PRESS POLITICS, CLASS AND CONTESTED NOTIONS OF THE PUBLIC: THE AFRICAN DAILY NEWS’ COVERAGE OF THE RAILWAY STRIKE AND THE BUS BOYCOTT OF 1956

Sylvester Dombo

Abstract


This article examines the African Daily News’ coverage of two key events that took place in 1956 in Southern Rhodesia; the bus boycott (in Salisbury) and then the railway strike (in Bulawayo). These two events took place in September 1956. The article discusses the relationship between the social movement leaders who instigated the railway strike and the bus boycott by examining its content: news coverage,editorials, and letterstotheeditor. The two events under discussion and the way the newspaper covered them brought to the fore the conflict between African elites as leaders of trade unions and African elites as journalists at the newspapers; as well as ordinary readers (publics) and the colonial government. The article discusses the multiple layers of interest in the story coverage, its impact on politics as well as the interests of the different classes affected. It argues that the African elites and the colonial government sought to use the press to control the African readers and shape their politics through the press. This article focuses on the formative years of the African Daily News. I intend to answer a number of specific questions: What was the aim of this newspaper? Who were the proprietors of the newspaper? Whose voice did it project? What political stance did the newspaper take and how did the various stakeholders react to this? These questions help to account for the manner in which the African Daily News covered the two key events in the country during this period

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5789/10-1-263

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