Frank Barton



In memory of journalist Frank Barton, Canon Collins Trust supports the capacity development of journalism in southern Africa. Learn more about Frank’s remarkable life with this tribute, penned by his daughter, Vivienne Barton.

My father, Frank Barton  (1924 – 2008) has been described as ‘one of the great figures of white liberal resistance to colonial rule.’ He worked for many newspapers in southern Africa and in 1958 was founding editor of the African Times, the first African-edited newspaper designed for a black readership in Lusaka, Zambia. Soon after its arrival, the African Times was squeezed out of existence by the bitter hostility of white colonial business who saw it as a threat to their domination. In 1960 , he became the Cape Town editor of Drum magazine, just after the Sharpeville massacre, which he hoped was a prelude to revolution. At the height of apartheid, he moved to newly independent Kenya,  to work for the International Press Institute, training African journalists who were replacing white newspapermen as the independence era began. This became his life’s main work which he continued into his late seventies, teaching, travelling and writing manuals for journalists. He helped to produce consecutive generations of black journalists who became a thorn in the side of many authoritarian regimes throughout Africa.  His book: The Press of Africa: Persecution and Perseverance. 1979 described some of his story.