broadcasting Ambivalence: South Africa’s Radio RSA on African Independence and Udi in Rhodesia

Somerville, Keith (2017) Broadcasting Ambivalence: South Africa’s Radio RSA on African Independence and Udi in Rhodesia. Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, . ISSN 0143-9685. E-ISSN 1465-3451. (doi:10.1080/01439685.2017.1300408) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Abstract

This paper focuses on the launching of South Africa’s external radio station, Radio RSA, and analyses the ways in which its early broadcasting content re?ected the National Party government’s desire to tell the world its side of the story when it came to apartheid and regional policies. The launch was announced on 27 October 1965, with broadcasts starting soon after and being expanded over the next year. The launch preceded by 15 days Rhodesia’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence to throw off British control and establish a white minority state with severely limited political and civil rights for the black majority. South Africa supported the Smith government politically, economically and ultimately militarily, but was deeply ambivalent about UDI and tried to maintain a neutral public, diplomatic stance and even when it sent paramilitary police units to support the Rhodesian army ?ght Zimbabwean guerrillas, it refused to accord of?cial recognition to the Rhodesian regime. This ambivalent policy was re?ected in the content and tone of broadcasting by Radio RSA. A large part of the station’s role was to project South Africa’s voice into Africa, Europe and North America and combat what the South African Government said were inaccurate African, European and American views on the policy of separate development and to project an image of a South Africa as a bulwark of Western civilisation holding back the tide of what it labelled communist-inspired black nationalists. Examination of Radio RSA’s broadcast will reveal the combination of subtlety and crudity in the policies of South Africa and its propaganda aimed at external audiences, with particular reference to its coverage of the early years of UDI and its attempts to use the cold war to garner Western support.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1080/01439685.2017.1300408
Uncontrolled keywords: Radio RSA, South Africa, Rhodesia UDI, African independence, radio propaganda, propaganda
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DT Africa
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > Centre for Journalism
Depositing User: K. Somerville
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2017 12:05 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 18:53 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/61131 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Somerville, Keith: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9768-6894
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