One of South Afric's best known black journalists, Percy Qoboza, has resigned as editor of the Post and Sunday Post, newspapers closed down by a black workers' strike last year and whose resignation consequently lapsed. b
Qoboza announced his resignation yesterday in a telegram to Hal Miller, managing director of the Argus Company, which owns the Post and Sunday Post. Qoboza, who had been on sick leave, left South Africa at the weekend.
He said in his telegram: "Recent government actions on the black press and the banning of black journalists have forced me to tender my resignation as editor of Post."
Qoboza was on route to Sierra Leone in West Africa when he sent the telegram. Also an "editor in residence" at the Washington Star in the United States, he rose to national and later international prominence in 1976 and 1977 when he was editor of World and Weekend World, the two black-oriented newspapers banned by the government in October 1977.
He was largely responsible for a marked change in these newspapers during the mid-1970s. Until then both tended to shun coverage of political events, preferring to concentrate on social events, crime and sports. Under Qoboza, their emphasis shifted as they became crusading newspapers that reflected and championed political aspirations of the black community.
Journalists of both newspapers were detained by security police during the unrest of 1976 and 1977. When the government finally decided to outlaw both newspapers, Qoboza was himself detained for more than six months. He later became editor of the Post and Sunday Post, which emerged to replace World and Weekend World.
These new papers also roused government ire but were not banned. The blow came during last year's strike by black media workers. Under South African law newspapers have to publish at least once a month. The strike prevented publication for more than a month and the registration lapsed.