South African Broadcasting Corporation

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(Afrikaans was the Suid-Afrikaanse Uitsaaikorporasie).

The corporation has been the public broadcaster for South Africa since its founding in 1936 and has been best known by its acronyms: SABC and SAUK.

General history


During the 1920s and early 1930s a number of investigations and commissions had been studying the potential and regulation of radio broadcasting in the country with the view of making recommendations to the government. In 1934 Sir John Reith (Director General of the BBC) was approached to advise the government on the future development of radio in South Africa. The advice was that the government found a public broadcaster for the country.

The founding of the South African Broadcasting Corporation

This was done with the publication on 1 August 1936 of the Broadcasting Act (No 22) of 1936. In terms of this act I.W. Schlesinger's African Broadcasting Company was taken over by the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), which was to broadcast in English and Afrikaans on two separate services.

The corporation was to be the public broadcaster (also of television from 1976 onwards) for the rest of the 20th century and beyond, and by 1996 was in charge of 3 television stations, 22 indigenous radio stations broadcasting in 11 languages, plus an external service (Radio RSA) broadcasting to Africa and Europe in 10 languages.


The first SABC broadcasts took place in English on the "A service" (English Service) in 1936, followed by broadcasts in Afrikaans on the "B service" (Afrikaanse Diens) in 1937, the first broadcast in an African language in 1940 and finally the introduction of a commercial service (Springbok Radio) in 1950.

The various stations/services

The SABC English Service, or A Service

Radio South Africa

The station was renamed Radio South Africa in 1985


In 1995 Radio South Africa became SAfm.

Springbok Radio


(EC & PF)

(See Radio Broadcasting in South Africa and Television Broadcasting in South Africa.


Eric Rosenthal, 1974

Jan Schutte, 1978

Eben Cruywagen, 2000

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