isiZulu news site a world first


2 July 2004

The isiZulu language has burst onto the Internet with the launch of Isolezwe – the world’s first isiZulu news website.

Powered by Independent Online, the site carries the same content as Isolezwe, South Africa’s leading isiZulu newspaper.

Initially, Isolezwe’s online content will be available free to view as an incentive to encourage online user – readers can sign up for a one-month free trial subscription. Ultimately, the site’s “premium content” area will be subscription-based.

The online edition follows Isolezwe’s launch into the KwaZulu-Natal newspaper market in 2002. According to Independent Online, Isolezwe has established a readership of 339 000 a day, making it the biggest daily newspaper in KwaZulu-Natal.

“We are excited by the site as it means we are now accessible throughout the country – and globally”, said Isolezwe editor Philani Mgwaba.

Mgwaba said the site would target the “emerging, urban-based, aspirational and knowledgeable Zulu market”.

Whereas isiZulu readers may have been hesitant or unable to go online before, the site would encourage them to use the Internet as an information tool, Mgwaba said.

Mgwaba added that the site would be useful to people interested in learning isiZulu as a language.

Babs Abba Omar, content manager of Independent Online, said that while the newspaper’s distribution was confined to street sales, the website would enhance Isolezwe’s readership among isiZulu-speaking people – of whom there are nine million in the country. reporter