South Africa: Freedom of Expression and Assembly Is Here, but With Definite Limits


April 2019 marks the 25th anniversary of South Africa's official transition to a democracy. Twenty-five years into the democratic era, we look at how far we've come and how far we still have to go. In the first article of this series, freedom - of artistic expression, of political association, of the media - is in the spotlight.

Award-winning South African playwright Mike van Graan helped to shape South Africa's first post-apartheid policies relating to arts and culture.

Twenty-five years ago this year, Van Graan was appointed as a special adviser in the department of what was then Arts, Culture, Science and Technology. Today, he is still active in the realm of arts policy, serving as president of the African Cultural Policy Network.

Looking back on then and now, Van Graan describes the last 25 years as a "mixed trajectory" when it comes to conditions for artists in South Africa.

"On the matter of publicly-funded institutions, we have gone backwards to the apartheid era where politicians appoint boards and the chairpersons of boards of publicly-funded cultural institutions," Van Graan told Daily Maverick this week.

"The first five years of the 'New South Africa' were different. Boards were appointed through more...

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