Mail & Guardian

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The Mail & Guardian
Mail & Guardian.gif
TypeNewspaper, online, kindle, iPad, digital, mobi
FormatBroadsheet, tablet, e-reader, online, Android
Owner(s)M&G Media Ltd
HeadquartersJohannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
Circulation45 000

The Mail & Guardian is a South African weekly newspaper, 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 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. It was originally known as the Weekly Mail, as the paper did not have the finances to publish daily. Weekly Mail was one of the first newspapers to use Apple Mac desktop publishing.

The Weekly Mail criticised the government and its apartheid policies, which led to the paper's suspension in 1988 by then State President P. W. Botha. The paper was renamed the Weekly Mail & Guardian from 30 July 1993. 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.[1] Trevor Ncube took over as the CEO of the company.[2][3][4][5]

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 distributes a number of publications including Noseweek and Destiny magazine. However, by the first quarter of 2015, distribution had collapsed to 30,714.[6]

In 2017, Media Development Investment Fund, a New York-based not-for-profit investment fund, announced that it has acquired a majority stake in Mail & Guardian. The restructured ownership saw CEO, Hoosain Karjieker, acquire a minority stake in the business as part of a Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) transaction. The former majority shareholder, Trevor Ncube, was disposed of his equity interest.[7]

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 also features regular cartoons by South African political cartoonist Zapiro.

The newspaper's headquarters are in Rosebank, Johannesburg, with a smaller bureau in Cape Town. The editor-in-chief is Khadija Patel and the CEO is Hoosain Karjieker.

M&G Media runs several other sites including:

  • Thought Leader — an editorial group blog of commentary and analysis[8]
  • Mail & Guardian Africa (MG Africa) — a pan-African digital platform.


Distribution areas[edit]

2008 2013
Eastern Cape Y Y
Free State Y Y
Gauteng Y Y
Kwa-Zulu Natal Y Y
Limpopo Y Y
Mpumalanga Y Y
North West Y Y
Northern Cape Y Y
Western Cape Y Y

Distribution figures[edit]

Net Sales
Oct - Dec 2015 33 210[16]
Jun - Aug 2015 30 290[16]
Jan - Mar 2015 30 714[6]
Jan - Mar 2014 44 267[6]
Jan — Mar 2013 45 279
Apr — Jun 2013 42 496
Jul — Sep 2013 42 242
Oct — Dec 2013 51 551

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Buckland, Matthew (1 January 2002). "Trevor Ncube buys Mail&Guardian". Mail & Guardian. Archived from the original on 10 September 2005.
  2. ^ Mckune, Craig (23 August 2013). "Iqbal Survé threatens to 'expose' M&G". Mail & Guardian. Archived from the original on 23 August 2013.
  3. ^ "Trevor Ncube sets record straight". Newsday. Zimbabwe. 22 July 2014. Archived from the original on 8 September 2015.
  4. ^ Prinsloo, Loni and Speckman. Asha (6 September 2015). "Mail & Guardian crippled by cash crunch". Sunday Times. South Africa. (Subscription required (help)).
  5. ^ "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.
  6. ^ a b c Manson, Herman (8 May 2015). "ABC Analysis Q1 2015: The biggest-circulating newspapers in South Africa".
  7. ^ "MDIF acquires majority stake in South Africa's Mail & Guardian". Mail & Guardia. 12 December 2017.
  8. ^ "Thought Leader". Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  9. ^ "South Africans shine at CNN Multichoice African Journalist Awards", TheMediaOnline, 23 July 2012.
  10. ^ "Finalists of Standard Bank Sikuvile Journalism Award announced", Media Update, 24 July 2012.
  11. ^ "More Vodacom Journalist of the Year regional winners", 12 October 2011.
  12. ^ Nur Bremmen, "The Bookmarks Awards strike gold, although few golds awarded", Memeburn.
  13. ^ "M&G wins two Bookmarks", Media Update, 30 November 2010.
  14. ^ "M&G Website". Retrieved 20 March 2013.
  15. ^ Audit Bureau of Circulations (S.A)
  16. ^ a b "ABC Q4 Presentation". Audit Bureau of Circulations. Retrieved 29 March 2016.

External links[edit]