UmAfrika News History

Umafrika is one of South Africa‟s oldest newspapers, its origins reveal that Mariannhill missionaries were amongst the pioneers in developing and understanding of what black South Africans wanted to read at the turn of the century. Both izindaba zaBantu (Bantu topics), which ran from 1910 to 1928, and its successor combined secular with non-secular news. izindaba zaBantu started as a bi-monthly, becoming a
weekly in 1923. Responding to a period of unrest, indaba’s name was changed to Umafrika in 1929 because the Mission feared that Izindaba would be incorrectly perceived to be the voice of the government’s the Department of Native Affairs. Although it does not appear to have been acknowledged as such, this name change was probably Umafrika’s first poiltical statement: it would successfully distance itself from links with state and avoided alienating its 2,000 strong readership. UmAfrika, published its last edition on Friday the 7th of June 2013. The trademark of the venerable weekly newspaper, that began life as Izindaba Zibantu in 1910, before becoming UmAfrika in 1928, is owned by the Mariannhill Monastery in KwaZulu-Natal.

The Congregation of Missionaries of Mariannhill (CMM), which is the owner of the UmAfrika trademark, withdrew Media24‟s right to publish the newspaper in terms of a publishing agreement. UmAfrika was published by the Mariannhill Mission Press, but since then, has gone through a number of incarnations in terms of publishers. UmAfrika returns to its religious roots and heritage at the Mariannhill Monastery, where it was first published to be a Catholic voice supporting holistic Zulu development. Its mission was to “sustain community spirit and life”. It‟s motto: „Better fields, better homes, better hearts.