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Culture & Religion

What 40 Years of Television Says about South Africa’s Past, Present, and Future

Yusuf Omar of eNews Channel Africa reports that there are over 1 million more televisions in South Africa than refrigerators. But now, more South Africans rely on newer means of accessing media.

What’s the Latest?


Yusuf Omar of eNews Channel Africa reports that there are over 1 million more televisions in South Africa than refrigerators, per a recent survey. If you click the link above you’ll be able to access a video of Omar recounting a brief-but-enlightening history of television in the country. Notable facts:

  • January 5, 1976 – the first day of broadcast television in South Africa, about 40 years behind the rest of the world
  • Television was banned by the National Party during the 1960s due to its potential to spread Communist ideals.
  • A nation-wide switch from analog to digital is forthcoming, though it’s running behind schedule.
  • What’s the Big Idea?

    From an analyst’s perspective, the way Omar presents himself in the video speaks to a sort of meta understanding of the subject matter. Omar exudes hip and modern. He sports a bowtie and tux combo out of an 80s prom photo yet wears it casually. He addresses the audience in a way that reveals an understanding of the relationship between he and the viewer — a sort of meta-journalism. You could say he evokes something of a hipster Edward R. Murrow.

    And that’s notable because Omar spends a good chunk of the video analyzing how changes in the ways South Africans access content signals a passing of the torch between television and the internet. A nation that wasn’t allowed to watch the lunar landing now stands on the precipice of a giant media shift. Omar presents (and represents) the idea ably enough.

    Read more at ENCA. Be sure to watch the video.

    Photo credit: michaeljung / Shutterstock


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