On my WatchBehind the News ~ Book I
In the Times of our Lives
“This book is suspiciously like a memoir – which I’ve always said are written by people who are losing their memories. Luckily On my Watch is filled with old notes that help. And a bad memory cuts out a lot of the important, dreary stuff that appears in autobiographies.” says the author.
Among the stories and anecdotes, however, is the cardinal issue of this book. It is the threat, not only to the press, but to your right to freedom of information. This account should remind us that the awareness and opportunity to read what you like is as jeopardised today as it was 25 years ago.
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Cross-references from specific chapters
offering more information & insights
The racist inner-war in South Africa during World War 2 has never been adequately recorded, perhaps because of its complexity. It was a racist war waged by extremists.The majority of Afrikaners sided with the Engelse in fighting on ‘England’s side’. A minority indulged in insurgency (terrorism) and sought to link with Hitler. They lost, and the extremists finally took over South Africa. It was then that racism changed its colour. This cross-reference deals with these issues.
It is an epic which is as dramatic and brave as any recorded military clash in Southern Africa’s history. It involved three stages of armed, hand-to-hand combat and months of sieges. It resulted in no less than three Victoria Crosses being awarded to volunteers involved in scaling a cliff-face on long ladders, under heavy rifle fire. It led to the death of a famous chief and many of his warriors who defied the sons of Chief of Moshoehoe… It treads on the prejudices of South Africans of all colours. Yet very few are aware of this historic ‘civil war’.
Sam Nzima’s story behind a picture. Oral history, both good and bad, paints a different picture to the one put on the record at the moment it was happening half a lifetime ago.
Where to find an adequate history of the origins and actions of South Africa’s first professional journalists, seeking to tell the truth as seen through the eyes of several different African cultures? You might begin here.
This cross-reference explains why U.S. President Gerald Ford served such a short term. He was bent on reconciliation. History is unlikely to be kind to him for this. It may even forget him. Yet it is worth considering that he should be revered for being one of world’s least ambitious, most honest and kindest leaders.
The multiple hangings in Pretoria’s goal in the 1950s, were a curse that affected the gaolers as well as the families of the men who were gagged on the gallows and left kicking on the scaffolds until dead. This South African experience of the death sentence (still sanctioned in several parts of the world) became the subject of a film released to the world in 2016.
Dr Alfred Xuma (X as in Xhosa) was the most prominent link between the founding fathers of the ANC in 1914 and later leaders of “The Struggle”. Yet he has been thrust aside by the ANC politicians, including President Zuma (Z as in Zulu).
Xuma’s role as a far-seeing leader, and his sophisticated battles with General Smuts, are crucial to SA history. This cross-reference records some of the details from Dr Xuma’s recently published papers.
If I am going to name friends as ‘heroes’ I must refer you also to the silent white journalist who sacrificed his career in protest against a newspaper proprietor who tried to destroy editorial independence.
An example reflecting some of the internal tension in the story of newspapers in apartheid South Africa.