Stratcom: What was it and why are South Africans talking about it?

Stratcom: What was it and why are South Africans talking about it?

- Since the death of struggle icon, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, social media has been abuzz with reactions to some startling revelations

- This week, #Stratcom trended, because of its role in spreading fake news and propaganda during apartheid South Africa

- In the documentary, Winnie, it was revealed Madikizela-Mandela was the target of many of the agency's false reports

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After Winnie Madikizela-Mandela died last week, there's been a wave of documentaries and old interviews coming to light, which portrayed a much different Winnie than South Africans have come to know.

For the first time, Mam Winnie's struggles have been revealed to the world and Saffas are demanding answers as to why it's only coming to light now.

Last week, a new hashtag trended alongside Mam Winnies on Twitter. Stratcom is the talk of the town.

Since her passing, #Winnie has been trending on Twitter, but on Wednesday, the hashtag was the top trending topic on the social media platform. This, because the nation was watching the 2017 documentary, Winnie, on eNCA.

In the documentary, it explains how WInnie was bashed in the apartheid media. According to the film, it was all thanks to a state agency called Stratcom.

READ ALSO: Does Winnie deserve to be honoured with her own day like Mandela Day?

Briefly.co.za learned that in the film, it's not just Madikizela-Mandela talking about what happened, but apartheid security operatives also tell the camera about the work they did.

What was Stratcom?

Stratcom was an apartheid government agency specifically tasked to create and carry out disinformation campaigns.

According to a report by The South African, these campaigns included propaganda, fake news as well as smear campaigns against those fighting against apartheid.

Where does Madikizela-Mandela fit in with Stratcom?

Stratcom targeted Madikizela-Mandela in several of its smear campaigns.

Vic McPherson, Stratcom boss and former Security Branch operative, has publicly admitted in the film that he had numerous journalists on his payroll to write negative, false or exaggerated stories about Madikizela-Mandela.

In the documentary, McPherson tells the camera he had 40 journalists working directly or indirectly for him.

These reporters' articles often made front page on some of South Africa's most respected newspapers.

Then, McPherson also admitted the Mandela football club was targeted in several of the articles.

READ ALSO: Gogo and disabled man will be 1st to receive houses built with proceeds from sale of Tshwane mayoral mansion

Even more shocking, McPherson said he used the SABC to create a documentary about Madikizela-Mandela. Many believed the fake film. It was even aire as far as the US. It wasn't long after that Madikizela-Mandela was declared an international terrorist.

What's the fuss about?

Apart from the revelations in the Winnie documentary, there's another video going around on social media in which Madikizela-Mandela names two of the journalists that allegedly worked for Stratcom.

Meanwhile, the EFF wants the names of the journalists released.

In the recording, Mam Winnie accused the current SABC economic news editor, Thandeka Gqubule, and Anton Harber, former editor of the Weekly Mail of doing the job for Stratcom.

But, Harber, who also features in Winnie, denied these claims. He said the Weekly Mail exposed some of apartheid’s most dirty secrets. Gqubule has also denied the claims.

Meanwhile, The South African National Editor’s Forum called for detailed proof before going after two respected journalists.

HuffPostSA, who originally posted the video, has since removed it, because it does not include the journalists' responses.

HuffPostSA said: “Gqubule and Harber are journalists who have reputations for being honest and principled. We respect them both. The video clip should not have been published without first seeking their views.”

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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