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Readers love celebrity gossip, politics and high editorial standards

'This is why I love my Sowetan'

Mpho Koka Journalist

Sowetan has been writing for a diverse readership for the past 40 years. As we celebrate our 40th anniversary this year, reporter Mpho Koka found young people who are staunch readers of the newspapers to ask why they love Sowetan.

Tsholofelo Motlogeloa, 33, a community researcher and facilitator at Azania Management Consultants from Thaba Nchu, Free State

“I grew up in football. When I was selected for the preliminary squad of South Africa’s national under-23 soccer team (Amaglug-glug) in 2005 by then coaches Steve Komphela and the late Styles [April] Phumo, I saw myself in the paper after people living in my community told me that they saw my name in Sowetan. I then started following it.

“I read Sowetan online. Sowetan is user-friendly and easy to read because its news can be read in five minutes. It is my primary source of news as the stories it give us are relevant and relatable to us black people. This is where I get my sports, politics, entertainment and fashion news. I have been following Sowetan for more than 15 years now. I would like to plead with Sowetan to do awareness campaigns in high schools encouraging learners to read Sowetan in order to improve their reading and vocabulary.”

Nkateko Mhlongo, an unemployed 25-year-old from Orlando East, Soweto

“It is through news posters on the streets that I got to know Sowetan. I read the news online and find the information more objective and neutral. I mostly follow Sowetan to get information on political developments.”

Akani Mangena, 29, a public relations and media consultant from Johannesburg 

“As a former journalist and media student myself, I had to read more in order to take notes and familiarise myself with the style of writing from other journalists. The late Ngwako Modjadji, who had a stint at Sowetan as a political journalist, is one person I followed for many years. Ngwako was like a mentor to me. I turned to Sowetan for his sharp pen, his style of writing and his choice of words was just marvellous. He cracked some big political stories, and that’s how I got attached to the newspaper.

“In terms of reading Sowetan, things have changed since the coronavirus landed on our shores in March last year. We can’t go out to buy newspapers like before because everyone is trying to keep safe against this faceless enemy and I am someone who still enjoys the old traditional way of reading hard copy instead of online. But nowadays I read Sowetan online. My relations with Sowetan dates back to 2012, when I was a first-year media student at the University of Limpopo. We would buy newspapers then and share among friends just to grasp the style of writing and take some notes, or even rewrite some stories as assessments. As far as its news, I always go for page two and three of the newspaper. I enjoy reading politics and hard news. I am someone who is interested in the political landscape in the country. Sowetan is one of those newspapers that have stayed away from controversy because of its strong editorial approach and it has been a reliable source of information for many years.”

Patricia Mokoena, 27, a hip-hop artist and entrepreneur from Tembisa on the East Rand

“I was introduced to Sowetan when I was young. My parents used to buy the newspaper. I have been reading the paper for over 15 years and I usually buy from Shoprite or sometimes I read it online. Sowetan is one of my primary news sources and keeps me updated, especially on gossip and celebrity news. It also helps me with job vacancies.”

Daniel Asiwe, a 25-year-old Nova Life employee from Potchefstroom, North West

“I was introduced to Sowetan about six to eight years ago when I mistakenly bought it ... I ended up becoming a loyal fan as I enjoyed the reporting. I read everything in the paper. I deem all types of news as relevant. I read Sowetan via print at least twice or more a month, depending on whether I am able to purchase one before it is out of stock in the shops. I follow it for its unapologetic reporting, which keeps me abreast of current affairs.”  

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