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Isolezwe ngeSonto - giving readers what they want on Sundays

Zulu-language Isolezwe ngeSonto, the newest mainstream newspaper on the South African market, is building a strong Sunday following, with sales heading over 40 000.
Promotions at Spar outlets in Esikhawini and Mtubatuba in Zululand drew enthusiastic support from shoppers.
Promotions at Spar outlets in Esikhawini and Mtubatuba in Zululand drew enthusiastic support from shoppers.
Pictured in the centre is Sbongile Sibiya who was the winner at the promotion at the Spar in Mtubatuba with promoters Stho and Leigh Mbuli.
Pictured in the centre is Sbongile Sibiya who was the winner at the promotion at the Spar in Mtubatuba with promoters Stho and Leigh Mbuli.
Sales topped the 40 000 mark on the March 30 launch issue and have been around there ever since, reaching 43 000 on May 4 and growing to 46 236 on June 1, 2008.

Isolezwe ngeSonto's editorial team has pulled off news scoops in its first few months in the market - giving readers what they've come to expect from the Monday to Friday edition, fresh news presented in an intelligent, relevant style.

For the launch edition, the news team secured an exclusive interview with Zulu monarch, King Goodwill Zwelithini, getting his views on the “holiday palace” issue - a fine first feather in the cap considering the King's media-shy attitude.

“And while other papers simply reported on the ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority that an immune booster could not claim to be an Aids or HIV-reversing muthi, Isolezwe ngeSonto went behind the headlines to get comment from the potion's manufacturer and put the ruling into context,” says Editor, Thulani Mbatha.

Since day one readers have received a newspaper packed with entertainment and sport but not overlooking the serious side of life. Must-read lead articles have dominated every edition with top current affairs stories examined inside.

Sport gets thorough coverage with writers going beyond the usual match reports.

Regular Isolezwe ngeSonto features include:

  • Bayazenzela Abesifazane - Women doing it for themselves. This regular feature highlights women's success stories. The spotlight has already fallen on a 25-year-old who, despite dropping out of university, has picked herself up and is now running her own business; a young Sharks player, a 78-year-old former Nafcoc president who will not retire and even a game ranger. “We don't just profile the top BBBEE businesswomen. We try and tell stories of success, big and small, about people that our audience can relate to,” says Mbatha.
  • Qekethwayo: A gossip column is another popular feature. “We've tackled DJs as well as politicians, exposing the funny things they get up to when they think no-one's watching,” Mbatha says.
  • 2010: A Soccer World Cup page keeping readers up with the play as kick off for the great tournament nears.
  • A World and Africa page.
  • A homegrown cartoon which takes a serious angle on the leader page and is more lighthearted in the entertainment section.
  • Phakela - Feed the Eye. “This Page 3 profile of young women is proving popular with both female and male readers,” says Mbatha. “We don't just provide food for the eye, we tell inspiring stories about the women. One of our featured women has even been commissioned for an advertising shoot after being seen in Phakela.”


Advertising support has exceeded initial forecasts. Advertisers are aware of the impact of this premium Zulu Sunday title on the market and its potential reach as the title draws new, as well as daily Isolezwe readers into its audience.

11 Jun 2008 18:07

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