SABC pays tribute to Zwelakhe Sisulu


Sisulu led the SABC from October 1994 until June 1998, under the guidance of the late Dr. Ivy Motsepe-Cassaburi, who in her own right was the SABC’s first female Board Chairperson.


This was an exciting time in the history of not only the SABC, but the country as a whole. The country was coming out of the Apartheid Era, and the SABC had the daunting task of transforming the broadcaster to fit with the times. This is the time, which the corporation took a turn from being a state broadcaster, into a public broadcaster with a focus on the public’s needs, wants and aspirations.


In 1994, Sisulu led the organisation as it covered its first democratic elections. According to then Independent Electoral Commission Chairperson, Justice Kruger “without the SABC’s contribution, South African would not have been able to share in the greatness of the event and the task of the IEC would have been far more difficult, if not impossible”.


It was during this time that South Africa’s favourite soapie, Generations was first broadcast. It was the first locally produced multilingual and multi-cultural soapie, amongst other programming achievements.


The vision under Sisulu was to make the SABC a financially viable and self-sustaining organisation. This was achieved in the 1994/95 financial year, when the SABC achieved a surplus of R100, 7m, without any state funding.
We as the SABC say Lala Ngoxolo, your legacy lives on!

Transformation on the airwaves was also taking place, as previously banned documentaries such as ‘The search for Sandra Laing’ and Biko-the Spirit Lives’ were broadcast for the first time during the 1994/5 year.


In delivering on its new role as a public broadcaster, the SABC under Sisulu covered the community elections, the Truth Commission as well as Parliamentary sittings in 1996. It also made a concerted effort to increase local content and broadcasting in all eleven official languages. 


Many operational changes during this year were geared towards establishing the SABC as an independent, credible public broadcaster, which served the needs of all South Africans, in a fair and equitable manner. In 1996, the SABC’s television channels also saw a major overhaul, and were renamed to SABC 1, 2 and 3. The content on the channels also reflected the new South Africa in all its diversity.


Another key milestone was realised in 1997, when the organisation unveiled its new corporate identity. The new design and outcome of the logo, was a four year long process, which had the public’s involvement, in picking a logo, which reflected the new South Africa.


As Sisulu ended his tenure at the SABC, he left an organisation, which was focused on the many possibilities in the broadcasting industry, locally and globally. He left an organisation which was committed to the upliftment and development of the local production industry, with a soft spot for social responsibility through supporting community-based organisations with free airtime.


We as the SABC say Lala Ngoxolo, your legacy lives on!


Source: SABCNews

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