African Newspapers, 1800-1922
A World Newspaper Archive Collection
A rich database that indexes and provides full-page scans of...newspapers from several African countries....Recommended.
E. A. Francis, Oberlin College Library, in Choice (Feb. 2010)

Quick Facts

  • Created in partnership with the Center for Research Libraries and its contributing members
  • Online access to more than 60 African newspapers published in the 19th and early 20th centuries
  • Wide-ranging coverage of the issues and events that shaped the continent and its peoples


This groundbreaking online collection provides more than 60 searchable African newspapers published in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Featuring English and foreign-language titles from Angola, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe, African Newspapers offers unparalleled coverage of the issues and events that shaped the continent and its peoples between 1800 and 1922.

 A glimpse into African life across two centuries
Through eyewitness reporting, editorials, legislative updates, letters, poetry, advertisements, matrimony and death notices, this unique collection chronicles the evolution of cultures and countries across Sub-Saharan Africa during a time of drastic change. From repercussions of the Atlantic slave trade, life under colonial rule and the results of the Berlin Conference to the emergence of Black journalism, the Zulu Wars and the rejection of Western imperialism, these newspapers provide a wide range of viewpoints on diverse cultures.

African Newspapers, 1800-1922, includes such key publications as the East African Standard, Mombasa Times & Uganda Argus (Kenya), Leselinyana la Lesutho (Lesotho), Central African Times (Malawi), Beira Post (Mozambique), Lagos Standard (Nigeria), Mafeking Mail and Protectorate Guardian (South Africa), Sierra Leone Weekly News (Sierra Leone), Uganda Herald (Uganda), Buluwayo Chronicle (Zimbabwe) and more than 50 others.

An integral part of the World Newspaper Archive

The Center for Research Libraries (CRL), one of the largest and most important newspaper repositories in the world, is committed along with its partners to providing sustainable access to a rich and diverse set of international scholarly resources.  The World Newspaper Archive presents opportunities for fresh insight across a wide range of academic disciplines while offering unprecedented coverage of events that have shaped international history, politics, cultures and daily life during the 19th and early 20th centuries. This unique resource includes historical newspapers published in Africa, Latin America, and South Asia and is an ideal research tool for students, teachers and scholars around the globe. For more comprehensive searches, the World Newspaper Archive can be cross-searched with America’s Historical Newspapers.

Advisory Board

World Newspaper Archive Advisory Board

Adán Benavides
Librarian for Research Programs
Benson Latin American Collection
The University of Texas at Austin

Frank Conaway
Social Science Bibliographer
University of Chicago Library

Chuck Eckman
Associate University Librarian & Director of Collections
The University of California, Berkeley Library

Sharon Farb
Associate University Librarian
University of California, Los Angeles

Dan Hazen
Associate Librarian of Harvard College for Collection Development
Harvard University

Denise Hibay
Interim Director for Collections Strategy
New York Public Library

John E. Ingram
Senior Associate Dean of University Libraries
University of Florida

Glenda J Pearson
Head, Microforms and Newspapers Collection
University of Washington

Mary Stuart
Professor, History, Philosophy and Newspaper Library
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


African Newspapers Advisory Board

Ruby Bell-Gam
African Studies Bibliographer
University of California, Los Angeles

David Easterbrook
Curator, Africana Library
Northwestern University

Marieta Harper
Area Specialist, African Section
Library of Congress

Pamela Howard-Reguindin
Field Director, Nairobi Office
Library of Congress

Peter Limb
Africana Bibliographer
Michigan State University

Laverne Page
Area Specialist, African Section
Library of Congress

Dorothy Woodson
Curator, African Collection
Yale University


“I am currently teaching a third-year class on the history of the black press in South Africa. I have structured the course around a practical research assignment, which is a really great way to teach a course for aspirant historians. I can only do this because of the Readex database, African Newspapers, 1800-1922.”
 — Prof. Natasha Erlank, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Historical Studies, Head of Department and Associate Professor, University of Johannesburg

“I am astonished at the quantity of available material in the Readex digital collections. I am studying South African leader Sol Plaatje’s involvement as a politician and journalist in pre-apartheid resistance movements. The Readex African Newspapers collection, which includes the newspapers he edited, has been critical to my research."
— Raquel G. A. Gomes, Doctoral Candidate, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Brazil


Notable Titles

Created in partnership between Readex, a division of NewsBank, and the Center for Research Libraries—one of the world’s largest and most important newspaper repositories—African Newspapers provides more than 40 fully searchable newspapers published in Africa during the 19th and 20th centuries. With titles from Accra to Mafeking to Windhoek, this revealing collection covers the people, issues and events that shaped the African continent between 1800 and 1922. Titles include:

Gold Coast Independent (Accra, Ghana) 1895-1922
Gold Coast Independent began in 1895 as the main competitor of the Gold Coast Chronicle, under the editorship of J. Bright Davies. Its motto (borrowed from Ireland’s The Nation) was “To create and foster public opinion in Africa and make it racy of the soil.” Nationalist in stance, the African-owned newspaper closed in 1898, but reappeared in 1918 and continued until 1956. (Language: English)

Gold Coast Leader (Cape Coast, Ghana) 1902-1922
This highly lauded nationalist title began in 1902 and continued until the early 1930s. It was co-founded and edited by J.E. Casely Hayford, a prominent activist and journalist and the author of Ethiopia Unbound, one of the first West African novels published in English. (Language: English)

Gold Coast Times (Cape Coast, Ghana) 1874-1885
Reportedly the first printed newspaper of the colony, the Gold Coast Times was founded by James Hutton Brew in March 1874. Gold Coast Times provided contemporary social commentary, tended toward moderation in its political coverage, and helped bring the British view of the colonies to Africa. One of the longest-running 19th-century titles, it ceased in 1885, but was revived in 1923 and continued to publish until 1940. (Language: English)

A Voz da Guiné (Bolama, Guinea-Bissau) 1922
Published in Bolama in 1922, this biweekly “republicano independente” was one of the earliest titles printed in Guinea-Bissau. Its editor was Luis Francisco Gravata, Jr. Like many of its short-lived contemporaries, the newspaper lasted for less than a dozen issues. (Language: Portuguese)

The East African Standard, Mombasa Times and Uganda Argus (Mombasa, Kenya) 1903-1915
The African Standard was founded in 1902 by Karachi-born A.M. Javanjee. This Mombasa weekly was sold to European owners in 1905. By 1910, the title became a daily and was moved to Nairobi. Together with the other titles Mombasa Times and Uganda Argus, the Standard Group became the dominating force in English-language journalism in East Africa in the early 20th century. Coverage here represents the weekly edition of the title, published as the East African Standard, Mombasa Times and Uganda Argus. (Language: English)

Leselinyana la Lesutho (Morija, Lesotho) 1863-1922
Founded in 1863, this Sesotho-language title was one of the first newspapers in southern Africa to appear in an African language. It was published in Morija as the organ of the Lesotho Evangelical Church, which was supported by the Paris Evangelical Missionary Society. It serialized important authors’ work in regional languages, and continues to issue a fortnightly edition. (Languages: Sotho, some English)

The Liberia Recorder (Monrovia, Liberia) 1902-1906
The Liberia Recorder was established in 1898 by Thomas W. Howard, Sr., chairman of the True Whig Party, Liberia’s sole political party from 1878 to 1980. As such, the paper was one of the first titles in Liberia to use journalism to promote political agendas and personal political gain. The paper ceased in 1906. (Language: English)

Observer (Monrovia, Liberia) 1878-1883
The Observer began in 1878, edited by Joseph W. Hilton, A.B. King (later a member of the Liberia Senate) and Arthur Barclay (later president of Liberia from 1904 to 1912). The paper pursued non-partisan journalism and became the leading Liberian paper of its time, though it only lasted until 1883. (Language: English)

La Cloche (Tamatave, Madagascar) 1880-1892
This weekly title, which began publication in 1880 in the city of Toamasina (aka Tamatave), focused on independent reporting, featuring political and literary announcements of interest to a primarily European audience. (Language: French)

The Madagascar Times (Antananarivo, Madagascar) 1882 and 1884-1885
The Madagascar Times began publishing in 1882 in Antananarivo. It aimed to provide a digest of chief events of the island, commercial reports for merchants and their firms and updates on government activities. The editor, Anthony Tacchi, was sympathetic to the native cause on the issue of “la Question Malgache,” and was accused of being a government organ. The title ceased in 1882, but was revived in 1884 and continued to publish until February 1890. (Languages: English, French and Malagasy)

L'Opinion Publique (Tamatave, Madagascar) 1891-1892
This general interest paper began publishing in 1891 in Toamasina (aka Tamatave) on a weekly basis, becoming semiweekly in 1892. (Language: French)

The Central African Times (Blantyre, Malawi) 1899-1908 & Nyasaland Times (Blantyre, Malawi) 1911-1922
The Central African Times was first published in 1895 as the Central African Planter, changing its name and expanding to a weekly publication in 1897. It was founded by local Scotsman R.S. Hynde to cater to European settlers in the country. After a brief closure in 1907, the paper resumed publishing as the Nyasaland Times in 1908. This title was the main newspaper in Nyasaland (now Malawi) during the colonial era. (Language: English)

O Africano (Maputo, Mozambique) 1908-1920
Founded by José and João Albasini in 1909, this title and championed the cause of the indigenous population. It was the official organ of the Grêmio Africano, a liberal reform group of the early 20th century. The brothers went on to publish O Brado Africano in 1918 and the paper ceased in 1920. (Languages: Portuguese, some Ronga and English)

The Beira News and East Coast Chronicle (Beira, Mozambique) 1917-1921
This semiweekly title, which began in 1917, was directed by Vitor Gomes. It featured information about East Africa’s industry and commerce, including maize markets and coal mines. (Languages: English and Portuguese)

The Beira Post (Beira, Mozambique) 1898-1917
With publication beginning in 1893-4, and restarting in 1898, The Beira Post was the first newspaper published in Mozambique. It was written in both English and Portuguese (as Correio da Beira). (Languages: English and Portuguese) 

O Brado Africano (Maputo, Mozambique) 1918-1922
A successor to O AfricanoO Brado Africano was founded by João Albasini in 1918, and published many of Mozabique’s young writers at the time. The weekly title was printed in both Portuguese and Ronga. In 1932, O Brado was briefly suspended and Clamor Africano ran in its place for a total of 12 issues. Publication of O Brado continued the following year. (Languages: Portuguese and Ronga)

Windhoeker Anzeiger (Windhoek, Namibia) 1898-1901, Deutch-Südwestafrikanische Zeitung (Swakopmund, Namibia) 1901-1914, & Swakopmunder Zeitung (Swakopmund, Namibia) 1911-1912 and 1919-1922
The Windhoeker Anzeiger was founded by Georg Wasserfall in 1898, the first paper to appear in Namibia. The paper closed in 1901 when Wasserfall and his law firm moved to the coast. In October 1901, the first issue of Deutch-Südwestafrikanische Zeitung was published in Swakopmund. In 1912, the title merged with the Swakopmunder Zeitung (which began publishing in 1911 and later re-launched as a separate title in 1918). (Language: German)

Lüderitzbuchter Zeitung (Lüderitzbucht, Namibia) 1909-1922
Lüderitzbuchter Zeitung began in 1909 in Lüderitz, Namibia, and continued as a daily through 1937. It was the first newspaper printed under South African rule, and represented settler interests in the region, particularly the mining industry. (Language: German) 

The Lagos Standard (Lagos, Nigeria) 1895-1920
This weekly title was founded in 1895 by George Alfred Williams. Displaying on its masthead the motto “for God, the king, and the people,” this paper was often highly critical of the colonial government and was a strong proponent for African nationalism in the early 20th century. (Language: English)

The Lagos Weekly Record (Lagos, Nigeria) 1891-1921
The Lagos Weekly Record was begun in 1890 by John Payne Jackson and survived its early years in part to generous personal donations. It was often critical of British colonization and control of Lagos, and was one of the papers most forceful in urging racial consciousness and African nationalism. (Language: English) 

The Nigerian Pioneer (Lagos, Nigeria) 1914-1922
This pro-government weekly was founded by Nigerian lawyer Kitoye Ajasa in 1914. The paper’s opinion stands in sharp contrast to the “radicalism” of the Weekly Record and other progressive papers. (Language: English)

Cape Town Gazette and African Advertiser (Cape Town, South Africa) 1806-1826
First published in 1800, the Cape Town Gazette and African Advertiser was South Africa’s first newspaper. It was owned by slave dealers Alexander Walker and John Robertson. With articles in English and Afrikaans, the title was changed briefly in 1803 to Kaapsche Courant, but the English title was restored in 1806. (Languages: English and Afrikaans)

The Graham’s Town Journal (Graham’s Town, South Africa) 1831-1832 and 1833-1863
The oldest newspaper in South Africa published outside of Cape Town; the Graham’s Town Journal began in 1831 and was edited by Robert Godlonton. In 1920, the paper merged with Grocott’s Mail. (Language: English)

 The Friend of Sovereignty and Bloemfontein Gazette (Bloemfontein, South Africa) 1850-1854,The Friend of the Free State and Bloemfontein Gazette (Bloemfontein, South Africa) 1854-1890

Originally established in 1850 in the Orange Colony of South Africa, The Friend of Sovereignty and Bloemfontein Gazette, a bilingual weekly changed to The Friend of the Free State and Bloemfontein Gazette in 1854. In 1894 it became an English-only publication. (Languages: English, Dutch and Afrikaans)

Ilanga Lase Natal (Durban, South Africa) 1903-1922
The first Zulu newspaper, this publication was founded in 1903 by John Dube, the first African National Congress president. (Languages: Zulu, some English)

Imvo Zabantsundu (King William’s Town, South Africa) 1884-1894
Imvo Zabantsundu was founded in 1884 by John Tengo Jabavu, a well-known politician and educationalist. This highly influential newspaper was the first newspaper in South Africa owned and controlled by Africans. (Languages: Xhosa and English)

Indian Opinion (Durban, South Africa) 1903-1922
Founded by Mohandas Gandhi in 1903, Indian Opinion advocated for the rights of Indians living in South Africa. (Languages: English, Gujarati, Hindi and Tamil)

Indaba (Cape Town, South Africa) 1862-1865
Published by the Glasgow Missionary Society between 1862 and 1865, this bilingual monthly was most likely the first newspaper published in a vernacular language. (Languages: Xhosa, some English)

International (Johannesburg, South Africa) 1915-1922
Published in 1915 by the International Socialist League of South Africa, the paper was later published by the Communist Party in the 1920s for a primarily black audience. (Language: English)

Inzindaba Zabantu (Pinetown, South Africa) 1910-1922
Inzindaba Zabantu was a general interest title published by the Mariannhill Fathers at Mariannhill. It was a fortnightly publication for the first year, and then became a weekly. In 1928, it changed its name to Umafrika. (Languages: Zulu and English)

Izwi Labantu (East London, South Africa) 1901-1909
Supporting the English-speaking Progressive Party, Izwi Labantu was founded in 1897 by a large group, including Nathaniel Cyril Mhala, R. R. Mantsayi and Thomas Mqanda, and continued printing until 1909. On the writing staff was Walter B. Rubusana, who would go on to be a founding member of the South African Native National Congress (predecessor to the African National Congress) in 1912. (Languages: Xhosa, some English)

Koranta ea Becoana (Mafikeng, South Africa) 1901-1903
Established in 1901 by Silas Molema and edited by Solomon T. Plaatje, one of the pioneering African newspaper editors of his day and later the first Secretary-General of the ANC. In 1902, the Bechuana Printing Works was opened to accommodate the printing of Koranta ea Becoana. The title ceased publication in 1908. (Languages: Tswana and English)

The Natal Witness (Pietermaritzburg, South Africa) 1846-50, 1850-1873, 1874-1885
Published in Pietermaritzburg beginning in 1846, The Natal Witness was distributed to a primarily white audience. Now published as The Witness, it is South Africa’s longest-running newspaper. (Languages: English, some Dutch)

Mafeking Mail and Protectorate Guardian (Mafeking, South Africa) 1899, 1899-1900, 1900-1922
Started in 1899 by George N.H. Wales, this title had only published a handful of issues when the village of Mafikeng was attacked during the Second Boer War. An underground edition, known as Mafeking Mail: Special Siege Slip, was printed with the phrase “Issued daily, shells permitting” on the cover. In 1900, the title resumed its regular publishing schedule as the Mafeking Mail and Protectorate Guardian until Botswana’s independence in 1966, when it continued as Mafeking Mail and Botswana Guardian. (Languages: English, some Afrikaans)

Tsala ea Becoana (Kimberly, South Africa) 1910-1912, Tsala ea Batho (Kimberly, South Africa) 1913-1915
Known as Tsala ea Becoana when it was founded by Solomon T. Plaatje in 1910, the name was changed to Tsala ea Batho in 1912. Marketed as an independent publication, the newspaper contains records of the early meetings of the African National Congress. (Languages: Tswana, some English, Sotho and Xhosa)

Unteteli wa Bantu (Johannesburg, South Africa) 1920-1922
Unteteli wa Bantu, or “The mouthpiece of the people,” was founded in 1920 and was edited early on by John Dube and Abner Mapanya. Solomon T. Plaatje was also a frequent contributor to this title, which was a strong supporter of the mines and staunchly opposed to segregation. (Languages: English, Southern Sotho, Xhosa and Zulu)

The Sierra Leone Weekly News (Freetown, Sierra Leone) 1884-1922
Founded in 1884 by J.C. May and E.W. Blyden, with May’s brother Cornelius serving as editor, the title was a major newspaper on the West Coast of Africa for over 60 years. (Language: English)

The Sierra Leone Times (Freetown, Sierra Leone) 1892-1904
With J.A. Fitzjohn serving as editor, and financial backing from J.H. Malamah, The Sierra Leone Times published a weekly edition from 1890 through 1912. (Language: English)

The Sierra Leone Guardian and Foreign Mails (Freetown, Sierra Leone) 1908-1918
Beginning in 1906, The Sierra Leone Guardian and Foreign Mails published a biweekly issue, and later a weekly issue, edited by chemist J.S. Labor. (Language: English)

The Uganda Herald (Kampala, Uganda) 1912-1922
The Uganda Herald began publication in 1912 and became the most widely read and influential newspaper in Uganda, representing the interests of the resident European community. A daily issue was printed until 1955. (Language: English) 

The Buluwayo Chronicle (Bulawayo, Zimbabwe) 1894-1906, daily edition and 1906-1922, weekly edition
The Buluwayo Chronicle was among the earliest press publications in what is now known as Zimbabwe. Starting October 12, 1894 as a weekly, the paper graduated to a daily (except Sundays) in 1897. It was founded by John William Howard of the South Africa-based Argus Printing and Publishing Company (publishers of the Rhodesia Herald among other titles) and edited by H.S. Hodges. (Language: English)

 The Rhodesia Herald (Harare, Zimbabwe) 1892-1922
W.E. Fairbridge launched The Rhodesia Herald on October 29, 1892 for the Argus group, which later ran the Rhodesian Printing and Publishing Company. Early editions of the Herald were quite critical of the government, but after possibly being threatened with deportation, Fairbridge moderated the tone of the editorial commentary, even becoming anti-African in policy in the 1900s. (Language: English)


African Newspapers, 1800-1922, part of Readex’s World Newspaper Archive collection, is a rich database that indexes and provides full-page scans of 40-plus newspapers from several African countries (mostly countries in western, eastern, and southern Africa). While most of the countries represented in the database have only a few newspaper titles available, South Africa boasts the most—16. When looking at the list of available titles for a country, one can tell at a glance how many issues are included, along with the dates the publication started and ceased. This database, much like the others that Readex provides, allows searchers to locate material by dates and eras (in this case, users may enter custom publication dates or choose to search by decade), by language (from Afrikaans to Zulu and several in between), by place of publication or even within specific newspaper titles. The results from a search are listed chronologically, and each includes a thumbnail image of the search term where it appears within the article. Once clicked, the image opens up into a full-size image of the article as it appeared on the page and users may zoom out to view the entire page as well. Summing up: recommended. Academic libraries with users interested in primary sources for 19th- and early 20th-century African history; lower-level undergraduates through faculty/researchers.”
— E. A. Francis, Oberlin College Library in Choice (February 2010)

For more information, contact a Readex representative by calling 800.762.8182 or by using our easy contact form.

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