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Isolezwe conquers the streets

Published: 18 August 2009

Isolezwe KwaZulu-Natal newspaper published daily in isiZulu, has outsold its 106-year-old bi-weekly rival, Ilanga, for the first time, the latest ABC figures show. In addition, its Sunday sister title which is just over a year old, Isolezwe ngeSonto, registered the highest growth of 23% in circulation.

Isolezwe conquers the streets
Isolezwe KwaZulu-Natal newspaper published daily in isiZulu, has outsold its 106-year-old bi-weekly rival, Ilanga, for the first time, the latest ABC figures show.

In addition, its Sunday sister title which is just over a year old, Isolezwe ngeSonto, registered the highest growth of 23% in circulation. It grew from the 42 489 registered in the first quarter of its existence to 52 295.

In the audited sales figures for the second quarter, Isolezwe sold an average of 98 572 copies while Ilanga sold 98 224 copies of its Monday and Thursday editions.

“It’s a further indication that Isolezwe has taken over as the number one newspaper of choice. We are now not only one of the most trusted and recognised brands, but we lead where it matters most – on the streets and the newsstands. We made history in 2002 as the first daily published in an indigenous African language and now we’re topping the charts,” says Deputy Editor, Mazwi Xaba.

Launched in April 2002, Isolezwe immediately resonated with a generation of readers who consume news in isiZulu but also expect non-partisan reporting as well as a modern, up-to-date approach to news; sport; and entertainment and respond positively to the way titles are packaged and designed.

“The key to our success lies with the amazing team that makes it all happen and which is capably lead by our Editor, Thulani Mbatha. And all these wonders we have performed since the launch under the leadership of Philani Mgwaba in 2002 have been achieved despite incredibly trying circumstances as all newspapers across the country have been under pressure in terms of resources and the unfavourable trading conditions,” says Xaba.

The newspaper’s mind-set is modern and forward-thinking. “We may be tabloid in format but we approach the news seriously while entertaining and empowering our readers by giving them a platform to air their views in their own language. Cultural issues are included,” says Xaba, “but only to the extent that they interest our readers. We understand and respect our readers and these sales figures show that they appreciate what we do.”

In the depressed economic climate, Isolezwe’s growth is pleasing. “It’s not Isolezwe’s highest ABC,” says Independent KwaZulu-Natal’s Joint GM, Brian Porter. “Interest intensifies during soccer season so we historically see our sales pick up in the first and fourth quarters.” In the first quarter, Isolezwe reached another milestone when it exceeded 100 000 average sales with an ABC of 102 454.

In the Sunday market, Isolezwe ngeSonto may be trailing its rival in the Ilanga stable but is catching-up considering its age in the field.

Isolezwe is edited by Thulani Mbatha who is currently on leave. Isolezwe’s launch Editor, Philani Mgwaba, is now Editor of the Sunday Tribune.
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