The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) began test transmissions in Johannesburg on 5 May 1975, followed in July by ones in Cape Town and Durban.
The SABC started a regular, countrywide television service on this day (5 January) in 1976.
There was only one channel with airtime divided evenly between English and Afrikaans, alternating between the two languages.
South Africa was one of the last countries in the world to get a regular television service.
The apartheid government opposed the introduction of television for decades.
H.F. Verwoerd compared TV to atomic bombs and poison gas.
Dr Albert Hertzog (Minister for Posts and Telegraphs from 1958 to 1968) said that television would come to South Africa “over [his] dead body”.
Hertzog denounced TV as “only a miniature bioscope which is being carried into the house and over which parents have no control. It’s the devil's own box for disseminating communism and immorality".
He also argued that "South Africa would have to import films showing race mixing; and advertising would make [non-white] Africans dissatisfied with their lot."