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Afro Voice staff, formerly The New Age, out in the cold as newspaper shuts down

Afro Voice and Afro Worldview owner Mzwanele Manyi.
Afro Voice and Afro Worldview owner Mzwanele Manyi.
Image: MOELETSI MABE

Journalists at Afro Voice newspaper, formerly the New Age, were left shell-shocked when they were told yesterday that the paper was closing down.

Staff members expressed shock at the news saying that there were no warning signs that the newspaper would soon be shutting down.

Journalists told Sowetan that company chairman Mzwanele Manyi convened a meeting in the afternoon to break the news to his staff.

"Our day started as normal and there were no signs that something was wrong," said one of the reporters who asked not to be named.

"He told us that the paper was not doing well because we do not have advertisers. He said they owed the printers six months' worth of service."

The reporter continued that Manyi told them their last edition would be today.

"He said we are going on a paid leave and that we will receive our salaries for July. He said we must go home until they sort themselves out and that they will call us if things go well.

"He said if they did not call us we must just know that we are not coming back. We can see that it is over for us. We did not think anything bad would happen because there are people who were hired recently and had been there for two weeks."

Another journalist said it had not sunk in that she would be unemployed.

"They never said anything before this. It is such a shock, people are stressed," she said.

A third journalist added that about 350 employees were affected by the sudden announcement of the closure.

"People were shocked. We were not even given an opportunity to ask questions. We were just told to sit at home and they will call us if our services were still needed. We were basically told 'don't call us, we will call you'," she said.

Manyi could not be reached for comment at the time of going to print.

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