The rise to power of the White National Party in South Africa under president D.F. Malan marked the beginning of the apartheid era—an amalgamation of the racist and settler-colonialist sentiments that had long been rooted in their sociopolitical landscape. With white supremacist ideals at the core of the apartheid leaders’ efforts, the BIPOC communities of South Africa suffered abhorrent abuses of an oppressive regime characterized by socioeconomic and geographical segregation of races. Apartheid leaders, despite the highly evident corruption of their administration, made a valiant effort to justify their regime so as to maintain their power. In doing so, they employed numerous channels of disinformation campaigns to disseminate particular narratives about the apartheid, while also suppressing any forms of media on the contrary. This essay will take a methodological, critical approach within disinformation studies to gain insight into the disinformation architecture that served as the foundation for the decades-long apartheid era. I will then connect these themes to the broader theories of political communication and systemic oppression, which, in tandem with disinformation, plagued South Africa and enabled these systematic abuses to take hold so vigorously. My work aims to take a more nuanced and critical approach to the study of apartheid South Africa and disinformation in the context of historical racism, while also being marked by a fervent commitment to the fight for social justice and equity in the milieu of humanities research.
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DeFino, Iris, "Colonialist Disinformation in Apartheid South Africa" (2022). Research Days Posters 2022. 52.