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False Piety
A Just Society
The Rule of Law
Possibilities I
Possibilities II






24"x 56"    Triptych     Oil on Canvas   (2002)                                                                                      $2485


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The Media

In South Africa, between 1950-1990, there were more than 100 laws affecting media operations.  These ranged from blatant prohibition of publications to the threat of prosecution for printing or broadcasting statements considered subversive.

The media generally reacted with a policy of appeasement through the use of self-censorship and thus provided a cloud of cover for the implementation of apartheid. The South African Broadcast Corporation (SABC) an exclusive source of radio until the 1980’s was essentially a tool of the Nationalist government.

“... news bulletins maintained and cultivated a mindset....that apartheid was natural and inevitable.  They cultivated a war psychosis in which human rights abuses could take place.”   

Professor John van Zyl, testimony. TRC, Special Hearings, Final Report, 1998.

In the print media, the English language press represented the capitalist perspective with debate on white sectarian politics. Independent black, liberal, socialist or communist publications were either banned or closed down due to pressure.  When township editions of the English language press evolved, initially  there were white editors who projected their perceptions of what they believed blacks should read.  Later these changed to black management and staffing. 

“Is silence from that quarter to be construed as consent, conceding that it (the Afrikaans press) was a sycophantic handmaiden of the apartheid government?”

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Chairperson, TRC, Special Hearings, Final Report, 1998.

“They can protest as much as they want, but one truth remains: until the last few months of P.W. Botha’s term as State President, Afrikaans newspapers never opposed the Nationalist Party or their security forces
on any important issue.”
 Max du Preez, former editor, Vrye Weekblad. Testimony to TRC, Special Hearings. Final Report, 1998.


Health Care

“The idealogy was such that it was regarded as completely normal not to give black people  the same services as whites and to treat black people as second class citizens.”

    Written testimony by the SA Department of Health to TRC,  Special Hearings, Final Report, 1998.

The SA Department of Health testified to the following:  how segregation of health care facilities was enforced and funds allocated in a racially biased manner.  Hospitals and ambulances were assigned to specific racial groups.  Even in an emergency situation, if an ambulance of the ‘ wrong’ racial group was closer to an incident, the patient had to wait until an ambulance designated to serve his/her racial group reached the scene.  The facilities of whites were superior with respect to technology; sanitary conditions; supplies; the ratio of patients to health care workers and doctors, and the expertise of the staff and
their training.

        TRC Special Hearings, Final Report, 1998.


With respect to mental health care, a Euro centric paradigm was used and no use of indigenous healing systems or cultural understanding was employed.  African culture was marginalized.

The Medical Association of South Africa which had 14,000 members, mostly white compiled a document: ‘Children in Places of Detention
: A Code for their Handling’.  The National Medical and Dental Association formed in 1982 as an alternative medical association arising out of the Biko case implemented a ‘Free the Children’ campaign.  While the latter abhorred the concept of detaining children, the former was trying to find ways to make it more acceptable.

        TRC Special Hearings, Final Report, 1998.


The Medical Services division of the South African Defense Forces testified to the following: That torture was routinely used to extract information from the enemy and the medical staff were expected to treat the injuries.  The medics were often forced to violate international and local standards of the medical profession and standards of human rights.  Forensic specialists used their expertise to falsify information or to disguise the cause of death to exonerate the security police from blame. In addition, medical staff advised on methods to break down prisoners’ resistance such as when a victim was at breaking

        TRC Special Hearings, Final Report, 1998.

In 1985 per capita expenditures on health care were: R451 on whites; R249 on Indians; R245 on coloureds; R115 on blacks.  Compensation for doctors varied by race as did their vacation time; pensions; benefits; and housing subsidies.  Doctors who were appointed to government hospitals had to be approved by the Department of Health and a position could be denied based on the doctor’s political activities.      

TRCSpecial Hearings, Final Report, 1998



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