The apartheid censors' responses to the works of Frantz Fanon, Amilcar Cabral and Steve "Bantu" Biko

Ross, Tamlyn Sue (2013-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis explores the ways in which the censors during the apartheid era responded to the works of three black liberation theorists; namely Frantz Fanon, Amilcar Cabral and Steve Biko. Although other studies of apartheid‐era censorship have been published, this is the first to examine the censors’ reactions to the work of key African liberation writers. Apartheid in South Africa brought with it a stringent system of governance, which included a board of censors who would decide, according their interpretation of the laws of the time, whether a publication was considered to be “desirable” or “not undesirable.” One of the major themes examined in the thesis is the interface and tension between the specific and the transnational. As we shall see, all three liberation theorists put forward Pan‐African ideas of liberation, but often explicated upon the specificities of their particular liberation struggles. In a strange act of mirroring, while upholding the idea of South Africa as “a special case” (exempt from the norms of international human rights law), the apartheid‐era censors were concerned about the spread of Pan‐African theories of liberation. Beginning with Fanon, I speculate on the reason why Black Skin White Masks was not banned in South Africa, though Fanon’s later works to enter the country were banned. I also examine Gillo Pontecorvo’s film The Battle of Algiers, which was influenced by Fanon’s theories, and censorship, arguing that the “likely readers” or “likely viewers” of revolutionary material included not only possible revolutionaries, but also paranoid networks of counterinsurgency. I then move on to examine the apartheid censors’ responses to the works of Amilcar Cabral, outlining the interface and tension between local and continental as described above. The final chapter, which deals with the censors’ responses to Steve “Bantu” Biko’s I Write What I Like as well as Donald Wood’s Biko, the film Cry Freedom and other Biko related texts and memorabilia, has some surprises about the supposedly “liberal” censors’ responses to what they deemed to be “undesirable” and “not undesirable” literature.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie tesis verken die manier waarop die sensuurraad tydens die apartheidera gereageer het op die werk van drie swart bevrydingsteoretici, by name Frantz Fanon, Amilcar Cabral en Steve Biko. Hoewel daar wel ander studies oor apartheidera‐sensuur die gepubliseer is, is hierdie die eerste studie wat die sensuurraad se reaksie op die werk van sleutel‐Afrikabevrydingskrywers verken. Apartheid het ‘n streng beheerstelsel in Suid‐Afrika tot gevolg gehad wat ‘n sensuurraad ingesluit het wat volgens sy interpretasie van die toenmalige wette kon besluit of ‘n publikasie “wenslik” of “nie‐wenslik” was. Een van die hooftemas wat in hierdie tesis ondersoek word is die interaksie en spanning tussen die spesifieke en die transnasionale. Soos sal blyk, het al drie bevrydingsteoretici Pan‐Afrikanistiese idees van bevryding ondersteun, maar dikwels die besondere van hul spesifieke bevrydingstryd uiteengesit. Die apartheidera‐sensors se kommer oor die verspreiding van die Pan‐ Afrikanistiese bevrydingsteorië, terwyl hulle die idee van Suid‐Afrika as “’n spesiale geval” (vrygestel van die norme van internasionale menseregtewetgewing) voorgehou het, was ‘n ironiese spieëlbeeld hiervan. Ek begin by Fanon en bespiegel oor die redes waarom Black Skin White Masks nooit in Suid‐Afrika verbied was nie hoewel Fanon se latere werk wat die land binnegekom het, wel verbied was. Ek ondersoek ook Gillo Pontecorvo se film The Battle of Algiers wat deur Fanon se teorië beïnvloed is, en argumenteer dat die “waarskynlike lesers” en “waarskynlike kykers” van revolusionêre materiaal nie slegs moontlike revolusionêre ingesluit het nie, maar ook paranoïede netwerke van teeninsurgensie. Ek gaan voort deur die reaksie van die apartheidera‐sensors op die werke van Amilcar Cabral te ondersoek en die interaksie en spanning tussen die plaaslike en die kontinentale, soos hierbo beskryf, uit te lig. Die slothoofstuk, wat handel oor die sensuurraad se reaksie op Steve “Bantu” Biko se I Write What I Like, asook Donald Woods se Biko, die film Cry Freedom en ander Biko‐verwante tekste en memorabilia, bevat verrassings omtrent die sogenaamde “liberale” sensors se reaksies op wat hulle as “wenslike” en “nie‐wenslike” literatuur beskou het.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/80165
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