Pictured at the official opening of the new offices of I'solezwe lesiXhosa: Dr Iqbal Survé, executive chairman of Independent Media and Unathi Kondile, editor of I'solezwe lesiXhosa
Executive chairman of Independent Media, Dr Iqbal Survé, editor of I'solezwe lesiXhosa Unathi Kondile and Premier of the Eastern Cape, Phumulo Masualle
Speaking at the official launch of I'solezwe lesiXhosa
at the Regent Hotel in East London on 15 April, Premier Phumulo Masualle, who was the guest of honour at the event, congratulated the editor, Unathi Kondile, the newspaper's editorial and business team and Independent Media on the launch of the country's first Xhosa daily newspaper.
"This is a historic occasion. This is the first newspaper that speaks to the majority of people of the Eastern Cape in their mother tongue. More than 80% of the 6.5 million people in this province speak Xhosa. It is an anomaly, therefore, that until now there has been no publication in the language of the most dominantly spoken language of the people of this province. This is a very significant development. We look forward to partnering with it, to ensure we reach our people and to ensure this democracy means something to them and that they can relate to the information provided to them in their own language," said Premier Masualle.
"This important communication platform broadens the frontiers of communication and knowledge, thereby creating an empowered citizenry, which is an important element of transformation," he added.
The launch function was hosted by executive chairman of Independent Media, Dr Iqbal Survé. He said that the company's expansion into the Eastern Cape with a vernacular publication is in line with Independent Media's vision and strategy. "The role of the media to advance democracy and the development agenda of our country. As a large media house we regard it as our responsibility and are committed to creating a platform for South Africans to communicate in their mother tongue. It is our contribution to deepening democracy," said Dr Survé. I'solezwe lesiXhosa
will be based on the same editorial formula as the successful trio of Isolezwe
publications (daily, Saturday and Sunday) in KwaZulu-Natal, which currently has a collective readership in excess of 2.3 million weekly and will be supported by the same publishing team. The editorial team will be based in East London.
"We are very proud of Unathi Kondile and his team and I wish them every success with this publication which is the second vernacular publication for Independent Media and the first in the Eastern Cape. Here's to the first of many more to follow," said Dr Survé.
There is an untapped market of more than 3.5 million adult Xhosa-speaking people in the Eastern Cape alone, yet there is not a single daily Xhosa newspaper catering for this potential market.
"This in itself points to a profound failure of South Africa's media to transform itself. The introduction of I'solezwe lesiXhosa
will hopefully signal a positive change in South Africa's media landscape," said Kondile. I'solezwe lesiXhosa
will be published daily, Monday to Friday.