Original Research

Van Wyk Louw en sensuur

F. I.J. van Rensburg
Literator | Vol 10, No 2 | a828 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v10i2.828 | © 1989 F. I.J. van Rensburg | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 May 1989 | Published: 07 May 1989

About the author(s)

F. I.J. van Rensburg, Randse Afrikaanse Universiteit, South Africa

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Abstract

Within the framework of the debate sparked off by the recently declared State of Emergency, with its curbs on freedom of expression especially of a political nature, the author investigates the role played by N.P. van Wyk Louw in his attempt to prevent the imposition of curbs on freedom of expression in the literary field. Louw’s challenging article, “Sensuur of pornografie?” written in 1947, when the idea of a system of local publications control was put to the government by a representative delegation headed by prominent church leaders, is taken as point of departure for this investigation, In this article Louw warned against the imposition of a censorship board for local publications. The main arguments of his manifesto are discussed and evaluated. A number of inconsistencies in it are pointed out, evaluated and put into perspective. These inconsistencies are shown to have been brought to the fore more vividly by concrete events in later years, especially round about the imposition of the Publications Control Board (1963). As an essentially purely theoretical document, “Sensuur of pornografie?” could not foresee what would happen in the field of concrete actions and reactions, not the least that Van Wyk Louw himself would accept the Board. Despite this, the article remains a classic on the theme of free, responsible expression.

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