Letter from Editor, Philani Mgwaba

To our clients…

To paraphrase Nelson Mandela’s message in a booklet celebrating this
newspaper’s 25th anniversary, Sowetan “occupies a special place in the history
of the South African press”. We could not agree more.

Sowetan came into being in 1981 as a worthy successor to The Bantu World,
The World, Weekend World Post and Sunday Post; newspapers that had been
banned by the apartheid government on account of their fierce opposition to
the oppression of black people in the land of their birth. It’s no exaggeration
to say that Sowetan, perhaps more than any other newspaper in the country,
played a notable and vital role in chronicling the majority’s struggles against
apartheid oppression. The Sowetan, much like its illustrious predecessors, is
very much a part of this country’s history. Sowetan was in the trenches with its
readers during the dark days of apartheid, survived and has thrived.

It’s a proud history and rich heritage of which the current custodians of the
newspaper are immensely proud. The secret to Sowetan’s continued success
has been its ability to adapt and remain relevant to its readers needs by offering
a compelling content mix that includes up-to-date news, entertainment,
lifestyle and sport, among other ingredients. Sowetan has not taken its readers
for granted and its staff have worked extremely hard to earn and keep the
loyalty of the newspapers readers who see it as a reliable and credible source of
news. In spite of the arrival of new competitors on the scene, the newspaper, to
quote respected current affairs radio and television presenter Redi Tlhabi who
was recently featured in Sowetan, has resisted the trend of “dumbing down”.

Over the years, we have remained faithful to our core ethos but also ensured
that our content mix kept up with the changing reading needs of our people. In
keeping with our constant quest to better serve our readers, we have unveiled an
exciting new-look Sowetan on Monday, March 13 2017. It’s a modern, fresh design
that aims to enhance the readability of this favourite newspaper. In addition to the
current editorial recipe, we intend to do more to empower our people with selfhelp
features on how to better their lives.

In this regard, there will be more content on matters such as entrepreneurship,
small business and personal finance. We intend to highlight the successes and
achievements of role models in our communities in all walks of life in the hope
that their uplifting stories will encourage our youth to learn from and emulate
them. At Sowetan, we take our responsibility of being the voice of the powerless
against the powerful in society very seriously. Which is why we shall continue to
be the voice and champion of all our people, and to act as a watchdog against
the abuse of power and position no matter where such abuse emanates.