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Sowetan, Black South African newspaper, 1981-2018

Posted on by Lauris Olson

The South African daily newspaper, Sowetan, has been digitized from its start as a commercial newspaper in 1981 through 2018 by Newsbank. 

Censorship note. Sowetan, 26 August 1986, page 1.Sowetan was a "captive press" newspaper during South Africa's apartheid era, that is, run by Black editors and journalists but owned by white corporations. Under apartheid, Sowetan opposed the government's apartheid policies and generally maintained a grassroots orientation following the Black Consciousness philosophy. When Sowetan was sold by its large South African press conglomerate owner in 1993, it took on a stance more in line with African National Congress positions. Sowetan has been characterized as aiming at an urban Black middle-class readership. It has long been one of the two largest daily newspapers in South Africa.

Newsbank's digitization project offers fulltext searching with PDF page images. Sowetan joins the complete digitized run of Rand Daily Mail (1901-1985), previously purchased by the Penn Libraries. Rand Daily Mail was called by Sowetan, "the first paper to regard [the black community] as human beings. It fought for them." (30 April 1985, p.5). Recent searchable fulltext for Sowetan, covering 2006-present is also available through Newsbank's Access World News database and other fulltext news aggregators. These digitized newspapers are complemented by an extensive collection of digitized pre-1922 South African newspapers and also by historic microfilm backfiles of Inkundla ya Bantu (Bantu Forum)Bantu World, Cape HeraldThe LeaderCommunist newspapers, and Drum, the Black South African news and general affairs magazine.