A South African Censor’s Tale

Kobus van Rooyen

Under the leadership of Kobus van Rooyen, phenomenal steps were taken towards freeing South Africa from the clutches of apartheid censorship of books, films and public entertainment.
Date Published :
March 2012
Publisher :
Protea Boekhuis
Language:
English
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Paperback
ISBN : 9781869194154

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In stock
$30.00

Overview
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Kobus van Rooyen was the Chairman of the Publications Appeal Board from 1980-90. Under his leadership phenomenal steps were taken towards freeing South Africa from the clutches of apartheid censorship of books, films and public entertainment. Earlier banned books such as Magersfontein o Magersfontein! (Leroux), Looking on Darkness (André Brink), Lady Chatterley’s Lover (DH Lawrence), Portnoy’s Complaint (Roth) were all unbanned. The absolutist approach of cutting films to pieces was replaced by age-restricted films where adults were trusted to see the original product – therefore, films such as A Clockwork Orange and Jesus Christ Superstar were passed. The book also addresses why The Last Temptation of Christ did not pass in 1989 and was indeed permitted to be broadcast in 2008 – both under his chairmanship - and what ultimately happened to Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses. Ultimately the paradigm was shifted completely in films and publications regulation in the eighties: from no to yes, from distrust to trust, from fundamentalism to realism, from despotism to democracy. This book is autobiographical, sketching the delights of freedom of expression in the 1980s in an informal and often humoristic style; of course, also with the pains which it brought to the personal life of the author, when he and his family personally suffered at the hand of rightwing elements for the passing of the Attenborough film, Cry Freedom.

REVIEWS
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"A member of several print and broadcasting standards boards at various times, Van Rooyen describes the different stages that the Appeal Board went through after it was formed in 1974 to buffer the different approaches to protecting public decency by the South African Supreme Court and the censorship Board established in 1963. Among his topics are moral clampdown 1963-75, the scope of nudity in the 1980s, religious fervor ignored 1980-89, the end of an era 1990, and freedom 1994-2011."

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