From the book: Black ViewPoint by Ndebele, Ndamse, Buthelezi, Khoapa

IT IS SIGNIFICANT that in a country peopled to the extent of 75% by blacks and whose entire economic structure is supported and maintained, willingly or unwillingly, mainly by blacks, we find very few publications that are directed at, manned by and produced by black people.

Black Viewpoint is a happy addition by the Black Community Programmes to all those publications that are of great relevance to the black people. Our relevance is meant to be in the sense that we communicate to blacks things said by blacks in the various situations in which they find themselves in this country of ours. We have felt and observed in the past, the existence of a great vacuum in our literary and newspaper world. So many things are said so often us, about us and for us but very seldom by us.

This has created a dependency mood amongst us which has given rise to the present tendency to look at ourselves in terms of how we are interpreted by the white press. In the process, a lot of us have forgotten that the values and attitudes of newspapers are governed largely by the values and attitudes of both their readership and of their financial supporters - who in the case of the white press in South Africa, are whites. Therefore, when we read of a report of any speech or incident which focuses on blacks, we usually find it accompanied by interpretative connotations in terms of stress, headlines, quotations and other journalistic nuances, that are calculated to put the report in a particular setting for either consumption or re­jection by the reader.

One must quickly add that the moral of the story is not that we must therefore castigate white society and its newspapers. Any group of people who identify as a unit through shared interests and aspirations necessarily need to protect those interests they share. The white press is therefore regarded by whites as doing a good service when it sensitises its own community to the 'dangers' of Black Power. After all no white man is wanted outside the laager when the rest of the white society is facing the illusionary swaart gevaar that only exists in the minds of the guilt-stricken whites. Perhaps only very few whites would not want to be in the laager.

No, the real moral of the story therefore can only be that we blacks must on our own develop those agencies that we need, and not look up to unsympathetic and often hostile quarters to offer these to us.

In terms of this thinking, therefore, Black Viewpoint is meant to protect and further the interests of black people. We do not intend to venture beyond this. We shall not serve as an exclusive mouth­piece for any particular section of the black community but merely to pick up topics as they come and as they are dealt with by blacks in various situations.

In the present issue we focus attention on four addresses delivered by blacks in different situations. By juxtaposing these articles in this issue we hope to reflect the broad spectrum now to be found in our society both in terms of the different stresses we lay in the definition of our problem - the white problem - and in the mooted solutions that all four speakers touch briefly on.

We hope this will generate a good response amongst those who read it.