INDABA Newsletter | August 2014

4th Percy Qoboza memorial lecture

The fourth Percy Qoboza memorial lecture will be held on the morning of Sunday,
19 October 2014 at Unisa.

In 1977 Percy Qoboza was the editor of The World.

Arranged annually by the National Press Club in partnership with Unisa, the lecture commemorates ‘Black Wednesday’ – 19 October 1977 – the day the apartheid regime declared illegal 19 Black Consciousness organisations, banned two newspapers and detained scores of activists.

The World newspaper editor Percy Qoboza and other journalists were subsequently arrested and jailed.

This day is now also marked as National Press Freedom Day.

Members will receive particulars of the memorial lecture soon.

Press club winners do it again!

The 2013 National Press Club – North-West University Photographer of the Year, Paballo Thekiso of the Saturday Star, is a finalist in the 2014 CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards. So is the club’s Journalist of the Year for 2009, Joy Summers of Mnet Carte Blanche.

Other finalists from South Africa are Susan Comrie of Mnet Carte Blanche, in a joint entry with Summers, Sean Christie, freelance for Landbouweekblad and The Mail & Guardian and Vinayak Bhardwaj and Tabelo Timse of the M&G Centre for Investigative Journalism.

The competition, now in its 19th year, received entries from 38 countries, including French and Portuguese speaking Africa. There are 28 finalists from 10 countries.

The finalists are:

Press club award winner Paballo Thekiso is a finalist in the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards.
  • Daniel Biaou Adje, ORTB, Benin
  • Safia Berkouk, El Watan, Algeria
  • Vinayak Bhardwaj & Tabelo Timse, M&G Centre for Investigative Journalism, Mail & Guardian, South Africa
  • Rom�o Brand�o, Jornal OPA�S, Angola
  • Sean Christie, Freelance for Landbouweekblad and The Mail & Guardian, South Africa
  • Obinna Emelike, Business Day, Nigeria
  • Ben Ezeamalu & Emmanuel Ogala, Premium Times, Nigeria
  • Bob Koigi,, Kenya
  • Joseph Mathenge, Freelance for The Saturday Nation, Kenya
  • Anne Mawathe & Rashid Ibrahim, Citizen TV, Kenya
  • Patrick Mayoyo, Daily Nation, Kenya
  • Christine Muthee & Oliver Oscar Ochanda, Media Development in Africa (MEDEVA), Kenya
  • Dickson Ng’hily, The Guardian, Tanzania
  • John Muchangi Njiru, The Star Newspaper, Kenya
  • Olatunji Ololade, The Nation Newspaper, Nigeria
  • Bayo Olupohunda, Columnist, Punch Newspaper, Nigeria
  • Oss�ne Ouattara,, C�te d’Ivoire
  • Brito Simango, Televis�o de Mo�ambique, Mo�ambique
  • Joy Summers & Susan Comrie, Mnet Carte Blanche, South Africa
  • Suy Kahofi, Freelance for West Africa Democracy Radio, Senegal
  • Paballo Thekiso, Saturday Star, South Africa
  • Bento Venancio, Jornal Domingo, Mo�ambique
  • Evelyn Watta,, Kenya

The finalists will enjoy an all-expenses paid four day programme of workshops, media forums and networking in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania culminating in a gala award ceremony on Saturday, 18 October 2014.

Tony Maddox, Executive Vice-President and Managing Director of CNN International said: “I have witnessed the quality and excellence of work in this competition strengthen year on year, and am proud that it continues to maintain its place as the most prestigious Pan African journalist awards. Just as CNN encourages, promotes and recognises excellence in journalism at all levels, we are particularly pleased to be able to support journalists who represent our future.”

Print circulation data shows disturbing trends

Publishers of newspapers and magazines have been bleeding, and are taking desperate measures to cling on to their share of a shrinking market.

However, the strategies they are deploying do not meet with the universal approval of advertisers, who need precise circulation figures in order to pitch their message as accurately as possible to their target markets.

Circulation and readership figures are the main determinants of advertising rates.

One of the most disturbing trends is the number of publications being sold at below 50% on average of their cover price, a sure sign of an industry under stress.

The trend was identified in the latest circulation figures for the second quarter, recently released by the Audit Bureau of Circulations of SA (ABC).

The most striking example was Finweek, the business magazine in the Media24 stable. The magazine boasted an enviable 99% rise in circulation to 23 782, due largely to the 12 637 copies that were sold at 50% below its cover price. (The Financial Mail‘s circulation fell from 23 400 to 19 866 quarter on quarter, as the number of free copies distributed at airports was cut by about 3 000.)

Several of the titles of the Independent Newspapers group adopted the same strategy as Finweek. In the case of its flagship, The Star, 13% of its total circulation was sold at less than 50% of its cover price, while for the Pretoria News the number was 22%.


Another method being used is to sell a number of magazines digitally in a single bundle, but claim circulation for each individually. Media24 confirmed that it sells the digital versions of its magazines in bundles, and has declared this in its report to the ABC. The bundle includes Finweek.

According to Media24 magazines division CEO John Relihan the group’s Kaboedel/The Bundle offer, which was launched in April 2013, provides access to the digital versions of 14 Afrikaans titles or 22 English titles at a fixed monthly subscription rate.

The current rate is R110/month for all 14 Afrikaans magazines, or the same amount for all 22 English titles. This is a substantial discount to the R80/month subscription for the digital version of Finweek if bought individually or the R27 monthly cost of a subscription to women’s magazine Sarie.

It’s up to the user to decide what’s relevant

These kinds of sales provide an advertiser with absolutely no information about which individual magazines within the bundle are being read.

ABC general manager Charles Beiles says the bureau’s rules allow bundled titles to be sold, as long as this is declared. “Categories of sales below 50% are legitimate classes of circulation. Free circulation is as well. It is up to the user of the data to decide which classes of circulation are relevant.”

But ABC vice-president and business director of Omnicom Media Group Gordon Patterson does not believe this method of distribution assists marketers and advertisers, who see it as a way of “bulking up” circulation figures.

He notes in a presentation on the circulation figures that “almost 5% of total consumer magazine paid circulation comes from distribution at less than 50% (on average) of the title cover price. On closer investigation [it can be seen that] this development is being driven mainly by one publisher across several categories.

“It is very clear that distribution at less than 50% of the cover price has less value than circulation to people who are prepared to pay the cover price.”

The reality is…

The marketing, advertising and media agencies view this form of circulation as self-promotion and don’t see why they have to fund it. It enhances the perceived performance of those titles and deceives unsuspecting individuals who may not do their homework properly.

Unsuspecting marketers and advertisers may well be influenced to support a publication based purely on its reported growth in circulation.

Patterson believes promotional material should not be presented as true sales. The advertising industry devotes a lot of time to ensuring the right advertisement is placed in the right environment. The price and content of publications filter consumer interest and allow advertisers to pinpoint their target market. “The reality is that the only viable circulation in the long term is circulation that is paid for based on the value and content of the title. All other forms of circulation are short term,” he says.

Zuma to preside over Nakasa’s reburiel

President Jacob Zuma will preside over the reburial of renowned journalist Nat Nakasa’s remains at Heroes’ Acre in Chesterville, Durban, on 13 September.

Nakasa’s remains were brought back to South Africa earlier this month from the United States, where he was buried 49 years ago.

Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa said the repatriation of the journalist’s remains marks the culmination of a journey that began 50 years ago when Nakasa left his motherland on an exit permit, making him a stateless person.

“We are proud to say we have restored his dignity and given him back his citizenship. This occasion is the fulfilment of his dream for a free society, where every man is treated with respect and dignity.”

Nat Nakasa’s remains arrived in South Africa earlier this month.

Nakasa was buried near Malcolm X’s grave. The two had first met in Africa and became friends. Ultimately, they died within months of each other in 1965. The same cemetery is the final resting place of American novelist James Baldwin.

“There is no doubt in our mind that Nakasa was a complex figure, an articulate journalist and a highly gifted writer. In fact, he was a man who defined his time through his lived experiences and writings,” said Mthethwa.

He said Nakasa returns to a South Africa that is remarkably different from the one that he left 50 years ago and that he was sure Nakasa would be happy that South Africa is celebrating 20 years of freedom, for which he fervently fought.

“We are repatriating Nakasa’s body and spirit back to his ancestral land just over a month after the passing away of his dear friend, colleague and fellow writer, Nadine Gordimer,” he said.

Gordimer was the last person to see him off at the then Jan Smuts Airport in Johannesburg. Nakasa died on 14 July 1965. Gordimer died on 13 July 2014.

About Nakasa

Nat Nakasa was born in Durban in 1937 but moved to Johannesburg to work as a journalist for Drum magazine. He also worked for the Golden City Post and was the first black journalist to work at the Rand Daily Mail, where he provided a black perspective for the newspaper’s predominantly white readership.

He was awarded a Nieman Fellowship in 1964 to study journalism at Harvard College in the USA. However, the apartheid government rejected his application for a passport. As a result, he was forced to leave South Africa on an exit permit, which meant that he could not return.

Nakasa soon found that racism existed in America as well, albeit more subtle. He did not like New York and soon moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he spent his time at Harvard steeped in the sombre business of education.

His death by suicide was an apartheid tragedy, and a tragedy of exile. He wrote articles for several newspapers after leaving Harvard, appeared in the television film The Fruit of Fear and was planning to write a biography of Miriam Makeba. But two days before his death, he told a friend: “I can’t laugh anymore and when I can’t laugh, I can’t write.”

IPRA world congress comes to South Africa in 2015

The International Public Relations Association (IPRA) will, for the first time, be hosting its world congress in South Africa in 2015, choosing Johannesburg as its preferred venue.

IPRA was established in 1955 and will celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2015, an important milestone for the premier international association that serves individual public relations practitioners in more than 80 countries.

IPRA is the principal source for codes of conduct governing public relations across the globe and other host cities in the recent past have included Chicago, Istanbul, Beijing, Lima and Dubai.

The 2015 congress will be held at the Sandton Convention Centre from 27 to 29 September.

The South African organisations that are involved with this project are The Council for Communication Management (CMM), the Public Relations Institute of Southern Africa (PRISA), the Department of Communication (DoC), South African Airways (SAA), the South African National Convention Bureau (SANCB), the Gauteng Convention Bureau and the Johannesburg Convention Bureau.

Congress Chairman Johanna McDowell said: “It has been wonderful to have the support of South Africa and all of the local organisations in order to host this congress. Without the support of PRISA and CMM, IPRA would not have been able to move forward with this bid.”

New members

The National Press Club welcomes the following new members:

Shaun Sishuba – PlatMedia Group, Sibusiso Dubazana – TNA Media, Nthabiseng Maphanga – UFL Magazine, John Sukazi – Gauteng Provincial Treasury, Anika Sharma, Telestream Communications, Karin Blignaut – Tame Communications, Harold Shobane – 5wh media Solutions, Trevor Hattingh, Office of the Military Ombudsman, Kavitha Kalicharan – Taurus Communications, Kabelo Thelele – Unisa Radio, Kgomotso Makinta – North West Department of Health.

We look forward to seeing you at a press club event soon!

Thank you for paying membership fees

Thank you to those press club members who have already paid their membership fees for 2014. Members who have not yet done so, are requested to pay their fees as soon as possible, to avoid their names being removed from the membership list. Membership fees are R220 for full members, R350 for associate members and R150 for student members. Members are requested to use their surname as reference when payment is done, so that it can be picked up easily by the secretariat.


Please send any news, suggestions or information for this newsletter to Martin van Niekerk at the secretariat on, 082 257 0305. Website | Facebook | Twitter