Mail & Guardian

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Mail & Guardian
TypeWeekly newspaper
Owner(s)M&G Media Ltd
Founded1985; 39 years ago (1985)
HeadquartersJohannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa

The Mail & Guardian, formerly the Weekly Mail, is a South African weekly newspaper and website, published by M&G Media in Johannesburg, South Africa. It focuses on political analysis, investigative reporting, Southern African news, local arts, music and popular culture.


The publication began as the Weekly Mail, an alternative newspaper by a group of journalists in 1985 after the closure of two leading liberal newspapers, The Rand Daily Mail and Sunday Express.

The Weekly Mail criticised the government and its apartheid policies, which led to the banning of the paper in 1988 by then State President P. W. Botha. The paper was renamed the Weekly Mail & Guardian from 30 July 1993. The paper almost folded in the early 1990s after a failed attempt to reinvent its self as a daily newspaper.[2] The London-based Guardian Media Group (GMG), the publisher of The Guardian, became the majority shareholder of the print edition in 1995, and the name was changed to Mail & Guardian.

In 2002, 87.5% of the company was sold to the Newtrust Company Botswana Limited, which was owned by Trevor Ncube, a Zimbabwean publisher and entrepreneur.[3] Ncube took over as the CEO of the company.[4][5][6][7]

In 2006 MD Africa became the Mail & Guardian's national distributor. The change resulted in good circulation growth, despite difficult market conditions. In 2013 the newspaper achieved a record period with 51,551 copies circulated. MDA distributed a number of publications including Noseweek and Destiny magazine.

In 2017, Media Development Investment Fund, a New York–based not-for-profit investment fund, announced that it had acquired a majority stake in the Mail & Guardian. The restructured ownership saw the CEO, Hoosain Karjieker, acquire a minority stake in the business as part of a Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) transaction. Staff continue to own a 10% share of the company. The former majority shareholder, Trevor Ncube, disposed of his equity interest.[8]

The newspaper's headquarters are in Johannesburg. The editor-in-chief is Ron Derby[9] and the CEO is Hoosain Karjieker.

The Mail & Guardian is considered a newspaper of record for South Africa.[10][11]

The Mail & Guardian Online[edit]

In 1994, the Mail & Guardian Online was launched in conjunction with Media24 (a subsidiary of the Naspers group), becoming the first internet news publication in Africa. It has grown into its own daily news operation with a number of writers, multimedia producers, sub-editors and more. It is run out of the Mail & Guardian offices in Rosebank, Johannesburg. The site focuses on local, international and African hard news, sport and business.

The website began its life as the Electronic Mail & Guardian, which was initially an e-mail subscription service that allowed readers living outside South Africa to receive Mail & Guardian newspaper stories before they reached newspaper subscribers. Soon after, the service expanded into a searchable online archive, published in partnership with Sangonet, the country's oldest internet service provider. A website was added, which in turn progressed from producing a weekly mirror of the printed newspaper to generating its own daily news.

The Mail & Guardian Online was jointly owned by internet service provider MWEB and publishing company M&G Media until M&G Media purchased 100% of the operation in 2008.

It has interactive news photo galleries, discussion forums and special reports on subjects such as Zimbabwe, HIV and South African President Jacob Zuma. It is known for hard-hitting political reporting, investigations as well as strong beat reporting, particularly in education, labour, environment and health.


  • 2012: CNN African Journalism award (2012)[12]
  • 2012: Standard Bank Sikuvile Journalism Award[13]
  • 2011: Vodacom Journalist of the Year[14]
  • 2011: Bookmark awards[15]
  • 2010: Bookmark awards[16]
  • 2008: Webby Awards Honoree for News in Photos and Political Blog[17][18]
  • 2005: Webby Awards Honoree for Web Best Practices[19]
  • 2001: voted the Mail & Guardian Online one of the world's top 175 websites[20]
  • 1996: Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Journalism[21]
  • 1995: International Press Directory – Best International Newspaper[22]

Notable staff and contributors[edit]

Distribution figures[edit]

Net Sales
Oct – Dec 2018 25 834[1]
Oct – Dec 2015 33 210[25]
Jun – Aug 2015 30 290[25]
Jan – Mar 2015 30 714[26]
Jan – Mar 2014 44 267[26]
Jan – Mar 2013 45 279
Apr – Jun 2013 42 496
Jul – Sep 2013 42 242
Oct – Dec 2013 51 551

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Breitenbach, Danette (13 February 2018). "Newspapers ABC Q4 2018: Newspapers ABC Q4 2018: 2018 ends on a low for newspaper industry". Bizcommunity. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  2. ^ Niekerk, Phillip van (2 May 2016). "David Beresford: Unfashionable liberal and master storyteller". Daily Maverick. Retrieved 9 April 2024.
  3. ^ Buckland, Matthew (1 January 2002). "Trevor Ncube buys Mail&Guardian". Mail & Guardian. Archived from the original on 10 September 2005.
  4. ^ Mckune, Craig (23 August 2013). "Iqbal Survé threatens to 'expose' M&G". Mail & Guardian. Archived from the original on 23 August 2013.
  5. ^ "Trevor Ncube sets record straight". Newsday. Zimbabwe. 22 July 2014. Archived from the original on 8 September 2015.
  6. ^ Prinsloo, Loni and Speckman. Asha (6 September 2015). "Mail & Guardian crippled by cash crunch". The Sunday Times. South Africa.
  7. ^ "Trevor Ncube hits back at 'living it up as staff suffer' report". Nehanda Radio. 14 October 2015. Archived from the original on 15 October 2015.
  8. ^ "MDIF acquires majority stake in South Africa's Mail & Guardian". Mail & Guardian. 12 December 2017.
  9. ^ Karjieker, Hoosain (24 March 2021). "Ron Derby appointed M&G editor-in-chief". The Mail & Guardian.
  10. ^ Christopher, H. Sterling (2009). "A–C". Encyclopedia of Journalism. Vol. 1. SAGE Publishing. p. 39. ISBN 978-0761929574.
  11. ^ Jones, Adam (1998). "From Rightist to 'Brightest'? The Strange Tale of South Africa's Citizen". Journal of Southern African Studies. 24 (2): 325–45. doi:10.1080/03057079808708579. JSTOR 2637530. Retrieved 8 May 2022.
  12. ^ "South Africans shine at CNN Multichoice African Journalist Awards", TheMediaOnline, 23 July 2012.
  13. ^ "Finalists of Standard Bank Sikuvile Journalism Award announced", Media Update, 24 July 2012.
  14. ^ "More Vodacom Journalist of the Year regional winners",, 12 October 2011.
  15. ^ Bremmen, Nur (11 November 2011), "The Bookmarks Awards strike gold, although few golds awarded", Memeburn.
  16. ^ "M&G wins two Bookmarks", Media Update, 30 November 2010.
  17. ^ "Thought Leader". The Webby Awards.
  18. ^ "News in Photos". The Webby Awards.
  19. ^ "The Mail & Guardian Online's Interactive Guide to the South African Elections". The Webby Awards.
  20. ^ "About Us". Mail & Guardian.
  21. ^ "Missouri Honor Medal winners by year". University of Missouri School of Journalism.
  22. ^ "The prize paper". Mail & Guardian. 22 December 1995. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  23. ^ "Journalist Barry Streek passes away". The Mail & Guardian. 21 July 2006. Retrieved 9 April 2024.
  24. ^ Audit Bureau of Circulations (S.A)
  25. ^ a b "ABC Q4 Presentation". Audit Bureau of Circulations. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
  26. ^ a b Manson, Herman (8 May 2015). "ABC Analysis Q1 2015: The biggest-circulating newspapers in South Africa".

External links[edit]