Chapter

Surfing into Zulu

in Starring Mandela and Cosby

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780226451886
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226451909 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226451909.003.0005
Surfing into Zulu

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This chapter investigates the apartheid regime's introduction of “Black television” in the form of two new channels aimed exclusively at the growing Black middle class in 1983. The introduction of these channels, known as TV 2/3, was part of a larger attempt to develop legitimacy for the apartheid regime in the face of growing international pressure through constitutional reforms establishing a tricameral parliament with a limited franchise for Asian and Coloured South Africans. Instead, massive resistance to the tricameral parliament among all those disenfranchised by apartheid gave birth to the United Democratic Front, the mass movement that would lead the resistance to apartheid. Paralleling the failed attempt of the regime to win legitimacy through constitutional reform, the South African Broadcasting Corporation also failed to win legitimacy through TV 2/3. In spite of apartheid's ideology, which believed that only White South Africans would be interested in the “White channels” and only Black South Africans would watch the “Black channels,” interviews indicate a large amount of so-called “surfing into Zulu,” that is, channel surfing by White South Africans onto so-called Black television and vice versa.

Keywords: apartheid regime; Black television; tricameral parliament; United Democratic Front; White South Africans; South Africa; channel surfing; South African Broadcasting Corporation

Chapter.  8926 words. 

Subjects: African Studies

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