Rand Daily Mail (1902-1985)
Quintessential reporting on South Africa from the Boer Wars to the apartheid era
The digitization of the Rand Daily Mail shows how far South Africa has come since the abolition of apartheid. Making 83 years of history internationally accessible online allows us to share a more accurate and complete picture of South Africa, while also celebrating the bravery and integrity of the journalists during those tumultuous years.
Mike Robertson, Former Managing Director, Times Media

Quick Facts

  • Acclaimed 20th-century newspaper contains a wealth of unique perspectives on South Africa and the African continent
  • First newspaper to openly oppose apartheid and contribute to its downfall
  • A complete, fully searchable digital edition featuring every page of every issue

Overview

The Rand Daily Mail, published daily in Johannesburg, is a critically important title that pioneered popular journalism in South Africa. It is renowned today for being the first newspaper to openly oppose apartheid and contribute to its downfall.

A noble venture
From its beginnings in 1902, the Rand Daily Mail was known for its controversial yet courageous journalism. Despite significant pressure from the conservative government, its writers openly addressed issues that white readers knew little about. Now, decades later, this acclaimed title—and its wealth of unique perspectives on 20th-century South Africa—is being offered as a fully searchable online resource containing every article, advertisement, editorial, cartoon, and photograph.

A focus on freedom
The Rand Daily Mail is of great value to students and scholars, opening exciting new pathways to research a turbulent period in history. Its archives are rich with insight into events related to South Africa’s struggle for freedom and democracy, covered in fascinating detail by a group of daring and talented journalists. Examples include Benjamin Pogrund's extraordinary coverage of the Sharpeville massacre in 1960; Helen Zille's uncovering of Steve Biko’s murder at the hands of police in 1976; news-breaking reporting by Mervyn Rees and Chris Day about the apartheid state's effort to influence opinion, an exposé that sparked the scandal known as “Muldergate”; and many others. Rand Daily Mail continued to be popular among progressive readers until—after adopting an outspoken anti-apartheid stance amid a massive clampdown by security forces—it was controversially closed in 1985.

A vital complement to Readex International Studies collections
The Readex digital edition of the Rand Daily Mail (1902-1985) provides researchers with access to a comprehensive run of this influential African news source. It is cross-searchable with the World Newspaper Archive, which includes African Newspapers, Latin American Newspapers, and South Asian Newspapers.  In addition, this major 20th-century newspaper complements the coverage of international events found in both Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Daily Reports, 1941-1996, and Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS) Reports, 1957-1995.

Accolades

"I myself had an experience of working in an environment that produced excellence when I worked as a young reporter on the Rand Daily Mail. What made the Rand Daily Mail to be what it was was precisely the independence, the liberty, the culture, where people were allowed to think differently, to go on to the threshold to be challenging, to be bold ..."
— Zwelakhe Sisulu, then Head of South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), speaking on "SABC TV 20 Years: The Untold Story”
 

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

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