The latest AMPS have shown that South Africa’s Zulu language daily newspaper, Isolezwe, is now read by 912 000 people every day. The daily posted enviable readership increases of 31% year-on-year, and 21% survey-on-survey.
“It’s staggering. Isolezwe was read by an additional 200 000 people on average, every day last year, comparing 2010 with 2011,” says editor, Mazwi Xaba. “Sales have been strong and the increase is not unexpected but we wouldn’t have guessed that magnitude.”
Xaba pointed out that this month, Isolezwe will have been published for a decade. “And we’re still hitting new highs. Our growth phase might not be over ye,” he says.
The paper’s Sunday edition, Isolezwe ngeSonto, has also grown by an 18% year-on-year and 16% since the previous survey. The Sunday title is out-pacing its rivals in terms of its rate of growth, mirroring a growing popularity already evident in circulation trends.
“The Saturday edition, Isolezwe ngoMgqibelo, was launched towards the end of August 2011, so its readership is not yet available but these figures indicate that readers are not substituting one of our titles with another,” says weekend editor, Slindile Khanyile.
Each edition – the daily, Saturday and Sunday – has its own character and editorial appeal while sharing similar overarching Isolezwe traits.
Xaba says that Isolezwe values and respects its readers’ opinions. “They phone, e-mail, walk-in and communicate with us via Facebook, Twitter and other media. We also rely on research but what helps us is that our staff has a very good understanding of who our readers are. We try our best to cater for their needs and often invite them to give us feedback,” he says.
“IsiZulu is not only spoken but written and read every day of the week partly because of Isolezwe’s existence. That is very rewarding for me.”