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African Language Media

This edited volume considers why the African language press is unstable and what can be done to develop quality African language journalism into a sustainable business. Providing an overview of the African language journalism landscape, this book examines the challenges of operating sustainable African language media businesses. The chapters explore the political economy and management of African language media and consider case studies of the successes and failures of African language newspapers, as well as the challenges of developing quality journalism. Covering print and digital newspapers and broadcast journalism, this book will be of interest to scholars of media and journalism in Africa. Abiodun Salawu is Professor of Journalism, Communication and Media Studies and Director of the research entity Indigenous Language Media in Africa at North-​West University, South Africa.

Routledge African Studies

Mohammed VI’s Strategies for Moroccan Economic Development Eve Sandberg and Seth Binder Misrepresenting Black Africa in American Museums Black skin, black masks P.A. Mullins The Literary History of the Igbo Novel African literature in African languages Ernest N. Emenyonu Endogenous Regional Policy and Development Planning in Ghana Sam C.M. Ofori Culture and Development in Africa and the Diaspora Ahamad Sheuh Abdussalam, Ibigbolade Aderibigbe, Sola Timothy Babatunde, and Olutola Akindipe African Language Media Development, economics and management Edited by Abiodun Salawu Blackness in Israel Rethinking racial boundaries Edited by Uri Dorchin and Gabriella Djerrahian African Scholars and Intellectuals in North American Academies Reflections on exile and migration Edited by Sabella Ogbobode Abidde For a full list of available titles please visit:​African-​Studies/​book-​series/​AFRSTUD

African Language Media Development, Economics and Management Edited by Abiodun Salawu

First published 2021 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge 52 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2021 selection and editorial matter, Abiodun Salawu; individual chapters, the contributors The right of Abiodun Salawu to be identified as the author of the editorial material, and of the authors for their individual chapters, has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing-​in-​Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-​in-​Publication Data A catalog record has been requested for this book ISBN: 978-​0-​367-​40840-​4  (hbk) ISBN: 978-​1-​003-​00473-​8  (ebk) Typeset in Baskerville by Newgen Publishing UK Indexed by Rita Sephton


List of figures  List of tables  List of contributors  Introduction: towards the development and sustainability of African language media 

viii ix x



Political economy of African language media 


1 The political economy of indigenous language media in Nigeria and the challenge of survival in the Digital Age 



2 The politics of language and the underdevelopment of African language press in Zimbabwe 


P HI L L I P   M P O F U


Mixed bag: failures and successes of African language newspapers 


3 In the dead end: the decline of the indigenous language press in post-​colonial Zimbabwe 



4 Making sense of South African Mmega Dikgang’s transition from Setswana to English  B R I GHT T.   M O LALE AND PHILLIP MPO FU


vi Contents

5 The extinction of siSwati-​language newspapers in the Kingdom of Eswatini 



6 Indigenous language newspapers in Zimbabwe: Kwayedza and Umthunywa and the struggle for survival 



7 Indigenous language media and the survival game: the Alaroye newspaper example from Nigeria 




Management and sustainability of African language media 


8 Reimagining the future of indigenous language press in the Digital Era 



9 A survey of the management, organisation, structure, content and columns of the contemporary Yorùbá newspaper 



10 The challenges of sustaining African language newspaper businesses: the Yorùbá language example from Nigeria 




Towards quality: African language journalism development 


11 The significance of African storytelling in journalism 



12 African language journalism in Ghana and the quest for quality and sustainable broadcast journalism: an investigation of Peace FM  UF UO M A A KPO JIVI AND MO D EST U S FO SU


Contents  vii

13 Editorial policies and the isiXhosa language newspapers at Caxton Media and Independent Media 




Focus on the broadcast media 


14 News syndication and local language broadcasting in South Africa: hegemonic infiltration or hybridity? 




Borrowing a leaf  


15 African language newspaper sustainability: lessons to learn from Asia 






1 1.1 Photographs of Gãngãogo, lυnga and bɛndre instruments  15.1 Kenyan Media Consumption for February and March 2019 

194 271


1 0.1 Contemporary Yorùbá newspapers  10.2 Students’ enrolment and performance in WAEC May/​June SSCE in the Yorùbá language  12.1 Profile of the study participants  15.1 Quarter 2, 2019: selected South African daily newspapers’ circulation figures  15.2 Quarter 2, 2019: selected South African weekly newspapers’ circulation figures  15.3 Quarter 2, 2019: selected South African weekly newspapers’ circulation figures  15.4 Circulation figures of Indian newspapers, July–​December 2016  15.5 Circulation figures of Indian newspapers, January–​July 2018  15.6 List of newspapers in India by readership  15.7 List of newspapers in Pakistan  15.8 Selected Bengali and English newspapers in Bangladesh 

172 178 206 270 270 271 275 276 277 278 282


Clement Adéníyí Àkángbé holds a Bachelor of Arts (combined) honours degree in Yoruba Language and Dramatic Arts from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-​ife, Osun State, Nigeria. He holds a Master of Communication Arts and a Master of Arts in Yoruba from the University of Ibadan. He was also awarded a Diploma Certificate in Publishing by the Nigerian Publishers Association. He holds a PhD in Yoruba Literature from the University of Ibadan and was Senior Editor with Macmillan Nigeria Publishers Limited. Later, he was appointed the pioneer lecturer in Publishing and Book Development at Lagos State University, Ọjọ, Lagos State, Nigeria. From 2005 to 2008, he served as Publishing and Press Manager of CSS Bookshops Limited, Lagos, after which he took up a lecturer appointment with the University of Ibadan. Currently, Àkángbé teaches Publishing and Copyright Studies at the University of Ibadan. His research interests are indigenous publishing, editorial and production, and book marketing. Ufuoma Akpojivi is Associate Professor in the Media Studies Department, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. His research interests cut across political communication, new media and citizenship, media policy and development communication. He is a rated researcher of the National Research Foundation (NRF) South Africa, and he received both the Vice Chancellor’s Teaching and Learning Award and the Faculty of Humanities Teaching and Learning Award for 2017. Tendai Chari is Senior Lecturer and a National Research Foundation-​rated researcher in the department of Media Studies, School of Human and Social Sciences, at the University of Venda, South Africa. He holds a PhD in Media Studies from the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa. Previously he lectured at the University of Zimbabwe (where he was Head of the Media and Communications Programme in the English Department), the Zimbabwe Open University, National University of Science and Technology and Fort Hare University (South Africa). Albert Chibuwe is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Indigenous Language Media in Africa (ILMA) research entity, North-​West University, South Africa,

List of contributors  xi and Lecturer in the Department of Media and Society Studies at Midlands State University, Zimbabwe. Modestus Fosu is currently the Acting Deputy Rector of the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ). His teaching and research interests include language of the news, media and participation, journalism and news writing, media and journalism education, and general language use in communication. Modestus is a researcher in the above areas and has a number of academic publications in reputable outlets in Ghana and abroad. He has also attended and presented academic papers at various local and international conferences. David Anderson Hooker is Associate Professor of the Practice of Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding. He is a core faculty member of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, an integral part of the Keough School for Global Affairs (University of Notre Dame). Hooker has worked with communities, governments, international NGOs and civil society organizations in East, West and Southern Africa, eastern Europe, Asia and throughout the US and North America. His primary practice is post-​ conflict community building, environmental justice and other issues of public policy and social justice. He has managed multi-​party conflicts, conducted workshops and consulted across the US and around the world. His scholarship focuses on the roles of narrative in conflict and identity. He is the author of The Little Book of Transformative Community Conferencing (Good Books 2016), co-​author of Transforming Historical Harms (Eastern Mennonite 2012) and several articles and book chapters. Hooker is a graduate of Morehouse College (BS/​BS) in Atlanta, Georgia; the University of Massachusetts Amherst (MPH and MPA); Emory University’s School of Law (JD); and Emory University’s Candler School of Theology (MDiv). He earned his PhD from Tilburg University in the Netherlands. Jendele Hungbo is Associate Professor in the Department of Mass Communication, Bowen University, Iwo, Nigeria. He previously taught at North-​West University, Mafikeng, South Africa. His research work on media and cultural studies in Africa has appeared in reputable academic journals. Bright T. Molale, MA, is a lecturer in the School of Communication Studies at North-​West University, Mafikeng Campus, South Africa. He is currently a PhD candidate in Communication for Development and Social Change, and an affiliate of the Indigenous Language Media in Africa (ILMA) research entity, North-​West University, South Africa. Phillip Mpofu, PhD is Senior Lecturer in the Department of African Languages and Culture at Midlands State University, Gweru, Zimbabwe. He is also a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Indigenous Language Media in Africa research entity at North-​West University, Mafikeng Campus, in South Africa. His research interests include sociolinguistics, language policy and planning, language and identity politics and African language media.

xii  List of contributors Maxwell V. Mthembu and Carolyne M. Lunga are journalism and media studies researchers and lecturers based at the University of Swaziland, now Eswatini (UNESWA). Both are interested in African Language Media Development and contemporary trends in journalism, which they teach. They are currently involved in a number of projects in journalism and media studies in the region and internationally, where Dr Mthembu has also published. Allen Munoriyarwa is a Post-​ Doctoral Research Fellow and Lecturer in the Department of Journalism, Film and Television at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa. His research interests are in journalism practice, with particular emphasis on big data, digital surveillance and social media. His research employs different qualitative methodologies like framing, content and discourse analysis. He is currently coordinating research exploring the growth of digital surveillance practices in southern Africa under the auspices of the Media Policy and Democracy Project. This is a joint research project between the University of Johannesburg and the University of South Africa. Mbuyekezo Njeje is a PhD candidate and a sessional lecturer in the Department of African Languages at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. His MA research topic was on IsiXhosa print media and its under-​development within European-​owned media institutions. It explores the expatriation trope in isiXhosa, pertaining to the emigration of nations from the Natal colony and Zulu land. Njeje lectures in the field of African language linguistics and African language literature, which both encompass Indigenous language media and socio-​linguistics. Kevin Onyenankeya, PhD is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Communication, University of Fort Hare. He contributed to this book while a postdoctoral fellow at the Indigenous Language Media in Africa (ILMA) research entity at North-​West University, South Africa. He is currently involved in environmental communication research with a focus on the development of participatory communication strategies for engaging rural and peri-​urban residents in water and energy conservation. His broader research interests are centred on how development communication could contribute to the improvement of pro-​environmental behaviour (water and energy conservation), within the context of sustainable natural resource management. Beyond development communication-​related research, he has a growing interest in media, journalism and cultural studies (representations and cultural transmission). Oluwayemisi Mary Onyenankeya is a researcher at the University of Fort Hare, Alice, South Africa. Her research interests include Intercultural Communication, Gender and Cultural Studies within the context of filmic media and Nollywood in particular. Olutola Osunnuga holds a PhD in Yoruba Literature. He currently teaches Yoruba at SOAS and has published scholarly articles on Yoruba language media. Osunnuga’s research interests include African literature, folklore,

List of contributors  xiii stylistics, oral tradition, Yoruba popular music, Yoruba culture, translation and interpreting. Toyosi Olugbenga Samson Owolabi holds a PhD in Journalism and Development from Strathclyde University, United Kingdom. Prior to this, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in Language and Linguistics from University of Ilorin, an MA in Linguistics, an MA in Language and Communication Arts from Ibadan, and a postgraduate diploma in Journalism from NIJ. He teaches media and development communication at Lagos State University, and has taught Mass Communication at Igbinedion University, Okada and Benson Idahosa University, Benin City, Nigeria. He was Group Political Editor and Member of the Editorial Board of the Concord Group of Newspapers and Editor of Credit Market Magazines. He is widely published locally and internationally and his research interests are in journalism and development. Obasanjo Joseph Oyedele holds a PhD in Development Communication from the Department of Communication and Language Arts, University of Ibadan, Nigeria, where he also earned his Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees. His research interests in media and communication straddle development, climate change, environment, agriculture, politics, health and risk. He has published on some of these cross-​disciplinary areas and has attended various research trainings, summer schools and conferences in Nigeria and abroad. He worked with other researchers to execute national and international research grants won by the Department of Communication and Language Arts, University of Ibadan, before he joined Bowen University Iwo, Osun State as a Lecturer 1 in the Department of Mass Communication. Kehinde Oyesomi is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Mass Communication, Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State, Nigeria. She contributed this chapter while a postdoctoral fellow in the Indigenous Language Media in Africa (ILMA) research entity, North-​West University, Mafikeng Campus, South Africa. Her responsibilities as a lecturer include teaching, advising, project supervision, research and community development. Her research interests are on gender, media, indigenous communication, political communication and development communication. She has published in several local and high-​impact international journals. Abiodun Salawu is Professor of Journalism, Communication and Media Studies and Director of the research entity, Indigenous Language Media in Africa (ILMA) at North-​West University, South Africa. He has taught and researched journalism for over two decades in Nigeria and South Africa. Prior to his academic career, he practised journalism in a number of print media organisations in Nigeria. He has to his credit scores of scholarly publications in academic journals and books. He has also edited/​co-​edited seven books and authored one. He is a regular presenter of papers at local and international conferences, a co-​ vice chair of the journalism section of the International Association for Media and Communication Research and a member of editorial/​advisory boards of


xiv  List of contributors a number of journals. He is rated by the National Research Foundation as an established researcher and is a member of the Codesria’s College of Senior Academic Mentors. Wendpanga Eric Segueda is a PhD candidate at Goethe University Frankfurt. In his dissertation, “Getting out of Dependency: Indigenous Knowledge and Self-​Reliant Development in South Africa” (working title), he addresses the need for Africa to tackle the issue of its dependency through the promotion of endogenous knowledge and values. After graduating with “Maîtrise” in German language studies from the University of Ouagadougou and an MA in Media and Communication Studies from Friedrich-​Alexander-​University Erlangen-​Nürnberg, Segueda also worked as a freelance journalist and PR officer, researcher and as a consultant for migration and development for various institutions. He deals extensively with African development and migration issues, as well as human rights and the effects of globalisation.

Introduction Towards the development and sustainability of African language media Abiodun Salawu

Publishing newspapers in indigenous African languages has largely been a precarious business, as many of such newspapers disappear no sooner than they appear on the newsstands. A number of factors may be responsible for this short lifespan of the newspapers, including the apathy to indigenous languages in Africa, which results in low patronage in terms of copy sales and advertisement placement. It is of little wonder, then, that many African languages are not present in cyberspace, either on social media, blogs or digital versions of traditional newspapers. There are, however, some outstanding success stories in African language newspaper publishing. Examples include Isolezwe, Ilanga (Zulu, South Africa), Bukedde (Luganda, Uganda), Alaroye (Yoruba, Nigeria) and Addis Zemen (Amharic, Ethiopia). We can identify two basic models of managing local language press. They are what I  call the Mainstream model and the Subsidiary model. In the Mainstream model, we have local language newspapers that exist as sole or main products of a media organisation. Such newspaper organisations, which exclusively deal in local language publications, include World Information Agents, Ajoro, Marianhill Monastery and Mandla-​ Matla Publishing, among others. World Information Agents publishes titles such as Alaroye, Akede Agbaye, Alaroye Magasini and Iriri Aye. Ajoro publishes Ajoro, Marianhill Monastery used to publish UmAfrika, and Mandla-​Matla Publishing produces Ilanga. The Subsidiary Model consists of local language newspapers that exist as subsidiary products of a foreign (but dominant) language media organisation. For instance, in Nigeria, the defunct Daily Sketch Press Ltd., publishers of English titles, such as Daily Sketch, Sunday Sketch and Evening Sketch, also published Gboungboun, a Yoruba newspaper. Concord Press of Nigeria, publishers of titles like National Concord, Sunday Concord, Weekend Concord and African Concord, used to publish local language titles, such as Isokan (Yoruba), Amana (Hausa) and Udoka (Igbo). African Newspapers of Nigeria Plc, publishers of Nigerian Tribune, Saturday Tribune, Sunday Tribune and Sporting Tribune, also used to publish Iroyin Yoruba. Northern Literature Agency, publishers of New Nigerian, also publishes Gaskiya. The defunct Perskoporasie of South Africa (Perskor), publishers of titles in English and Afrikaans, also used to publish the now-​defunct Imvo Zabantsundu, an isiXhosa newspaper. This model seems to be the trend in South Africa now. In 2002, Independent Newspapers Limited, publishers of The Star, Daily News,

2  Abiodun Salawu Pretoria News and Sunday Tribune, among others, established Isolezwe, the isiZulu daily newspaper. In November 2010, Avusa Media Group, publishers of Sunday Times, Sowetan, Business Day, Daily Dispatch and the Herald also introduced the isiZulu version of Sunday Times. Um Afrika is also now in the hands of Zico Investment-​Witness Group partnership. Interestingly, Media24, another major media conglomerate in South Africa, owns 50% of the Witness Group. The two model types can be differentiated along the following typology.

1.  Focus/​attention/​priority Local language newspapers in the mainstream model enjoy all the attention of the publishers because they are the only products in the organisation. Such local language newspapers do not need to compete for attention with the foreign language newspapers because they do not exist in the organisation. Publishers of such local language newspapers realise that the death of the newspapers means the death of the organisation  –​and their business in that regard. This is the situation with newspapers like Alaroye and Akede Agbaye in Nigeria, and UmAfrika (before 2002) and Ilanga in South Africa, for example. In contrast, local language newspapers published as subsidiaries in an organisation dominated by foreign language newspapers do not enjoy similar attention. In most instances, they are treated as appendages of the organisation. This may be evident physically in the amount of office space given to the editorial unit working on the local language newspaper. In matters of printing, the concerns of such newspapers come secondary. Imvo Zabantsundu suffered this fate under Perskor (Salawu 2013). In any event, they do not enjoy any priority. It is the same situation when it comes to canvassing for advertisements and circulating the newspaper. Advert executives in such organisations do not regard canvassing for adverts for the local language newspapers as a priority. This is, however, due to the general language apathy, particularly among the elites who are the advertisers (Salawu 1993, 2004a). The newspapers also do not enjoy any serious attention when it comes to circulation. The circulation desk of the organisation regards (and rightly so) the foreign language newspapers as the mainstays of the organisation. As such, all their plans are made with utmost reference to the foreign language newspapers at the expense of the local language newspapers. This was the fate of UmAfrika when its circulation was handled by Natal Newspaper Distributor (CCSU 1990, 12). Again, in the event the fortunes of the organisation plummet, the local language newspapers will be the first casualty. Gboungboun of Sketch Press, Iroyin Yoruba of ANN Plc and Imvo of Perskor are good examples in this regard. In the attempts to restructure to overcome the fiscal challenge, such organisations usually look for what are considered to be ‘drain pipes’. Unfortunately, local language newspapers published by such organisations fit this description because they do not yield the amount of revenue that foreign language newspapers yield in terms of sales and adverts. They are not seen as viable, and are therefore shut down in such

Introduction  3 circumstances. Such were the fates of the defunct Gboungboun in the also defunct Sketch Press Limited, and the defunct Iroyin Yoruba in African Newspapers Nigeria Plc, for example.

2.  Resources (sharing) –​men, materials, machines and marketing The advantage in having local language newspapers published by foreign-​ dominant language newspapers is sharing of resources. Specifically, local language newspapers published as subsidiary products benefit by sharing resources with the other newspapers. For instance, organisations having such products will only have a central administrative section, commercial (circulation and advert) section and printing section. The personnel who work in these sections serve all the products (either main or subsidiary) in the organisation. This is economical for the company. Materials and machines (e.g. printing) can also be jointly used for the various products. Similarly, the same circulation trucks or vans can be used for the circulation of the newspapers. Local language newspapers published as mainstream products do not have these advantages. They are published in smaller organisation and with smaller resources. However, for local language newspapers published as subsidiary products, while resource sharing may be an advantage, they do not usually benefit as much as they could from these opportunities, as they are regarded as mere appendages of the organisation. However, other than the model of management in which a local language newspaper finds itself, three factors stand out in determining the success of such a newspaper. These are the number of people who speak the newspaper’s local language, the power equation and resource allocation, and the ability of the newspaper to cater to the tastes of youths and urban elites in terms of language use and content. We shall look at the three points in turn. Number of local language speakers and cultural assertiveness Writing about the success of Zulu language newspapers in South Africa, Ndlovu (2011) asserts that ‘the pride which the amaZulu have in their language and the sheer size of the Zulu-​speaking market are phenomena that have led to … an increase in privately-​owned Zulu media platforms’ (278). The 2011 census in the country indicates isiZulu is the mother-​tongue of 22.7% of South Africa’s population, followed by isiXhosa (16.0%), Afrikaans (13.5%), English (9.6%), Sepedi (9.1%), Setswana (8.0%), Sesotho (7.6%), Xitsonga (4.5%), SiSwati (2.5%), Tshivenda (2.4%) and IsiNdebele (2.1%; Statistics South Africa 2012). Apart from this, ‘Zulu is the most widely spoken language after English … about 50% of the country understands it’ (see ‘Praise for New Zulu Paper’ 2011, 1; as cited in Ndlovu 2011, 279). In Kwa-​Zulu Natal province, 80% of the population is Zulu-​speaking, and 21.5% of residents of Gaunteng province speak Zulu at home. In Mpumalanga, Zulu is the second-​most-​common language (26.4%) after Swati

4  Abiodun Salawu (30.8%). However, it is not just the number of speakers of a language that matters; the cultural assertiveness of its speakers also goes a long way in determining it as a language in the public domain. Ndlovu (2011) moves this thesis further: Zulu media outlets, in political and cultural terms, are currently relatively dominant because of the historical pride of the amaZulu (Zulu people) towards Zulu (the language). … In cultural-​economic terms, Zulu media outlets are rising because of the comparatively larger numbers of Zulu-​speaking people in the South African linguistic market. (1) In earlier work (Salawu 2012) I reiterated this point about the popularity of a local language and the success of media outlets that operate in such languages. Specifically, print media exist in the Hausa and Yoruba languages, two of the major languages in Nigeria (some of which do well in the market) because of their relatively large sizes compared to the minority languages in the country. This point would explain the success of the Gaskiya Ta Fi Kwabo (Hausa) and Alaroye publications (Yoruba), for example. There is also the contention that the print media landscape in the Igbo language (the third largest language in Nigeria) is not that exciting, simply because the speakers of the language do not have as much cultural assertiveness as those who speak Hausa and Yoruba (see the interview granted by Professor Samuel Uzochukwu to The Guardian newspaper, 27 August 2004, 32–​33, as cited in Salawu 2006, 10; see also Nnabuihe and Ikwubuzo 2006, 54). Talking about political economy, it is the size of the Zulu-​speaking population that media corporations latch on to for profit. Citing Comaroff and Comaroff (2009) and Wasserman (2009), Ndlovu (2011) refers to this as the ‘commercialisation of identity and language’ (269). He notes that private media corporations in South Africa have, in the past 20  years, effectively and selectively promoted languages that belong to language groups with certain inherent historical demographic characteristics that are easily utilisable for profit. The media corporations (either local or international) have systematically opted to strongly support those indigenous language groups that individually and comparatively offer larger audiences and/​or higher and growing income levels. In specific terms, Ndlovu (2011) asserts: Media corporations targeting Zulu media consumers … support Zulu because of the bigger numbers of Zulu speakers/​media consumers, compared to other individual black ethnic groups. The Zulu group is also supported because of the size of its youth audiences, its growing middle class and the urbanization taking place in KZN. (270) The point that the size of a language alone is not enough for its economic viability is reiterated by Ndlovu (2011)when he writes:

Introduction  5 In addition, generally speaking media corporations support those language groups that … also have a long-​standing history of (and still strongly commercially viable) publishing and media consumption specifically in their own languages. As such, and with carefully calculated commercial risk, they have strategically set up new ‘traditional’ (radio and newspapers) and new ‘digital’ (online) media platforms among those groups that, despite globalisation and the persistent hegemony of English, still take strong historical, futuristic, political and cultural pride in their languages. (270, emphasis added) The issue of cultural pride (I prefer ‘assertiveness’) may partly explain why the Xhosa language is no longer doing so well in newspaper publishing, in contrast to Zulu. For example, Imvo Zabantsundu, the isiXhosa newspaper that existed between 1884 and 1997 was remarkable. Since its collapse, there has been no serious attempt to revamp it and no other mainstream isiXhosa newspaper has been established since then. I hinted at this (Salawu 2013) when I said that, until after the collapse of apartheid, the difference among the various Xhosa-​speaking peoples was well pronounced. The Xhosa nation was not united, but divided into Rarabe Xhosa (later known as Ciskei) and Gcaleka Xhosa (known as Transkei). Ciskei and Transkei were among the homelands created by the apartheid government across South Africa. Even within these two divisions there are sub-​divisions. These divisions also speak different dialects of the same language, and each claims superiority and higher purity over the other. The Igbo language in Nigeria also suffers this, as it is still embroiled in the conflict of finding a generally acceptable standard orthography (Emenyonu 2002). But by far the greatest problem that prevents the flourishing of African languages is not that of the politics of evolving a standard form, but of the attitude of most native speakers to their languages. This attitude is perhaps what is going well for the Zulu language; as Ndlovu (2011, 280) remarks, of the nine provinces that make up South Africa, KwaZulu-​Natal (the home of the Zulu) is, arguably, by far the most culturally (emphasis added), historically and politically conscious. Perhaps because of this Zulu cultural assertiveness, there has been a tendency for Zulu to be taken as representing all Nguni languages. Ndlovu (2011, 280) seemingly alludes to this when he says that Zulu belongs to the broader Nguni language group that incorporates Xhosa, Ndebele and Swati. The people who speak these Nguni variations mostly understand Zulu. While trying to answer why there are no mainstream newspapers in isiXhosa, for instance, and why media corporations have not been interested in investing in it (being the second largest South African home language), my previous conjecture (Salawu 2013) was that the investors probably do not see any need for an isiXhosa language newspaper, assuming that since both are Nguni languages, the isiZulu newspapers are enough to cater for all such languages and peoples. It is this vastness of speakers and ‘associated’ speakers of the Zulu language that media corporations have been exploiting to sustain old, and launch new, traditional media platforms. It is for this reason that the Zico Investment–​Witness

6  Abiodun Salawu Group–​ Media24 consortium bought in to the struggling UmAfrika in 2002. International media conglomerates are also taking a cue from the local media operators. In 2002, the Irish-​ owned Independent News and Media Group launched the highly successful Isolezwe, the only local language daily newspaper in South Africa and the only true daily newspaper in KwaZulu-​Natal (KZN; see AMPS 2010, as cited in ADS24 2011). The newspaper has become a household name among its readers, while its popularity is attested to by the fact that it sells, on average, over 100,000 copies per day (Salawu 2013). The Avusa Media Group was so impressed by the success of Isolezwe that, in November 2010, it launched the isiZulu version of its flagship and highly successful newspaper, Sunday Times. Meanwhile, Media24 group is also said to be interested in buying the 109-​year-​ old Ilanga from Mandla-​Matla, an investment arm of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP). Already, the newspaper’s subscription, circulation, advertising and marketing aspects are being handled by the conglomerate (Ndlovu 2011, 284). Power equation and resource allocation Writing about the political economy of indigenous language media in Nigeria, Oso (2006) notes, the use of any language within a multilingual society like Nigeria depends to a good extent on the power relations between the language groups within the country. In the case of the use of any language by the mass media, the economic potential of the speakers of such a language is also of crucial importance. Again, we cannot divorce this from the issue of power in the sense that resource allocation within a polity is a function of power and class relations. (178) The point here cannot be treated in isolation of the issue of the size of a language. There is a contention that the people of the major ethnic group always have better access to power and economic resources in the polity (Nnoli 1980). The political economy literature tells us there is a link between power and resource allocation (Murdock and Golding 1995). Ndlovu (2011, 270) makes it clear that media corporations are not only interested in the size of the audience of a language, but also in the audience’s comparative higher (and growing) income levels. He specifically mentions that ‘the Zulu group is also supported because of the … growing middle class and the urbanisation taking place in KZN. While Afrikaans consumers are exploited in terms of their buying power, the Zulu audience is seen as “aspirational” ’ (Ndlovu 2011, 270). Repackaging of content and format The increasing success of Ilanga (and its two extensions, Ilanga le Theku and Ilanga LangeSonto) is not due to any intervention by any media corporations. As stated above, Media24 indicated their interest in buying the newspaper, even though it is

Introduction  7 already involved in the advertisement, marketing and circulation of it. The newspaper is still in the hands of the investment arm of the IFP, that is, Mandla-​Matla. Ilanga titles are said to be commanding the highest readership in KZN (AMPS 2010, as cited in ADS24 2011). Its rising success is due to the repackaging of its content and format ‘to reflect the new content and format interests of Zulu newspaper consumers’ (Ndlovu 2011). The 109-​year-​old newspaper, on 12 November 2009, changed from broadsheet to a tabloid feel. This tabloidisation (see Wasserman 2010, 2006; Franklin et al. 2005) of Ilanga appeals to the taste of the Zulu urban youths and the middle-​class who are the targets of the merchandising capitalism. Thus, Ilanga is able to sell the crucial audience to corporate advertisers (see Croteau and Hoynes 2000). Ndlovu (2011) remarks that the tabloidisation of Ilanga and the launch of le Theku and LangeSonto speak not only to a change in Zulu audiences’ ‘tastes’, but also to a corporate mentality that is more interested in making money than it is in politics (284). In this quest for money, it is not only politics that has been made a casualty; language purity has also been jettisoned. The Zulu language in the newspaper is adulterated with English and with postmodern slang that have crept into the language. This is the language form that appeals to the targets and is understandable to them. Regrettably, this seems to be the reality with African languages in this postmodern age. Ndlovu (2011) similarly remarks, Zulu media are ‘caught up’ in this inconsistent and contradictory relationship that urban and middle-​class Zulu speakers have with Zulu and with English as a language. While Zulu is central to their collective ethno-​linguistic identity, English is central to their individual social mobility. The futuristic popular appeal of Zulu media seems to be based not only on the hybridization of Zulu with English, but also on the increasing accommodation of other linguistic varieties such as tsotsitaal (urban township street lingo) and other urban vernaculars. (273) This situation is similar to what is found with most Yoruba newspapers of today, particularly the Alaroye titles. It is said to be the most successful Yoruba-​language newspaper publishing venture today (Salawu 2004b). This fact cannot be divorced from their utter tabloidisation and hybridisation of the language. Interestingly, this is what appeals to the urban youths who have the ability both to purchase and read the newspapers. Salawu (2004b) notes: The emergence of Alaroye newspaper in 1996 marked a milestone in the affairs of Yoruba and, indeed, mother-​tongue newspapers in Nigeria. Within a short time, this newspaper became popular because of its arresting cover design and styles of headline-​casting and story presentation. (662) Alaroye titles code-​mix in their writings by using English words written in Yoruba orthography. One of the examples cited in Salawu (2004b, 668) is from a story,

8  Abiodun Salawu ‘Yee Siifu fee se mi lese, agbalagba omoota’. The excerpt from the story is the following: Nnkan to je ki n hapi nip e ta a ba maa se mareeji wa, awon aafa la ma ape, a o ni lo si soosi. Ati pe mo tun biliifu pe. (Salawu 2004b, 668) The headline itself contains an English word ‘Chief ’ written as ‘Siifu’. The little excerpt has four English words: hapi (happy), mareeji (marriage), soosi (church) and biliifu (believe). The point in all this is that these newspapers have to resort to this hybridisation of language to appeal to a mass audience and thereby engage in large-​scale production. This is in line with Bourdieu’s (1993) classification of the field of cultural production. What happens here is the sacrifice of cultural rejuvenation on the altar of profit. Unfortunately, this is the reality for African media and cultural production in the flux of globalisation. The postmodern culture of globalisation has made African languages, and all other languages on the fringe, vulnerable to the ‘bastardisation’ of their original configuration. They seem helpless in protecting themselves from being untainted by the pastiches of the languages of power. For the sake of pragmatism, African languages have succumbed to their plunder by the global language. The consolation would be that languages are supposed to be dynamic. Therefore, the inflections from English, for instance, is an indication of growth in African languages. Ndlovu (2011) makes a rather euphemistic remark of this: Though Zulu media are set to live long, Zulu itself as a language might be in for some linguistic transformation. The youth that most of the KZN media target, seem to show an orientation towards an impure form of Zulu, hence further reshaping Zuluness into popular culture. (287) Interestingly, UmAfrika, which folded in 2019 after operating for 90 years, held out as long as possible against the perversion of its ideals as a religious publication which, of course, meant its adherence to the pure form of Zulu, untainted by ‘worldliness’. The paper, established by a Catholic mission, Marianhill Monastery, started as a mission press. Even though UmAfrika, in the hands of the Zico-​ Witness Group partnership, was under secular corporate management in its later days, it refused to go the way of popular culture. Ndlovu (2011) remarks rather sarcastically: the paper’s continued association with a religious institution and its search for a serious and mature audience has limited its appeal in a depoliticizing South Africa, where the celebration of materialism and consumerism is becoming the norm. (277)

Introduction  9 This adherence to ideals may explain why UmAfrika was, while it lasted, the least successful of all local language newspapers in KZN. My earlier prediction (2015) seems to hold: ‘Time will however tell how long the newspaper can continue to rebuff the claws of capital demagoguery’ (310). The factor of government ownership is also critical to the growth and sustainability of indigenous African language media. Bukedde and Addis Zemen have proved the importance of this. Essentially, governments and non-​governmental organisations have a role to play in the development and sustainability of indigenous language media in Africa. The following chapters look at these issues in varying dimensions. The book is divided into six parts. Part I, ‘Political economy of African language media’, has two chapters. In Chapter 1 (‘The political economy of indigenous language media in Nigeria and the challenge of survival in the Digital Age’), Toyosi Olugbenga Samson Owolabi examines the interface of political, economic and digital elements and their effects on indigenous language media performance and sustainability. The chapter also seeks to understand the relationships of the state, the open market and the digital revolution, and how the collaboration, in a way, has affected the indigenous language press. In Chapter  2, ‘The politics of language and the underdevelopment of African language press in Zimbabwe’, Phillip Mpofu examines the influence of colonial and post-​independence language policies and politics, media economics and political economy on the structure, development and sustainability of the indigenous language press in Zimbabwe. The chapter concludes by exploring the prospects of African language press expansion and sustainability in the context of the aforesaid factors. Part II, ‘Mixed bag: failures and successes of African language newspapers’, contains five chapters. Chapter 3 seeks to ascertain why, despite remarkable resilience in the early eighties and late nineties, indigenous language newspapers have generally shut down, and those that remain now maintain a skeletal presence on the Zimbabwe media landscape. The chapter is titled, ‘In the dead end: the decline of the indigenous language press in post-​colonial Zimbabwe’, and its author, Allen Munoriyarwa, proposes measures that can be taken to resurrect the indigenous language press in Zimbabwe from its current doldrums. Chapter  4 interrogates the transformation of the Mmega Dikgang community newspaper from being a Setswana newspaper, to a Setswana–​English newspaper, and eventually to an English language newspaper. Bright T. Molale and Phillip Mpofu say the focus of the chapter, ‘Making sense of South African Mmega Dikgang’s transition from Setswana to English’, is three-​fold. First, the study examines the factors that led to the failure and demise of the indigenous language publishing agenda by Mmega Dikgang throughout its transition. Secondly, since scholarship on bilingual newspapers involving African languages is scant, this study analyses the reasons for the flop of the bilingual publishing in Mmega Dikgang, with Setswana being the victim. Thirdly, the study explores the prospects of Mmega Dikgang reverting back to publishing in Setswana. In Chapter 5, Maxwell Mthembu and Carolyne M. Lunga compare an isiZulu newspaper’s success with a siSwati newspaper’s failure. In the chapter, titled ‘The

10  Abiodun Salawu extinction of siSwati-​language newspapers in the Kingdom of Eswatini’, the authors explain the challenges faced by the siSwati language press that resulted in their failure and subsequent closure. They do this by comparing the failure of the siSwati press with the success of an isiZulu newspaper, Isolezwe. Next, ‘Indigenous language newspapers in Zimbabwe:  Kwayedza and Umthunywa and the struggle for survival’ is the title of Chapter  6. In it, Albert Chibuwe, using decolonial theory, seeks to render visible, through ethnographic interviews with journalists in mainstream media newsrooms across Zimbabwe, that which the colonial and/​ or Western history had rendered invisible. Based on the views of journalists, he specifically seeks to interrogate why indigenous language media perform badly. Obasanjo Joseph Oyedele and Jendele Hungbo conclude the section with Chapter 7, ‘Indigenous language media and the survival game: the Alaroye newspaper example from Nigeria’. Using an ethnographic methodological approach, the chapter explains the endangered survival of Alaroye as an indigenous language newspaper and what lessons can be garnered by investors and publishers, media professionals, readers and the Nigerian nation at large. Part III of the book focuses on ‘Management and sustainability of African language media’. The section contains three chapters and opens with Chapter 8 by Kehinde Oyesomi, Kevin Onyenankeya, and Oluwayemisi Mary Onyenankeya. In ‘Reimagining the future of indigenous language press in the Digital Era’, the authors argue that, unless there is a special-​purpose fund to support indigenous language newspapers, the publications might not be able to survive in the face of ubiquitous digital technology and a dwindling readership. Olutola Osunnuga’s Chapter 9 is titled, ‘A survey of the management, organisation, structure, content and columns of the contemporary Yorùbá newspaper’. In it, he provides insight into the management and operations of the contemporary Yoruba newspaper. Clement Adéníyí Àkángbé follows suit with Chapter 10, titled ‘The challenges of sustaining African language newspaper businesses: the Yorùbá language example from Nigeria’. A series of factors –​such as illiteracy in indigenous languages by so many people, particularly the youths and adolescents; orthographical problems; low readership; poor revenue; the high cost of papers due to importation; lean financial base; demographic changes; technological innovations in printing and consumers’ technological incapacities; digitisation; newspapers review programmes on radio; and ready dissemination of information on social media with ease –​are advanced to explain the waning fortune of Yoruba newspapers. The chapter concludes by offering a number of suggestions on how to sustain African language newspaper business. The (sub-​) theme of Part IV is, ‘Towards quality: African language journalism development’. Chapter  11, by Wendpanga Eric Segueda and David Anderson Hooker, opens this section and is titled, ‘The significance of African storytelling in journalism’. The authors observe that most journalistic work –​print, visual and audio  –​in African languages is conceived and produced following the Western model, which appears today as universal. They further note that the telling of stories in narrative structures that do not align with the cultures of the stories’ intended audience is subversively disruptive. Drawing on narrative theory, as well as Bourdieu’s and Vygotsky’s understanding of the power of language for

Introduction  11 knowledge creation and identity formation, the chapter highlights this fact as an aspect of the unsustainability of journalism in African languages. The Western mode of storytelling, which is simply transferred into African languages, does not match the ‘African ears and feelings’; the unique cultural spirit is not there, and the resulting journalistic output feels artificial to the broader audience. As a solution, the authors propose that, today, journalism in African languages should first tap into the typical cultural ways of passing information, which should then be adapted according to the contemporary context. The contribution from Ufuoma Akpojivi and Modestus Fosu, ‘African language journalism in Ghana and the quest for quality and sustainable broadcast journalism:  an investigation of Peace FM’, constitutes Chapter 12 of the book. The chapter examines and interrogates the issue of quality journalism in African language media using Peace FM as a case study. It avers that Peace FM has adopted the strategy of using indigenous linguistic and cultural knowledge to produce uniquely interactive news to engage with its audience as a way of achieving sustainability. Mbuyekezo Njeje and Albert Chibuwe round off this section with Chapter  13, ‘Editorial policies and the isiXhosa language newspapers at Caxton Media and Independent Media’. Their argument is that media companies that publish in isiXhosa do not develop the language, as they are Eurocentric in their outlook on running and managing a newspaper. Part V is titled ‘Focus on the broadcast media’. There is only one chapter in this section (Chapter 14); it is written by Tendai Chari and is titled, ‘News syndication and local language broadcasting in South Africa:  hegemonic infiltration or hybridity?’ The chapter examines the practice of news syndication on SABC indigenous language radio stations to broaden insights on the transformation of African language broadcasting in the context of globalization. In particular, the chapter investigates the rationale behind the practice of news syndication at Phalaphala FM, an SABC provincial radio station that broadcasts in the Tshivhenda language. The chapter interrogates why the radio station practices news syndication, how this affects the identity of the radio station, and its implications for indigenous language development and promotion. The last section (Part VI), ‘Borrowing a leaf ’, also contains only one chapter (15). It is a chapter that attempts a comparison between what obtains in Africa and Asia in relation to local language media sustainability. In ‘African language newspaper sustainability: lessons to learn from Asia’, I note that Asian language newspapers are, compared to a majority of their African counterparts, by far thriving well and, in a good number of cases, performing better than English language press in terms of circulation. This chapter highlights lessons that Africa can learn from Asia in terms of the development and sustainability of local language newspapers.

References ADS24. 2011. KZN Newspapers. Ilanga. Durban: Ads24. http://​ Bourdieu, P. 1993. The Field of Cultural Production:  Essays on Art and Literature. Cambridge: Polity Press.

12  Abiodun Salawu CCSU. 1990. UmAfrika:  Survey 1990. Durban:  Contemporary Cultural Studies Unit, University of  Natal. Comaroff, L., and J. Comaroff. 2009. Ethnicity, Inc. Durban: University of KwaZulu-​Natal Press. Croteau, D., and W. Hoynes. 2000. Media/​Society: Industries, Images, and Audiences. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press. Emenyonu, F. N. 2002. “Chinua Achebe and the Problematics of Writing in Indigenous Nigerian Languages: Towards the Resolution of the Igbo Language Predicament.” In African Writers and their Readers: Essays in Honour of Bernth Lindfors, edited by T. Falola and B. Harlow, 2:251–​272. New Jersey: Africa World Press Inc. Franklin, B., M. Hamer, M. Hanna, M. Kinsey, and J. E. Richardson. 2005. Key Concepts in Journalism Studies. London: Sage. Murdock, G., and P. Golding. 2005. “Culture, Communications and Political Economy.” In Mass Media and Society, edited by J. Curran and M. Gurevitch, 60–​83. London: Hodder Arnold. Ndlovu, M. 2011. “The Meaning of Post-​Apartheid Zulu Media.” South African Journal for Communication Theory and Research, 37(2): 268–​290. Nnabuihe, C., and I. Ikwubuzo 2006. “A Peep into News Publications and Reading Culture in Igbo Language of Nigeria.” In Indigenous Language Media in Africa, edited by A. Salawu, 42–​59. Lagos: CBAAC. Nnoli, O. 1980. Ethnic Politics in Nigeria. Enugu: Fourth Dimension Publishers. Oso, L. 2006. “A Political Economy of Indigenous Language Press in Nigeria.” In Indigenous Language Media in Africa, edited by A. Salawu, 175–​195. Lagos: CBAAC. Salawu, A. 1993. “A Study of Selected Vernacular Newspapers in Nigeria.” M.Sc. thesis, University of  Lagos. Salawu, A. 2004a. “The Yoruba and their Language Newspapers: Origin, Nature, Problems and Prospects.” Studies of Tribes and Tribals, 2(2): 97–​104. Salawu, A. 2004b. “Contents and Style of Alaroye News Publications.” In Language and Culture in Nigeria: A Festschrift for Okon Essien, edited by Ozo-​mekuri Ndimele, 661–​669. Aba: NINLAN and Port-​Harcourt: Emhai Printing and Publishing Co. Salawu, A. 2006. “Paradox of a Milieu: Communicating in African Indigenous Languages in the Age of Globalisation.” In Indigenous Language Media in Africa, edited by A. Salawu, 1–​20. Lagos: CBAAC. Salawu, A. 2012. “Some Preliminary Findings Concerning the Non-​ Existence of Newspapers in the Minority Languages of Nigeria”. Studies of Tribes and Tribals, 10(1): 35–​45. Salawu, A. 2013. “Stunted Growth: An Exploration into the Failures of African Language Newspapers, Imvo Zabantsundu in Focus.” Ecquid Novi:  African Journalism Studies, 34(2): 73–​92. Salawu, A. 2015. “A Political Economy of sub-​Saharan African Language Press: The Case of Nigeria and South Africa.” Review of African Political Economy, 42(144):  299–​313. doi: 10.1080/​03056244.2014.988695 Statistics South Africa. 2012. “Census 2001.” Statistics South Africa.​ publications/​P03014/​P030142011.pdf Wasserman, H. 2006. “Tackles and Sidesteps:  Normative Maintenance and Paradigm Repair in Mainstream Media Reactions to Tabloid Journalism.” Communicare, 25(1): 59–​80. Wasserman, H. 2009. “Learning a New Language: Culture, Ideology and Economics in Afrikaans after Apartheid.” International Journal of Cultural Studies, 12(1): 61–​80. Wasserman, H. 2010. Tabloid Journalism in South Africa. Bloomington: Indiana University  Press.

Part I

Political economy of African language media

1  The political economy of indigenous language media in Nigeria and the challenge of survival in the Digital Age Toyosi Olugbenga Samson Owolabi Introduction The politics of language and power are somehow controversial and, in most cases, are volatile, especially in most African countries. This explains why there have been battles for supremacy among ethnic groups, languages and culture as to which is superior and which is inferior in multi-​ethnic and multilingual settings. Since the advent of colonial government in Nigeria, for example, three languages –​Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo –​have been involved in the struggle, having gained prominence over other languages. The consistent government patronage the three languages have enjoyed not only placed them at an advantage but also guaranteed the standardisation of their orthography and their status as functional languages of education and instruction in schools, and languages of communication in politics, economics and the media. It is noteworthy that, in 1859, the pioneer newspaper in Nigeria, Iwe irohin (the newspaper for the Egbas and the Yorubas and founded by Reverend Henry Townsend) was first published in Yoruba and later in English. Later, other indigenous titles followed. It is, however, shocking that the history of indigenous languages and the related press has been characterised by a high mortality rate, largely due to little awareness and patronage, as well as what Salawu (2017) refers to as the onslaught of globalization, which has rendered many languages across the world unpopular. Although, it came much later, the history of private ownership of electronic media followed a similar pattern. In 1936, the colonial government in Lagos started the radio distribution service (re-​diffusion) to relay programs from Daventry to Nigeria. Subsequently, in 1951, the Nigeria Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) was established by the national government with headquarters in Lagos and three regional stations in the three regions into which the nation was divided (Kalejaye, Atofojomo, and Odunlami 2006). The need to break the monopoly of the national government’s use of television and radio broadcasting prompted the western regional government to establish its stations (Western Nigeria Broadcasting Corporation) in 1959 and 1960, respectively. Between 1960 and the late 1970s, each of the nineteen states in Nigeria had its own radio and television stations. By 1993, licenses were also issued to private individuals to own and operate private radio and television stations and this singular

16  Toyosi Olugbenga Samson Owolabi event marked the end of the government’s monopoly of the broadcast media. As of today, there are 265 radio stations and 149 television stations in Nigeria (Nwulu et al. 2010). Out of this, there are thirty-​two licensed radio stations in South-​West Nigeria; federal and state governments own nine stations each, while fourteen stations are privately owned. It is only Radio Lagos 107.5 FM (Tiwan-​n-​ tiwa) that broadcasts all its programmes in indigenous languages. Others broadcast in only English or English with a little content in the local language (Oyero 2010). This is why there has been apprehension concerning the survival of over 400 Nigerian indigenous languages due to foreign language dominance, especially English (Ajepe and Ademowo 2016). There is also the probable tragedy of more Nigerian youths losing their mother tongue (Sunday et al. 2018). This, according to Ohiri-​Aniche (2014), is being fuelled by parents’ disinterestedness in communicating with their children in the native languages. It was Onukaogu (2002, 13)  who gave the graphic picture of the degree of apathy towards indigenous language learning among Nigerian youths when he disclosed that nobody has studied Efik (a language in the southern part of Nigeria) in the senior secondary schools in the past fourteen years. Similarly, it was discovered that, while all the students (123,300) that sat for the Senior Secondary School Examination in May/​June 2018 in the southwest of Nigeria registered for English, only 1,560 students (0.8%) enrolled for Yoruba. The same affliction of indigenous languages has also affected the indigenous language media. It is not an exaggeration to say that the media industry, especially the indigenous languages in various parts of the world, has distinguished itself in its unique role of shaping and transforming society by inducing socio-​political and economic changes. For instance, Iwe Irohin was reported to have stimulated political awakening among the native Egbas and the Yorubas of South-​West, Nigeria. Similarly, there is Isolezwe, a prominent indigenous language newspaper among the Zulus in South Africa. It has become a household name among its readers for its role in creating an identity for the Zulu community. Isolezwe is reported to have lured readers away from English language media (Salawu 2019, 89), thus creating cultural distinctiveness while also engendering political assertiveness in relation to power and resource allocation for the isiZulu people. Increasingly, more Nigerians who are supposed to be reading the indigenous language newspapers and listening to indigenous language radio and television broadcasts tend to abandon indigenous language media for English. Despite a series of attempts to change the drift and to encourage patronage through price reductions of indigenous publications, there appears to be no significant improvement. For example, while the English daily newspapers are sold for N250, indigenous language papers carry a N100 cover price. The more (Western) education a person acquires, the less competence they are likely to have in indigenous languages and, of course, the more their interest in local language and culture diminishes. Evidence abounds that, of the twenty-​seven indigenous newspapers established between 1859 and1960, a period of 101  years, only Irohin Yoruba and Gaskiya Tafi Kwabo existed after Nigeria’s independence (Omu 1978; Duyile 1989; Salawu 2006). From 1960 to the present, a period of 59 years, forty-​three

Indigenous language media in Nigeria  17 indigenous language newspapers were established, but only Iroyin Yoruba, Alaroye, Akede Agbaye, Ajoro, Kayemo, Akede Afirika and Al-​Mizan still circulate today (Owolabi 2014; Sunday et al. 2018). The competing influence of the digital revolution and the harsh reality of the distressed economy vividly illustrated by the high cost of production, soaring debt, downsizing, retrenchment, declining advertising revenue and steady cutbacks in circulation rates, among others, have equally signalled a gloomy future for the industry. It is against this backdrop that this chapter examines the interface of political and economic elements and their effects on indigenous language media performance and sustainability. Also of concern is our understanding of the relationships of the state, the open market and the digital revolution, and how their collaboration has affected the development of the indigenous language press. Finally, the chapter presents feasible strategies for indigenous language media to cope in the present environment of economic and political uncertainty.

Language, ethnicity and power struggle in Nigeria The capacity to exchange knowledge, ideas, beliefs, opinions and feelings through the use of language is exclusively human. Language is not only a tool for interpersonal communication but also useful in mass mediated messages. This, perhaps, is the basis of the definition of language as a system of communication that consists of a set of sounds and written symbols used by the people of a particular country or region for talking or writing (Collins English Dictionary n.d.). Nigeria is a multi-​ethnic state with about 400 languages and 5,000 dialects (Omu 2008). These languages can be classified into three groups, according to Oso (2006, 177): 1. three dominant ethnic groups: Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo; 2. the regional or state languages:  Edo, Efik, Ibiobio, Fulfude, Igala, Ijaw, Kanuri, Nupe, Tiv, Urhobo and Itshekiri; and 3. languages used by relatively fewer people in small districts, divisions or local government areas within some states –​Egun and Awori in Lagos State, Ebira in Kogi State, Etsako, Ishan, Isoko, Owan and Akoko-​Edo in the present day Edo State, and Bariba in Kwara State, among others. Of the three categories, the languages in the first group came into prominence during the colonial period and were visible in the areas of politics, education and the economy. Apart from functioning as instruments of preserving ethnic identity and culture of the three largest ethnic groups in Nigeria, they also command more speakers than others. Besides, they have standardised orthography as well as several books written on them. There are also some public and privately sponsored research institutions working on each language’s development. Oso (2006) notes that, apart from enjoying better treatment in both prints and electronic media, the three languages are equally accorded national recognition by each succeeding government and the private sector within the political and economic spheres.

18  Toyosi Olugbenga Samson Owolabi While contributing to indigenous language discourse, ethnicity and power struggles in a multi-​ethnic society, Kivikuru (2004) notes that ‘changes in language and language use have always reflected changes in power structure’ (100). It is therefore not surprising to see the three ethnic groups occupying the centre stage of politics and the economy. This may also be the reason why the intense rivalry amongst them coloured the direction of political and constitutional development in Nigeria. It is noteworthy, however, that despite Nigeria’s plural-​ ethnic configuration and the popularity of the three major languages, English still remains the official language of power and influence. This is because there is no consensus among the various ethnic groups that constitute Nigeria as to which of the three dominant languages should be promoted to the status of a national language. The languages in the second and third groups are referred to as minorities. Most are used either in state or local government as channels of communication and for cultural transmission and identification. It is therefore not surprising to note that if any attention at all is paid to the minority languages, it is perhaps at the local level and, on rare occasions, at the state level. This also explains why most minority languages are neither popular outside the local communities nor command considerable numbers of users. Moreover, they are not used as languages of education in schools or languages of communication in the media. It is important to note that there is a strong relationship between language and ethnicity, though the latter is broader in scope. The concept of ethnicity, according to Omu (2008), ‘applies to the consciousness of belonging to, identifying with and being loyal to a social group distinguished by shared cultural traditions, a common language, in-​group sentiment and self-​identity’ (88–​89). In Nigeria, before the advent of the colonial government, the over 400 ethnic groups cohabited harmoniously without any sense of superiority of one over the other. Ethnicity started to acquire fanatical and hostile connotations when the fear of domination and superiority fostered by socio-​political and economic elements crept into the association. It is against this backdrop that Omu (2008) notes that political and economic rivalries engineered by the colonial government were the factors that fuelled ethnic consciousness in Nigeria. According to Ahanotu (1982), the political and economic marginalisation created by the uneven distribution of democratic privileges were instrumental to ethnic agitation and anxiety. It was to create platforms for joint action against local and international uncertainties that ethnic union began to spring up in different parts of Nigeria. In 1918, no fewer than 25 ethnic-​based unions were already established with the following objectives (Noah 1988, cited by Omu 2008): • • •

to foster humanitarianism, cooperation, unity and goodwill among the people; to encourage elementary and higher education and learning and to plan improved educational facilities; to promote the study of indigenous languages, culture and history of the people; and

Indigenous language media in Nigeria  19 •

to endeavour to preserve and reform wherever necessary the national culture, institutions, traditions, laws and customs of the people. (92–​93)

It was from that moment that ethnic encroachment began to contaminate the spirit of nationalism and undermine the unity and cohesion that once characterised the relationship among the six geopolitical zones of the nation. Going by the above clarifications, the connection between the use of language and power with regards to ethnic relations is evident when we reflect on the influence and spread of the English language around the world (Oso 2006). This goes to show that, for any nation to play an active role in globalisation politics and the economy, it must understand the language of interaction, which includes English, French, German, Russia and Chinese among the leading international languages.

Nigerian political economy of the media: an overview To fully appreciate the concept of political economy, it is necessary to first have a proper clarification of the concept of ‘economics’. According to the Department of Economics (n.d.) at the University of Buffalo, ‘economics is the study of scarcity and its implications for the use of resources, production of goods and services, growth of production and welfare over time, and a great variety of other complex issues of vital concern to society’ (as cited in Business News Daily 2012). The central thrust of economics, then, is to provide a rational way of looking at issues, drawing upon history, philosophy and mathematics with the purpose of solving problems that range from how individuals or businesses can make sound financial decisions to combatting poverty, shrinking unemployment, reducing inflation, preventing environmental decay and a great variety of other complex issues of vital concern to society. If economics is the study of the optimal use of scarce resources, political economy is concerned with how political decisions affect economic choices with the intent of increasing riches and power in a society. Specifically, it is the connections between political and economic factors, or an interface of the state and the open market and how the collaboration engenders understanding of media development in any society. Globally, political economy of the media has gained popularity among media and communication scholars. This explains why many research efforts have been channelled towards mass communication and media as commodities that are produced and distributed by profit-​seeking enterprises operating in a capitalist market. It is important to note that the media in modern society have become a large business empire with certain expectations. It is against this background that Popoola (2019) notes that the study of the political economy of the media is important because the media must, first and foremost, be seen as sustained industrial and commercial organisations with a focus on production and distribution of commodities for profit. One can infer from this that the political and economic principles operating in a society impinge on mass communication and mass

20  Toyosi Olugbenga Samson Owolabi media structures, convention and performance. This is also in line with the basic assumptions of the normative theories that seek to locate the media arrangement and operation within the environment in which it operates (Hallin and Mancini 2004). How the media are best able to successfully operate within the political system in spite of legal and economic constraints determines their economic survival or otherwise. Whenever the political economy of the media is discussed, certain key issues stand out. These, according to Aderibigbe (2019), include media ownership, media markets and media funding. Other salient issues include media commodification and commercialisation, media diversification, media integration and media concentration and competitiveness in the market (Popoola 2019, 6). A careful scrutiny of the above shows that they are potential determinants of media survival. They therefore present certain pertinent questions:  To what extent are media organisations in general and the indigenous language media in particular affected by the politics and economy of the state? To what extent do the elements of political economy affect the indigenous media framing and shaping of editorial content in Nigeria? Are the media organisations in general and indigenous language media in particular essentially industries and profit-​oriented businesses? What are the implications of Nigeria’s political economy on professionalism and ethical standards of indigenous language media? How has the political economy of the nation affected the social responsibility of indigenous language media? As emphasised earlier, the media are, first and foremost, business organisations, producing goods and services for profit. The economic and profit considerations are believed to be responsible for the type of media organisations available in Nigeria and what they produce. The economic dislocation affecting the country since the early 1980s has taken a toll on every business including the media. Specifically, the government (federal and state) and other private media owners have been cash-​ strapped and unable to meet their financial obligations to their organisations. This has led to the death of virtually all the regional newspapers except The Observer, which was owned by the then midwestern government. Although, economic adversity appears to have spared the broadcast media, the fact remains that they are also not performing optimally, as staff welfare and programmes transmitted daily are nothing to write home about. In contemporary Nigeria, the media –​both print and electronic –​have assumed full-​blown corporate structures, which signalled the end of the political press as well as the commercialisation of media content. Market forces have become a major regulating influence on the management and production process. Thus, the survival of any media organisation depends essentially on its ability to generate a large and stable reading and listening audience for advertisers (Oso 2006). It is important to also note that the advent of commercialisation of the media has also led to the death or decline of the indigenous language media. This is due to the fact that the indigenous language media have been unable to generate enough audience for the advertisers. Besides, the high cost of running media outfits, coupled with the limitations of publishing and broadcasting in indigenous languages and not a national language, have proved disastrous for the indigenous

Indigenous language media in Nigeria  21 language media. In recent years, media owners have resorted to using various strategies to win advertisers and stay afloat. For example, the English print media turned to reporting specialised strategic sub-​sectors of the economy, such as banking and finance, telecommunications, and property and estate management, which are considered to be growing areas. The broadcast media, on the other hand, adopt interactivity and audience engagement, entertainment and music, and linkage with the social media platform where most youths operate. The indigenous language media are not left out. While newspapers use sensational headlines for stories of public interest, such as politics and entertainment, lifestyle, photographs and stories that focus on women, health, cooking, and fashion, to shore up their readership, their broadcast counterparts employ newspaper reviews of important stories and editorial opinions in the English tabloid, phone-​ in programmes, religious, sports and security broadcasts, among others, to attract more audiences to their stations. According to Musa Alao Adedayo, the publisher of Alaroye, an indigenous language newspaper in the South-​West of Nigeria, the paper prints 50,000 copies and sells 80–​85% of all copies printed. The publisher added that the 20-​year-​old Yoruba tabloid sells more copies than either the Tribune or the Guardian (Nigeria). In spite of its sales volume, the paper is still not a boon to advertisers because its reading audience does not fall within the elite category, who are the primary focus of most advertisers. English is believed to be the language of the urban elite.

Indigenous language use in the mass media There is a symbiotic relationship between the media and society with a focus on nation building. The media are believed to be agents of transformation and development to the society. It is pertinent to mention that, before a nation experiences modern development, there is a need to disseminate development messages, especially to the grassroots. The rural communities need the message to propel them to participate actively in the development process. The media through which such messages are communicated cannot but be perceived as important. The BBC World Service understands this, as it launched Igbo and Yoruba language services in Nigeria as part of an expansion in local languages aimed at more in-​ depth reporting on countries around the world. The BBC six-​year research report, according to a This Day editorial (Vanguard 2018), has shown that broadcasting in more indigenous languages is the sure pathway to development in Nigeria. This is why Salawu (2006a) reiterates that indigenous language media are the best channels for carrying development information to the grassroots, as well as ensuring language and cultural continuity. It is for this purpose that Oloruntola et  al. (2018) assert that indigenous language media are central to cultural and knowledge transmission from one generation to another. It also offers a clear way of bridging the communication gap between the literate urban and rural indigenes to which they are targeted (Olukotun 2006). Despite the potency of local languages as channels of communication in the media, the Nigerian government appears lukewarm in matters of developing

22  Toyosi Olugbenga Samson Owolabi indigenous languages. The government has not encouraged investors to apply for indigenous language media licenses. This explains why the NBC, since its inception in 1993, has not granted licenses to anyone to float exclusively indigenous language broadcast media. What we have is a mixture of both English and the local languages, depending on the location and philosophy of the station. Olukotun (2006) particularly notes that, with the strict regulation of broadcasting licenses by NBC, it is difficult to obtain approval for a private all-​indigenous language radio or television station. This is true to the extent that even the recently licensed community radios were only mandated to have their programmes at a ratio of 40:60, local language and English, respectively. A more critical index of national media limitations is its elitist character and urban-​centred bias, which are responsible for why it cannot effectively carry development messages to the rural areas where more than 90  million Nigerians live (Owolabi 2014). The media entrance into the digital platform has further widened the information gap between the rural and urban centres. Most rural settlers are either not sufficiently literate to access media content through the latest digital applications, or are not wealthy enough to purchase the tools needed to participate in information sharing. The situation is made more worrisome when it is observed that most newspapers and broadcasting organisations have no reporter in the rural communities to cover events there. The only time events in the local areas do attract reporters is when a disaster occurs in the villages or when a politician is on a campaign visit. This is why most news reports in the Nigerian media are largely about city centres. Notwithstanding this perceived limitation, ‘the fact still remains that indigenous languages fare better in the broadcast media than in the print media, indicating that African culture still remains largely an oral culture’ (Adedeji 2015, 10). Since the advent of the pioneer indigenous language newspaper, Iwe Irohin fun Awon Egba ati Yoruba, in 1859, some other indigenous languages have been used as languages of communication in the media (i.e. newspapers, magazines, radio and television). According to Jowitt (cited in Oso 2006), no fewer than forty-​four Nigerian languages have been used by radio and television for daily broadcasts while few others have been used by print media. Today, according to Adedeji (2015), about eighty-​five languages are being used for radio broadcasting in Nigeria.

Political economy as a challenge to indigenous language media The establishment of media organizations is intricately linked with the political structure operating in many developing countries, especially Nigeria (Folarin 2005). This assertion is premised on the assumption of the normative theories of the press, which locate the media structure and performance within the environment in which it operates. According to Hallin and Mancini (2004), ‘the press always takes on the form and coloration of the social and political arrangement within which it operates’ (42). The above claim is true to the extent that, since the

Indigenous language media in Nigeria  23 advent of Iwe Iroyin, the pioneer newspaper in Nigeria and its other successors have played critical roles in fighting on the sides of the nationalists to gain political independence in 1960. In addition, the role of the media can also not be overemphasised at every juncture of Nigeria’s move towards installing democratic government. It also allowed a plurality of ideas and, by keeping the government on its toes, made it effectively satisfy the people’s information quests (Kalejaye, Atofojomo, and Odunlami 2006). It is noteworthy that, in spite of what the media have achieved politically by spearheading the fight to uproot military rule in Nigeria and other African countries, this does not reflect in its present dismal economic status. The media industry in general, and the Nigerian indigenous language media in particular, are presently experiencing economic hardships vividly exemplified by high inflationary trends, high import duties payable on equipment, prohibitive costs of production, low purchasing power on the part of the media audience, poor infrastructure and underfunding. In addition, Freedman (2010, 35)  observed that newspapers and magazines, in particular, are imperilled as a result of audiences declining and shrinking advertisement revenue in the face of increasing competition from online news providers. All over the world, the print media industry is experiencing a distressing situation. According to Usher (2010, cited in Owolabi and O’Neill 2013), the competing influence of new media and the harsh reality of the 2008 global recession has occasioned steady cutbacks in circulation rates and signalled a gloomy future for the industry (Pew Research 2009). Data obtained from the United States reveals that over 15,000 people have lost their jobs out of 56,000 employed in the industry in 2008 (Pew Research 2009). The Detroit Free Press and the New York Times, two leading newspapers in the US were hit hard by the economic downturn, thus necessitating a downward restructuring of their home delivery service to thrice a week, while some of their unviable subsidiaries were wound down (Lendon 2008; Pena 2009; Ware 2009). The situation in France is equally horrible as former President Nicholas Sarkozy had to embark on a bailout strategy to prevent some badly affected newspapers from closing down (Chrisafis 2009). In the United Kingdom, the print media industry is not doing any better. Available statistics revealed that newspaper readership is steadily declining. For instance, the Guardian was reported to have experienced about a 5% drop of its circulation, and The Times withstood a 1.57% decline within a space of one year (WANIFRA 2008). Another research report also discovered that there was a 19% fall in the segment of British adults reading a national daily paper between 1992 and 2006 (House of Lords 2008, 11). The report also added that circulation of national titles fell by a similar amount –​from nearly 13.2 million in 1995 to just over 11.1 million in 2007, a reduction of 22% –​while local newspaper circulation declined from nearly 48 million in 1989 to 41 million in 2004, a fall of 15% (Williams and Franklin 2007, 11). If the general state of the newspaper industry in the United States and Europe is that scary, it should not be difficult to envisage the state of the news media among developing nations.

24  Toyosi Olugbenga Samson Owolabi In Africa, particularly in Nigeria, the universal economic meltdown exacerbated by corrupt practices and a lack of probity and accountability in governance has dramatically altered the outlook of the media industry, indicating a high debt profile, downsizing, retrenchment and a drop in circulation; in extreme cases, they mostly resorted to closing operations. Recent findings revealed that fifty-​one newspapers were established between 1880 and 1937, a period of 57 years. This consisted of fourteen dailies, thirty-​three weeklies and four monthlies. Except fifteen provincial weeklies, all these newspapers were established in Lagos. Of the fifty-​one newspapers, only one, the Daily Times of Nigeria, survives today; all others, except the West African Pilot and the Daily Service, which survived until the early 1960s, were rested. Between 1937 and 1960, a period of 23 years, thirty-​nine newspapers were established, of which only the Nigerian Tribune is still publishing. Between 1960 and 2008, a period of 48 years, 168 newspapers and 48 magazines were established. Only forty-​three of the former and fifteen of the latter are still operating, and they are all based in the Lagos and Ibadan axis of Nigeria (Omu 1978; Duyile 1989). The situation with indigenous language print media is even more worrisome than for media in the European languages. The story of indigenous language media in Africa is largely characterised by a high mortality rate. Perhaps this is the basis of Salawu’s (2019) argument that, to manage indigenous language media nowadays has become an imperilled venture that stands the risk of extinction. A cursory peek into the history of African language media presents a frightening picture of an industry with a bleak future. Between 1859 –​when the pioneer newspaper, Iwe Irohin fun Awon Egba ati Yoruba, started as an indigenous newspaper in Abeokuta, Nigeria –​and 1996, a period of 137  years, thirty-​seven indigenous language newspapers were established in different parts of the country. Apart from Gasikiya Tafi Kwabo (established in 1939 by the northern regional government), Iroyin Yoruba (1945) and Alaroye (1996), which continue to circulate, others became defunct within about five years (Omu 1978; Owolabi 2018). While lamenting the high mortality rate among indigenous African language press, Salawu (2019, 34) also notes that, in 1930, there were nineteen indigenous language newspapers in South Africa; virtually all are non-​existent today. The story is the same in Ghana. In the 1990s, there were newspapers in fifteen Ghanaian languages, but as of 2015, a great number had become defunct. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) once had about 150 periodicals in local languages; none is in circulation today. The constantly changing socio-​political and economic situations in Africa within the last five decades have produced considerable effects on the state of indigenous language media. The political aspect stems from a lack of governments’ willpower to develop any of the indigenous languages to the status of official languages or for instruction in schools. This should not be a surprise to anyone who is familiar with the happenings in most plural-​ethnic and multilingual settings like Nigeria. The years between 1985 and 1988 were regarded as a watershed in the economic history of Nigeria. The period was characterised by severe economic

Indigenous language media in Nigeria  25 recession, vividly illustrated by huge debt portfolios (internal and external), escalating inflation, joblessness, poverty, inability to pay workers’ salaries and political instability (Iyoha and Oriakhi 2002). In fact, Nigerian creditors no longer have confidence in the economy that was then changing like weather. The then military administration was confused about how to address the plethora of problems. Thus, the World Bank and IMF, two of Nigeria’s foremost creditors, had to wade in by prescribing the Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) as the only potent economic therapy that could resuscitate the economy. Among other indices, SAP as an economic emergency programme gave preference to private-​sector-​driven economic programs against public-​sector-​led options (Marcellus 2017). The bitter content of SAP as prescribed by the creditor institutions included serious pruning of government spending on social services, privatisation and commercialisation of government corporations, and a 69 percent devaluation of Nigerian currency. The implementation of these policies led to the privatisation and commercialisation of almost all government corporations and enterprises, including print and broadcast media at the state and federal levels. Expectedly, this was the genesis of a declining fortune of many media organisations, especially print media. Some of the broadcast media could not generate new educative programmes or replace their decrepit analogue facilities. The print media also experienced a considerable drop in circulation figures. To change the trend, various strategies (ethical and unethical) were adopted to stay afloat and shore-​up the circulation rate so as to attract more advertisers. Such strategies, according to Oso (2006, 192), included casting sensational headlines, colour printing, specialised beat reporting, commercial printing, profiling political officeholders and giving spurious media awards, in most cases, to clearly undeserving beneficiaries. Given the above circumstances, indigenous language newspapers were badly affected by the open market forces occasioned by the commercialisation of the press. The inability to generate reasonable advertising patronage led to the death of many, while a few others are still struggling to survive. The growth of the newspaper industry since 1979 indicates a strong relationship between the economic class and those who wield political power. This, according to Owolabi (2014), is why most independent media houses, both print and electronic, are either owned by politicians who are part of the ruling class or businesspeople and contractors who identify with a political group and enjoy government patronage. These publishers with political and commercial interests usually bring their influence to bear on reporters and editors in terms of news selection, therefore hindering balancing, objectivity, accuracy and media responsibility to society. As Ayedun-​Aluma and Tijani-​Adenle (2014) rightly observed, owing to the profitability orientation of most media proprietors, they give preference to English language media because it is through this that they can mobilise large audiences that are attractive to advertisers. To them, indigenous language media are limited in coverage, which is why they are usually starved of advert placements. Subsequent to the SAP era, another noteworthy shift occurred in the focus of media management. The media industry suddenly changed its social responsibility

26  Toyosi Olugbenga Samson Owolabi ideology to become a large commercial entity with an eye on profits. Most independent media proprietors and the chief executives of publicly owned media have become shrewd businesspeople with a knack for balancing politics with economics. It is against this background that Abati (2000) states that the sustenance of any newspaper depends on its ability to attract a large readership, which in-​turn appeals to advertisers. This is true in view of the fact that the government and multinational corporations constitute key players and the largest advertisers in the media market, which media managers cannot afford to antagonise. The effect of the commercial philosophy of the press is twofold. One, the media could no longer be entirely trusted with the traditional watchdog role because, according to Curran (2000), it has been observed that the traditional belief fails to consider the unlimited influence of big shareholders in private business, which the media have lately become. This means that the media, being a vast business empire, must also be watched so as not to constitute an instrument of oppression. Two, it necessitates giving preference to English as the language of publication and broadcasting instead of indigenous languages. The reason is that English usage cuts across linguistic and cultural boundaries and is the language of urban elites who are the main targets of the advertisers (Oso 2006).

Indigenous language media practice in the Digital Era The Digital Age, according to IGI Global (2014), is a time frame in global history when the use of digital technological products, networks and devices are prevalent over traditional methods. The digital age started with the widespread use of the Internet. This technology is by far the most noticeable catalytic agent behind media proliferation in the Digital Era. This displays profound effects on all levels of journalistic enterprise to the extent that it speeds and alters the practice of the profession as never before. Today, journalism in general is experiencing a rare moment in history where, for the first time, its hegemony as a news gatekeeper is threatened not just by digital technology and competitors but potentially by the audience it serves (Chukwu 2014). Nigerian journalists were initially held back from embracing digital technologies due to what Ganiyu and Akinreti (2011) outlined as challenges of funding, infrastructural deficit and a dearth of personnel. Notwithstanding, in the last fifteen years, digital technology has significantly transformed the way journalists work. With new digital tools, the newsroom procedure, including text processing and layout design, has changed drastically. Besides, there is the later incorporation of digital audio and video editing processes in the radio and television newsrooms, thus leading to digital content management systems that allow the newsrooms to store news material in databases for future reference (Boczkowski 2004; Garzia et al. 2004). This dynamism ranging from news gathering to editing, storage, searching and retrieving, as well as dissemination, constitutes part of online journalism’s uniqueness. For each of these activities, digital technology offers journalists a growing capacity to accomplish their goals with ever-​increasing efficiency and

Indigenous language media in Nigeria  27 promptness. It is important to note that these technologies are becoming increasingly more powerful for and affordable by smaller media organizations. Deuze (2003) identifies three dominant features of digitization that are fundamental to the possibility and dynamism of online journalism. First, he identifies interactivity, which he defines as ‘the ability for readers or audiences of online content to react to or interact with and even adapt news content presented to them’ (206). Second is multi-​modality, which he perceives as ‘the technical capability to deliver news content in multiple platforms, such as text, video, audio and animated graphics’. Third is the feature of hyper-​textuality. Dueze (2003) describes this as ‘the ability to connect the story from one news sites to other stories, archives and related sites among others, through hyperlinks’ (206). Unlike the major newspapers, the Nigerian indigenous language newspapers are lagging far behind in embracing digital technologies. Alaroye, published in Yoruba by the World Information Agents, and the Al-​Mizan, a Kaduna-​based publication in the Hausa language, are the two most popular indigenous language newspapers in Nigeria. Alaroye uses digital technologies only for news gathering and linkages among correspondents on different beats and the newsroom, as well as news processing (i.e. typesetting, editing, proofreading, page planning). According to Salawu (2019), Alaroye has a Facebook account on which it displays photographs and receives comments from its readers. The page was inactive and unresponsive when an attempt was made to navigate it. The same is true for Al-​Mizan, meaning ‘the scale’; it is one of the most widely read Hausa language newspapers in Nigeria (Salau 2006). As a radical Islamic newspaper, it is published by an Islamic group of Shiites, headed by Sheikh El-​Zaky-​Zaky. The webpage of the paper is empty, except for its name. According to Ajikanle-​Nurudeen (2018), all the major English newspapers and magazines in Nigeria, such as The Punch, The Sun, This Day, Vanguard, The Guardian, Daily Independent, The Nation, Daily Trust, The News, News Watch, Tell Magazine, The Times of Nigeria, Sahara Reporters, The Cable, Premium Times, and Daily Nigeria, among others, maintain a strong web presence to disseminate news using digital technology. In Nigeria, the defunct Post Express, managed by the late Dr Stanley Macebuh, is widely acknowledged as the pioneer Nigerian newspaper to migrate its content to the Internet in 1996 (Kperogi 2011). Like many newspapers at the time, the Post Express merely recycled its print content on the Web. Apart from running 24-​hour online news platforms, these national newspapers and magazines also have mobile applications available. Digital newspapers open new ways of storytelling; through the technical components of the medium, online journalists can provide a variety of media, such as audio, video, digital photography and even embedded stories. Social media audiences react to news items, which adds credibility to the content. They also offer a link to videos on YouTube, provide a platform for blogging where visitors can post their comments, and maintain a presence on Facebook and Twitter for increased social interactivity. It is important to note that digital applications provide many opportunities for indigenous language media, many of which have been left untapped. Apart from the fact that it considerably improves their operations, especially in the area of

28  Toyosi Olugbenga Samson Owolabi news gathering, processing and dissemination, digital technology also fast-​tracks breaking news delivery and paves the way for interactivity and audience engagement through the Internet. It is one of the best ways of interacting directly with readers and discovering what they want. Despite the prospects it brings to media practice, digital applications lead to a decrease in print newspaper circulation, and this in turn leads to fewer sales and lower revenue (Freedman 2010). For example, all the popular newspapers in Nigeria today (seven in number) do not sell more than 150,000 copies daily (Ashibogwu 2019). Most of their readers prefer to read their stories online at no cost.

Survival strategies in the Digital Era Globally, the media in general, and print in particular, are experiencing a decrease in circulation and declining advertising revenues, as readers and advertisers are turning to digital alternatives due to immediacy and the interactivity of the Internet (Picard 2002). It is important to note that the digital revolution is not the sole factor posing problems for print media. As can be observed clearly in Nigeria, print is also affected by the poor state of the economy. If the English tabloids are not exempted, it is apparent that indigenous language outlets will not be. The question arising now is, how can the indigenous language newspapers survive the threat from online developments? In view of the present reality, if the indigenous language media is ever to function at its best and be made financially independent to contribute to the socio-​economic development of the state, it must immediately embrace the digital revolution of the Internet. This is what KPMG’s Richard Bawden (see Freedman 2010) calls ‘diversification‘. Indigenous language news providers can re-​create themselves as fully integrated news businesses by providing online as well as offline news. Since virtually all the English news organisations in Nigeria now have a Web presence, nothing stops the vernacular language media from also developing credible and viable online alternatives. These digital technologies provide news organisations with ample opportunities to engage new and diverse audiences with the purpose of compensating for declining circulation and advertising rates. YouTube channels, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other micro-​blogging platforms can boast hundreds of thousands of readers in the diaspora that the hard copies will certainly never reach. In this era of ‘fake news’, indigenous language newspapers can also take advantage of their credibility to attract more online readers. Aside from advert insertions in newspapers, the digital platform can also be used by the print sources to boost revenue. Google AdSense, Analytics and sponsored posts, among others, are tools that can be used to grab a considerable share of the prospects available in online platforms. This explains why Ifijeh (2019) suggests that there is an urgent need for a change in the business model of newspapers in Nigeria, both English and indigenous language sources. For ages, the media business has been running on credit –​copies

Indigenous language media in Nigeria  29 are given to agents on credit, adverts are published on credit –​thus leaving owners and managers at the mercy of agents and advertisers. In other sectors, payment is made before services are rendered, but in the media industry, products are consumed before payment is made. This explains the high debt experienced in many print organisations, which oftentimes go bad and are written off. On the issue of underfunding, Minnie (2007) suggests that small media houses could form a consortium. Specifically, they could pool their resources to establish joint importation of newsprint and other production materials. They can also distribute printed copies and negotiate for advertisement rates collectively. In South Africa, the Association of Small Independent Local Newspapers was established to give the members strong bargaining power when making purchases in the market. Two or more indigenous media houses can also come together under a merger arrangement to form a bigger organisation. According to Owolabi and O’Neill (2013), media houses with a similar editorial focus may join through a merger, to form a bigger organisation under a new name or by retaining one of the old names (usually the one with the larger capital base), or they may be retained through an acquisition. According to Graves (2010, 9), between January and May 2007, about 372 mergers occurred across the world in the media industry, with some of them involving American-​based companies. Through mergers and acquisitions, media organisations can shore up their capital base. The partnership can also enable them to distribute ‘branded content’ more widely (Freedman 2010). BSkyB, for example, is working with mobile phone companies to extend the reach of Sky News. Financial experts have also argued that the stock market is a very good source for raising funds to support existing businesses, but which media proprietors in Nigeria hardly patronise. Most Nigerian media proprietors are believed to prefer being a sole owner, even if it is a dying medium, than to approach the stock market that may warrant divesting some of their shareholdings to other investors. There are examples of media organizations across the globe that actually sourced funds from the capital market by divesting part of their existing shareholdings for sale to the public in the form of stocks. The Media Works (NZ) Limited, a New Zealand television broadcast group, was once in financial crisis and, in 2004, a Canadian broadcast group acquired 100% of the group’s shares through the capital market, renamed it Can West Media Work (NZ) Limited, and eventually sold 30% of its share interests to the public. The same method was adopted to bail out PBL Media, an Australian media group that owns stakes in nine broadcast networks and ACP Magazines. African Newspapers Limited (ANL), the publisher of Tribune titles and the oldest surviving independent newspaper in Nigeria, adopted this method for survival in 1998 when it ran into a financial crisis (Owolabi and O’Neill 2013). US-​based Google similarly purchased Double Click for US$3.1 billion, while Yahoo acquired the shares of Right Media for US$680 million (Graves 2010). Owolabi (2014) also advocates institutional assistance by the United Nations and other international development agencies to establish a Media Development Fund that could provide assistance in funding and training of media practitioners in developing countries. The problem with this suggestion is that, in most cases,

30  Toyosi Olugbenga Samson Owolabi when financial assistance is provided, Nigerians are quick to divert such funds into unintended projects. The same thing happens when training and manpower development programmes are organised, many proprietors and editors-​in-​chief would hardly release their staff for such exercises. Their thinking is, who will do the daily reporting if two or three editorial staff are released, especially in situations where a single reporter reports, edits and plans pages for both prints and online editions? Furthermore, they believe such an opportunity may quickly prepare the beneficiary for better roles in other organisations that will pay them more. There is also the need for indigenous language newspapers to invest in human capital development, especially in the area of digital and online journalism. This would enable journalists to multi-​task at a lower cost. A journalist can report for offline and online sources in the same medium at no extra cost to the organisation. In this era of information and communications technology (ICTs), there are windows of entrepreneurial opportunities that indigenous language media can explore to generate more income. According to Owolabi and Suleiman (2019), media can diversify into the areas of commercial printing, photography, book publishing, book binding, graphic designs and managing of event centres, among others, to strengthen their capital base and remain uncompromising to ethics and professional standards.

Conclusion and suggestions In this chapter, it has been observed that the political economy of the Nigerian state has, in various ways, played significant roles in weakening the position of indigenous language media. As a plural-​ethnic and multi-​lingual society with about 400 ethnic groups, only three languages –​Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba –​have gained significant popularity. This is because of the national recognition accorded them by the government and the private sector within the political and economic spheres. Although the pioneer newspaper in Nigeria was published in vernacular before the English edition followed, English publications appear to be more popular. This chapter has traced the factors responsible, including the interplay of the existing political economy, media ownership, power struggles, resource allocation and the digital intrusion. For Nigerian indigenous language media to survive and to further popularise the use of local languages to official status and language of the media, this paper proposes the following: A paradigm shift on the part of the indigenous language media owners to adjust to market tastes by including youth-​ friendly content and, most importantly, a migration to digital platforms, as young people tend to obtain information from online sources rather than reading hard copies. On the government’s part, language policy that favours English cannot be anything but detrimental to the development of indigenous languages. It is therefore incumbent on the government to allocate more resources for indigenous language development while also putting in place a policy that will make passing an indigenous language at the college level a precondition for taking up employment in Nigeria. In addition, bills could be sponsored in the national and state

Indigenous language media in Nigeria  31 assemblies making indigenous languages the official language of communication. These steps will encourage Nigerians, especially the youths, to take interest in their indigenous language.

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2  The politics of language and the underdevelopment of African language press in Zimbabwe Phillip Mpofu

Introduction This chapter is an exposition of the interplay between the politics of language and the underdevelopment of African language press in Zimbabwe, from the colonial period to post-​independence. The purpose is pursued by analysing the impact of colonial and post-​independence administrative language policy and practices on the acknowledged underdevelopment of African language press in then Rhodesia and present-​day Zimbabwe. The study demonstrates the manifestation of language politics and its impact on the structure, management, performance and sustainability of African language newspapers in this country. Mpofu and Salawu (2018a) maintain that present research in the areas of language and media exhibits a lack of interdisciplinarity that uncovers the fundamental and wide-​ranging forces that shape African language media. Thus, a disjuncture between language and media studies is noted since the two fields tend to be treated as unconnected and with trifling overlap (Mpofu and Mutasa 2014). As a result, linguists have largely studied African language newspapers by focusing on linguistic and sociolinguistic aspects at the cost of examining historical, economic and political factors that shape language choices and use in the press, and broadly the limited use of African languages in the press (see Mapara and Nyota 2007; Chirimuuta 2017). On the other hand, media academics have focused on the historical development of the press from colonial to post-​independence Zimbabwe (see Saunders 1999; Mukasa 2003), the journalistic styles and political economy of African language press (see Mabweazara 2006, 2007), and the press and democratisation issues (see Moyo 2003; Mukasa 2003). Evidently, the outlined bodies of scholarship on language and media do not grapple with the politics of language exhibited by language composition in the press, or the national language policy and practices that influence the structure, underdevelopment and instability of African language press in Zimbabwe. Therefore, this chapter is a response to the above-​mentioned knowledge gap, since it probes the impact of language politics on the state, and the underdevelopment and unsustainability of African language newspapers in Zimbabwe. The intersection of politics of language and the underdevelopment of the African

36  Phillip Mpofu language press has been under-​studied. Yet, existing literature recognises the interface of language with economics, politics and technology, among others factors (see Spolsky 2004; Ricento 2006). This study assumes that language configuration in the press, in general, and in African language press, in particular, cannot be taken for granted because language reflects and has an impact on power structures; in essence, language use is part of symbolic politics (Pelinka 2007). Existing scholarship shows that Zimbabwe is characteristically a multilingual nation that comprises several languages, including Ndebele, Tonga of Mudzi, Nambya, Tswana, Shangani, Sotho, Dombe, Xhosa, Venda, Tonga, Tshwawo, Kalanga, Chibarwe, Sena, Doma, Chikunda, Chewa and Shona (Ndhlovu 2006). However, there is complex and protracted competition between English and African languages from colonial Rhodesia to present-​day Zimbabwe (Magwa 2015). There is also significant competition between dominant African languages –​ Shona and Ndebele –​and minority languages (Nyika 2008; Ndhlovu 2009). Lastly, there is contestation within the Shona and Ndebele groups as colonial inventions that comprise dissimilar and competing language groups (Mpofu and Salawu 2019). In a nutshell, the politics of language in Zimbabwe is characterised by language competition, hegemony, marginalisation and exclusion. Against this background, the study shows how language ideologies and practices in colonial and post-​independence press, and the historical development, structure and management of African language press, are a creation of colonial and post-​independence politics of language. Thus, the study investigates the sustainability of African language press in the context of historical, institutionalised and prevailing dynamics of language politics. The chapter is a significant contribution to the meagre scholarship on the impact of language politics on the underdevelopment, management and sustainability of African language press, and on African language media in general. This qualitative and interpretive study is principally a review article that is largely based on existing conceptual and empirical work in the areas of language and media. The chapter synthesises literature on colonial and post-​independence language policy and practices with research on the structure and underdevelopment of the press in colonial and post-​independence Zimbabwe.

Language questions in the press and the politics of language Exposing language imbalances and addressing the language issue in the press, and subsequently analysing the structure, management and sustainability of African language press in present-​day Zimbabwe, can be enhanced by mapping out the beginnings of the press and its growth from the colonial period to post-​ independence. Thus, to demonstrate the interplay between the politics of language and the underdevelopment of African language press, it is important to explore colonial and post-​independence language policy, ideologies and practices. This background raises the point that the problems in the structure, management and sustainability of the African press are to some extent a reflection of

African language press in Zimbabwe  37 Zimbabwe’s colonial and post-​independence language politics and ideologies that favour English at the expense of African languages and marginalise other African languages in favour of Shona and Ndebele. Language questions in the press: from colonial to post-​independence Zimbabwe The underdevelopment and structure of the print media in Zimbabwe today is linked to the inception, structure and role of the press in then Rhodesia, where the colonial settlers’ interests antagonised the black population (see Mukasa 2003; Moyo 2003). At its beginnings, mainstream print media in colonial times were controlled by white colonial settlers. Consequently, the settlers ensured that newspaper content conveyed colonial interests and ideology to consolidate their control on the economy and politics of Rhodesia. According to Mukasa (2003), the first newspapers established, all by 1894, were The Mashonaland Herald, Zambesian Times, The Rhodesian Herald, and The Bulawayo Chronicle. Afterwards, The Sunday Mail and The Sunday News were founded in 1934 and 1935, respectively. All of these newspapers were owned and controlled by the white settlers and were defensive of colonial interests (Mpofu and Salawu 2018b). This is a clear indication that the establishment of newspapers was not aimed at the native black population, but was primarily meant for the white colonists. However, it is also worth noting that the 1950s witnessed the establishment of newspapers that were also meant for the marginalised black population. The newspapers were edited by blacks, thanks to the rise of black activist politics and journalism. According to Saunders (1999), such newspapers included the Bantu Mirror (previously Native Mirror) and The African Daily News; these papers were printed by Africans for Africans. Despite the fact that these newspapers were edited by blacks and targeted the black community, it is worth noting that they were owned by whites. These publications reported on issues that were centred on African nationalism and against the colonial regime. However, as the titles of the newspapers suggest, the publishing language was predominantly English (see Mpofu and Mutasa 2014; Mpofu and Salawu 2018b). Although the newspapers were intended to serve the alternative black population, they largely served the educated black elites who stayed in Harare and Bulawayo. Under these circumstances, where target readers were, in the first instance, white settlers, and secondly the educated black elites, publishing in African languages was not a priority in the mainstream press. While there were nationalist and church newspapers that included African languages in varied dimensions, they never developed to become part of the mainstream media in colonial Zimbabwe due to incessant persecution by the colonial regime (see Mukasa 2003; Dombo 2014). Church publications included the Moto, published by the Catholic Church, and Umbowo, printed by the United Methodist Church. The Moto printed content in Shona and Ndebele, over and above English. According to Mpofu and Salawu (2018b), while the attainment of independence in 1980 sparked a strong zeal to deracialise and decolonise the media, the

38  Phillip Mpofu language of newspapers remained predominantly English; moreover, the content of post-​independence press generally reflected the interests of the new black elite (Moyo 2003; Mukasa 2003). Currently, the print media industry is dominated by state-​controlled newspapers that are printed and run by Zimbabwe Newspapers (Zimpapers). These newspapers include the main dailies (The Herald and The Chronicle), popular weeklies (The Sunday Mail and The Sunday News), the provincial newspaper (The Manica Post), and the two African language weeklies (Kwayedza and uMthunywa). The state-​owned English language newspapers contest for the market with the independent and community press, which are all published in English. Against this background, this study questions why the print media landscape, both state and privately owned papers, predominantly print in English long after the departure of the colonial regime that controlled the press. I  also examine why there are only two African language newspapers, representing two African languages, in a country with many African languages. Ultimately, the findings illustrate the interwoven relationship between colonial and post-​independence language policy, ideologies and practices, and language usages in Zimbabwe’s press after independence. Paying particular attention to the underdevelopment of Zimbabwe’s African language press, existing literature shows that no fully fledged African language newspaper was developed during the colonial era (see Mpofu and Mutasa 2014; Mpofu and Salawu 2018b), though languages such as Shona and Ndebele had reasonable standard orthographies from the 1930s and beyond. The first and only existing African language newspapers are the weeklies, Kwayedza –​which literally denotes ‘dawn’ in the Shona language  –​and uMthunywa  –​which means ‘messenger’ in Ndebele. The titles evidently signify a new era in print media. Mabweazara (2006) reveals that, whereas the founding of Kwayedza in 1986 was followed by its sustained existence, uMthunywa had a false start. uMthunywa was originally established in 1985 to cater to the Ndebele-​speaking audience. However, the newspaper faced sustainability problems due to low circulation. In 1987, uMthunywa was reduced from a twelve-​page tabloid to four pages, and in 1988, it was combined with Kwayedza, resulting in the name of the newspaper changing to Kwayedza-​uMthunywa. The year 1993 marked the demise of uMthunywa as the Ndebele section in Kwayedza-​uMthunywa was removed. According to Saunders (1999), the death of uMthunywa was caused by the newspaper’s failure to establish itself as an alternative source of information since it was a mere Ndebele translation of English language newspapers. This history indicates that African languages have not received much attention in mainstream print media, from colonial to present-​day Zimbabwe. The colonial period is dominated by English language newspapers, with few African languages being included in nationalist and church publications that did not last long. Post-​ independence Zimbabwe is also marked by the dominance of English language newspapers (both public and private). In fact, there are only two existing African language newspapers (Kwayedza and uMthunywa), which were introduced well after independence. This reflects the paucity of newspapers in other African languages that are spoken in Zimbabwe. If the formation of African language newspapers

African language press in Zimbabwe  39 was inspired by the need to ensure ‘that urban news and events, including official news are read alongside news and events on rural development and the hopes and aspirations of the rural people’ (Government of Zimbabwe 1987, 4), I argue that it is imperative for all African languages spoken in Zimbabwe to be included in the press. The exposition in this section has also uncovered the instability and unsustainability of Zimbabwe’s African language newspapers as typified by their struggle to survive and contend with the rivalry of English language newspapers. Mpofu and Salawu (2018b) show that Kwayedza’s and uMthunywa’s survival has been threatened by the imperious competition from established English language newspapers. Therefore, this study shows that English dominance, and the two African languages –​Shona and Ndebele –​have negatively shaped the structure, management and sustainability of African language press in Zimbabwe. Politics of language, language policy and practice in colonial and post-​independence Zimbabwe The previous section interrogated the language question, particularly the position of African languages in colonial and post-​independence press. To show the influence of colonial and post-​independence politics of language on the underdevelopment of African language press, this section reviews literature on Zimbabwe’s sociolinguistic landscape and language politics from the colonial to post-​independence periods. Existing literature shows that, typical of most African countries, Zimbabwe is characteristically multilingual. The country’s geopolitical borders do not follow linguistic demarcations such that, over and above English –​the ex-​colonial language –​the country consists of many African languages (Hachipola 1998; Ndhlovu 2006). According to Magwa (2010), Zimbabwe has roughly 23 languages. Shona is the most predominant, spoken by approximately 70% of the nation, followed by Ndebele at around 20%, with the rest of indigenous languages speakers constituting 10% of the population. Moreover, Section 6 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment No. 20 Act (2013) records sixteen languages as ‘officially recognised languages’; they are Chibarwe, Chewa, Xhosa, Venda, Tswana, Tonga, Sotho, sign language, Shona, Shangani, Ndebele, Ndau, Nambya, Koisan, Kalanga and English. However, despite having a diverse linguistic landscape, and constitutional recognition of sixteen languages, the colonial and post-​independence public domains do not reflect that linguistic diversity. Rather, colonial and post-​independence language policy and practices have been characterised by different forms of linguistic hegemony, marginalisation and exclusion (Mpofu 2019). To start with, there is a consensus in the existing literature on the overarching dominance of English in the colonial and post-​independence public domain (see Magwa 2010; Kadenge and Nkomo 2011). During colonialism, there was no written language policy, but the colonial settlers’ language practices promoted the use of English (Makoni, Dube, and Mashiri 2006; Magwa 2010). The medium

40  Phillip Mpofu of instruction in then Rhodesia’s education system was solely English (Magwa 2010). The aim of the education system was to produce pupils who could read and speak English fluently at the end of seven years of schooling at the primary level. Thus, English was firmly entrenched in the public domain as the language of government, business, media and education, as well as the language of upward social mobility and wider communication (Magwa 2010). This marked the beginning of the marginalisation of African languages into less important and informal domains, such as family and cultural spheres. Therefore, I demonstrates how this colonial language policy and practices that favoured English affected the underdevelopment of the African language press during the colonial period and into the post-​independence period. Though there have been remarkable efforts towards raising the status of African languages, existing literature shows that the position of English in Zimbabwe’s post-​independence public domain has not significantly changed. Since independence, there has not been a comprehensive and written language policy (Mpofu and Mutasa 2014). Ndhlovu (2009) identifies a number of policy documents that reveal the country’s language policy and language planning activities. These include the Education Act of 1987, the Cultural Policy of Zimbabwe, the Position Paper on Zimbabwe’s Language Policy, the National Language Policy Advisory Panel Report and the Nziramasanga Report on Education and Training in Zimbabwe, among many others. In spite of the observation in the above paragraph, the Education Act is the major document that has been cited as having clear instances of language policy. Kadenge and Nkomo (2011) argue that this Act is responsible for the entrenchment of English hegemony in the education sector and society at large. The Act strengthens English as the sole medium of instruction from the fourth grade, onward. As a result, existing scholarship unanimously agrees that English is the main language in the public domains of mass media, education, business, politics, law, government and many other formal spheres (see Magwa 2010; Kadenge and Nkomo 2011). Though the number of first-​language speakers of the language is negligible, English has acquired prestige and functional value as the main language in key public domains. On the basis of the colonial and post-​independence fact that English is the dominant language in these major sectors, this study shows how it has shaped and stunted the growth of African language newspapers. While the general perception by most linguists in Zimbabwe is that there is a dualistic opposition between English and African languages, there is also a body of scholarship that rejects that position and maintains that language contact and unfair competition also exist among African languages (Omoniyi 2009). Thus, Ndhlovu (2009) daringly declares that Shona and Ndebele are ‘killer languages’ that threaten the existence of other languages in regions where they are spoken. Hence, there is a distinction between majority and minority languages (now referred to as previously marginalised languages). This marks a break-​away from the usual discourse that treats English as hegemonic to African languages. There are also African languages that are powerful at the cost of other languages that are spoken by only a few.

African language press in Zimbabwe  41 It is worth noting that the dominance of Shona and Ndebele in post-​ independence Zimbabwe has roots in colonial administrations’ language ideologies, policies and practices. The colonial regime focused on the development of numerically or politically dominant languages, which functioned as regional lingua francas (Day 1985). In this regard, colonial language practices underprivileged the growth of other African languages in the public domain. In then Rhodesia, the missionaries and the colonial government supported the development of Shona and Ndebele for economic reasons. Clement Doke’s (1931) Report on the Unification of Shona Dialects confirms the Rhodesian colonial government’s involvement in managing and regulating linguistic diversity (Makoni 2016). Based on Doke’s 1931 recommendations, Rhodesia was delimited into Shona-​and Ndebele-​speaking regions. This marked the beginning of Shona and Ndebele hegemony in education and other public domains, including the media. At independence in 1980, Zimbabwe simply inherited the colonial policy and practices that favoured English, Shona and Ndebele (see Magwa 2010). The Education Act of 1987, in particular, buttressed the pre-​eminence of Shona and Ndebele as media of instruction at elementary levels of education, and English from the fourth grade to the tertiary level. As a result, though Zimbabwe is a multilingual society, it is has continued to be perceived as a bimodal civilisation of the Ndebele and Shona (Ndlovu-​Gatsheni 2013). Therefore, though English language newspapers are said to be threatening the existence and growth of African language newspapers, it is also critically important to show how the elevation of two major languages, Shona and Ndebele, from colonial to post-​independence Zimbabwe, have impeded the development of newspapers in languages such as Sotho, Tonga, Ndau and Venda, among others that are officially recognised. Another observation made in existing scholarship is that, while Shona and Ndebele are dominant African languages at the expense of other minority languages, between them, Shona enjoys more supremacy than Ndebele as a result of socio-​political power and cultural domination (see Hachipola 1998; Ndlovu-​Gatsheni 2013). With regards to public broadcast media, Mpofu (2014) demonstrates Shona’s dominance as a major African language of broadcasting, since it is used in popular broadcasts of national significance, in most cases with no alternative versions featuring other African languages. Where there are versions in Shona and Ndebele, it is a given that Shona broadcasts are always presented first. This chapter shows the replication of this kind of language politics in the establishment and development of the Kwayedza and uMthunywa newspapers. Existing research also shows that Shona and Ndebele are socio-​ political constructs that are marked by internal variation. To start with, Shona is a collective noun that comprises linguistically discrete people with distinguishable dialects that include Karanga, Zezuru, Korekore and Manyika. Prior to the enactment of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment No. 20 Act in 2013, Ndau was previously part of the Shona language. The standardisation of Shona was conducted based on Zezuru as the standard (Doke 1931), resulting in the dialect enjoying supremacy over others (Mpofu and Mutasa 2014). Likewise, the Ndebele group is also a mixed construction built by the merging of multiple linguistic identities

42  Phillip Mpofu that include the Ndebele of Nguni, Lozwi, Tswana, Kalanga, Tonga, Venda, Nyubi, Kalanga, Venda, Shona, Sotho and Birwa (Mazarire 2009). This exposé confirms the view that the so-​called African languages are colonial inventions with a complex history and composition (see Zeleza 2006). This means that Shona and Ndebele are socio-​political constructs that comprise several mutually intelligible language varieties brought together by the linguistic engineering process of standardisation. Therefore, this chapter shows how the level of language politics for African languages explain some of the developments that have been witnessed in the structure and composition of Kwayedza and uMthunywa.

The politics of language and hegemony This chapter deploys elements of the politics of language, linguistic hegemony and Salawu’s (2015) models of African language press management. Pelinka (2007) regards language politics or politics of language as a concept that is based on the understanding that language is political and should therefore be observed and examined as a political phenomenon. This is because language is one of the pivotal factors in building nations that can include and exclude at the same time. In the politics of language, linguistic relations are created by social relations; in other words, linguistic relations reflect social relations (Balockaite 2014). Language is viewed as an instrument in political conditions that can be used to dominate, or to resist domination (Joseph 2006; Pelinka 2007). Political intrusions or political decisions in linguistic matters manifest through language policy, policy documents, parliamentary debates, legislation, speeches and school curricula, among others (Joseph 2006). In Joseph’s terms, language is an object of political practices and decisions. As a result, particular language ideologies depict power relations between speakers, groups or within the state (Balockaite 2014). Based on this theorisation, this chapter illuminates how the underdevelopment of African language press reflects micro and macro political interventions on language choice, or how the colonial and post-​independence political interventions on language use shaped the structure, management and unsustainability of the African language press. The political interventions in linguistic matters espoused in the preceding section bring to the fore the idea of unfair competition among languages, which results in language polices or legislation that promote some languages and marginalise others. Therefore, this study also deploys the concept of linguistic hegemony to describe the unbalanced language choices and usage in Zimbabwe’s colonial and post-​independence press. According to Suarez (2002), linguistic hegemony exists when dominant language groups create a consensus by convincing others to accept their language norms and usage as standard or pragmatic. Therefore, using this concept, this study demonstrates how the entrenched English hegemony has stifled the development of the African language press, and how the hegemony of Shona and Ndebele has contributed to the underdevelopment of newspapers in other African languages spoken in Zimbabwe.

African language press in Zimbabwe  43 To explain how the management of Zimbabwe’s African language press reflects the politics of language explained in the previous section, the chapter applies Salawu’s (2015) mainstream and subsidiary models of African language press management. The mainstream model involves an African language newspaper that exists as a major product of a media institution. On the other hand, in the subsidiary model, an African language newspaper exists as a secondary product of an English language media organisation. Using these models, I demonstrate that the management of Zimbabwe’s African language newspapers reflect the subsidiary model. Kwayedza and uMthunywa exist as subsidiaries of the English language newspapers at Zimpapers’ Herald House in Harare, and The Chronicle House in Bulawayo, respectively. This scenario symbolises the embedded politics of language in the underdevelopment of African language press in Zimbabwe.

The politics of language and the underdevelopment of African language press in the colonial period The sections above critically recounted the beginnings and evolution of the press from colonial to post-​independence Zimbabwe. The idea was to address the language questions in colonial and post-​independence press. Therefore, special interest was given to the presence, evolution, structure and management of African language newspapers. On the other hand, the sections chronicled the politics of language and the ensuing language policies and practices of the respective periods, with particular interest in the status of African languages. This section demonstrates the interplay between the politics of language and the underdevelopment of African language press from colonial to post-​independence Zimbabwe. In the process, I expose the problems of the structure, management and sustainability of African press, and demonstrate how Zimbabwe’s colonial and post-​independence language politics and ideologies contribute to the underdevelopment of African language press. As theorised earlier, language use is a political occurrence that originates from existing socio-​political relations, such that the political interventions or political decisions at the micro or macro levels in linguistic matters will always influence language use and practice (see Joseph 2006; Pelinka 2007). Thus, particular language ideologies depict power relations between speakers, groups or within the state (see Balockaite 2014). The language of the press in then Rhodesia was perceptibly English. The press was set up and controlled by the white colonial settlers for themselves, and not for the black Africans. Primarily, the content was customised to carry colonial ideology to enhance the colonial settlers’ grip on political affairs and the economy. Therefore, the mainstream newspaper industry assumed English as the working language because language could not be separated from the content and the target audience. Though the 1950s witnessed the establishment of newspapers edited by blacks and meant for the marginalised black population, regrettably the language of the press was predominantly English. African nationalism and nationalistic

44  Phillip Mpofu journalism are movements that were championed by the educated black elite population, therefore, their newspapers were intended for this kind of black population, which was largely stationed in urban centres. The African nationalist press adopted English because educated black elites were products of colonial-​and English-​medium education systems. Furthermore, English was the language of political discourse among the African nationalists, and counter-​discourse against the colonial settlers. Furthermore, the nationalist and church newspapers that included African languages to different extents, such as the Moto and Umbowo, never developed to be part of colonial mainstream media. This corresponds with the broad language policies and practices of that particular time. Though there was no written national language policy, English was the language of the colonial public domain and was promoted through the colonial education system and other institutions. The foregoing discussion indicates that the colonial media system did not function autonomously from other public domains. English was firmly entrenched in politics, government, business, education and as a language of upward social progression and international integration. The language of newspapers during the colonial period mirrored the dominant political power of that time, that is, British colonial rule. African language newspapers were not prioritised in Rhodesia’s colonial socio-​political and economic conditions. The target population, as well as the political economy of the press at its inception in then Rhodesia, favoured the use of English as the working language. Therefore, this chapter shows that the period and conditions in which the press industry was founded gave birth to English hegemony in the press, as well as the marginalisation of African languages. This section has indicated the contiguous interplay of the politics of language and the underdevelopment of African language newspapers during the colonial period. Colonial rule, and the entrenched English hegemony in the colonial public domain, explain the absence of African language newspapers in colonial mainstream media. In other words, the absence of African language newspapers in the colonial period reflect the language politics and ideologies of the time. The language preferences in both the white-​settler-​owned and the so-​called African press during the colonial period were synchronised with the language politics of the time, as well as the policies and ideologies of the colonial settlers. The period marked the beginning of the marginalisation of African languages, and their relegation into the comparably unimportant and informal social domain. The politics of language and the underdevelopment of the African language press in post-​independence Zimbabwe As the existing literature shows, Zimbabwe’s attainment of independence is characterised by continuities of media policy (see Moyo 2003; Zaffiro 2002), as well as language policy and practices from the colonial to post-​independence eras (see Kadenge and Nkomo 2011; Makoni, Dube, and Mashiri 2006). This means that the language, content and management of the press, in general, and the

African language press in Zimbabwe  45 underdevelopment of African language press, in particular, is a reflection of the colonial press, as well as colonial language ideologies, policy and practices. At independence, the Rhodesian Printing and Publishing Company Limited changed its name to Zimbabwe Newspapers (Zimpapers), and simply inherited what are major state-​owned newspapers today. The newspapers included The Herald (1891), The Chronicle (1894), The Sunday Mail (1935), The Sunday News (1930) and Manica Post (1893). Therefore, though Zimpapers prides itself as having been established in 1980, the year the country gained its independence from colonial rule, it is a paradox that it runs other newspapers whose years of establishment are in the 1890s and 1930s, many years before independence. This indicates that the press in present-​day Zimbabwe is largely a colonial bequest. Besides inheriting the publisher, the antiquated newspapers also inherited the language of publication. The majority of Zimpapers’ publications are printed in English, including some that were established well after independence, such as The Southern Times (2004), H-​Metro (2009) and B-​Metro (2010), among others. The state-​ owned English newspapers compete with the entirely English language private newspapers, which include NewsDay, The Independent, The Daily News and The Standard. What is striking in the language of newspaper publishing in Zimbabwe is that the newly independent nation only recently introduced African language newspapers –​ Kwayedza (first published in Shona in 1986) and uMthunywa (published in Ndebele; initially introduced in 1985 and collapsed in 1993 before it was re-​established in 2004). There are four contentious points here that show how the politics of language has shaped the underdevelopment of African language press in post-​independence Zimbabwe. Firstly, I consider the independent state’s delay and lack of urgency in introducing African languages newspapers. Secondly, I  examine the introduction of Shona and Ndebele in newspapers, leaving out plenty of other African languages. Thirdly, I review the introduction and the continued existence of the Shona newspaper, Kwayedza, while the Ndebele newspaper’s (uMthunywa) existence has been unsteady. Finally, I discuss the management of these two newspapers as subsidiaries of English language publications. English language hegemony in post-​independence Zimbabwe’s press is part of the inherited and unresolved language problem at the national level. In the national public domain, English is the main language of media, education, business, politics, law and government. It is also the language of social mobility and international integration. The education sector, in particular, has promoted English as the medium of instruction. Policy makers, newspaper personnel and the readers themselves are products of an English education system. This indicates that colonial and subsequent post-​independence language policy and practices have inadvertently shaped and stunted the growth of African language newspapers. Just like the African press in colonial times, the newspaper has remained an elitist medium. The presence of two African language newspapers gives the impression that there are two indigenous languages in Zimbabwe. It has been argued that there are many other languages that deserve to be included in the media in order for speakers to also have access to newspaper content in their own languages. These languages include Tonga, Venda, Ndau, Sotho, Tswana, Barwe, Hwesa

46  Phillip Mpofu and Kalanga, among many others. Whilst the presence of Shona and Ndebele is at times simplified and justified on the basis of the speakers of these languages having numerical advantage, Shona and Ndebele are languages that initially received support from colonial administrations as a way of managing linguistic diversity (Makoni 2016). The languages were initially raised by the Christian missionaries and later were supported by the colonial regime in terms of corpus and status development. As a result, the presence of only Shona and Ndebele in the Zimbabwean press reverberates Doke’s 1931 recommendation of delimiting the country into Shona-​and Ndebele-​speaking regions. The numerical advantage that makes them obvious choices in Zimbabwe’s media needs to be understood from this context. It all began with language politics before the economics of language in the media took over. More so, at independence, the government through its language policies and practices supported Shona and Ndebele as discretionary languages of communication in the public domain. The Education Act of 1987, in particular, buttressed the pre-​eminence of Shona and Ndebele at the elementary levels of education. As a result, though Zimbabwe is a multilingual society, such language policy treats it as a bicultural nation of the Ndebele and Shona (see Ndlovu-​Gatsheni 2013). Therefore, this study shows that, though it can be argued that English language newspapers threaten the existence of African language newspapers, the existence of newspapers in other indigenous languages is also stifled by the embedded hegemony of the two major languages –​Shona and Ndebele –​which transcends the colonial and post-​independence periods. In view of the politics of the Shona and Ndebele rivalry, which is well-​ documented in existing scholarship, the establishment of Kwayedza in 1986 and its continued existence (compared to uMthunywa’s interrupted history in which it had a false start, was combined with Kwayedza in 1988 and changed its name to Kwayedza-​uMthunywa) reveal the supremacy of Shona over Ndebele as a result of socio-​political and cultural power (see Hachipola 1998; Ndlovu-​Gatsheni 2013). The sequential development confirms Mpofu’s (2014) discovery that, in terms of the order of things in the media, it is common knowledge that Shona comes first and Ndebele follows. This shows the subordination of a ‘Ndebele paper’ to a ‘Shona paper’, and the general subservience of Ndebele to Shona, which is synonymous with the current publishing of previously marginalised languages in Kwayedza and uMthunywa, which is questioned by Mpofu and Salawu (2019). This shows the intersection of language politics and the evolution and underdevelopment of Zimbabwe’s African language press. In recent times, there have been attempts to include previously marginalised languages in Kwayedza and uMthunywa (formerly minority languages). Though these newspapers are officially Shona and Ndebele newspapers, respectively, they both include sections of selected previously marginalised languages. Currently, uMthunywa publishes a column in Kalanga. During 2015–​2016, the newspaper serialised a column in Sotho. Kalanga and Sotho are spoken in regions where Ndebele is the major language. Similarly, Kwayedza recently introduced a column in Ndau, a language that previously was a dialect of Shona. Mpofu and Salawu

African language press in Zimbabwe  47 (2019) argue that, though this development is defended as a progressive move towards increasing the visibility of previously marginalised languages, the practice legitimates and exposes the proven hegemony of Shona and Ndebele. This inadvertently impedes the development of newspapers in previously marginalised languages. The inclusion of these languages in Shona and Ndebele newspapers is part of pragmatic historicism that shows the interactive ways in which these languages have been shaped in response to one another (Mpofu and Salawu 2019). This demonstrates the replication of the politics of language in the evolution of Zimbabwe’s African language newspapers. This chapter therefore identifies the nexus between the politics of language and the African language press in post-​ independence Zimbabwe, especially in terms of how the politics of language has shaped and underdeveloped the African language press. The politics of language and the management of African language press in Zimbabwe The success of any organisation greatly depends on the presence of a good management structure. Given the challenges that affect African language newspapers in Zimbabwe in particular, and Africa in general, it is necessary to check the management structures of African language newspaper publishers and compare them with those of English language newspapers. A  good management system that prioritises African languages and their newspapers will likely lead to balanced, successful and sustainable African language newspapers. As mentioned earlier, Kwayedza and uMthunywa are published by Zimpapers, a state-​controlled newspaper company that publishes a host of other state-​owned English language newspapers. African language newspapers are not the main products of Zimpapers, but are secondary to English language newspapers. In Salawu’s (2015) conceptualisation, African language newspapers in Zimbabwe are managed by the subsidiary model. In a subsidiary model of managing African language newspapers, the publications exist as affiliates of English language newspapers (see Salawu 2015). This contrasts with the mainstream model, where African language newspapers exist as major products of a media institution. It is apparent that the management of Kwayedza and uMthunywa belongs to the subsidiary model. The two newspapers are subsidiaries of the English language newspapers that are published by the state-​controlled Zimpapers. Specifically, Kwayedza is published in Harare at the Herald House, where the daily English language newspaper, The Herald, and the weekly, The Sunday Mail, are the main products. On the other hand, uMthunywa is printed in the second-​largest city, Bulawayo, at The Chronicle House, where other English language newspapers –​ the daily newspaper, The Chronicle, and the weekly, The Sunday News, are the main products. The problem with the subsidiary model is that, unlike in the mainstream model where the African language newspapers are given full attention by the printers, in the subsidiary model, Kwayedza and uMthunywa exist as appendages of English language newspapers. As a result, they are not given the same attention as the main newspaper. Even the names of buildings that house Zimpapers’

48  Phillip Mpofu activities, The Herald House in Harare and The Chronicle House in Bulawayo, clearly suggest that The Herald and The Chronicle are the main products. Therefore, I argue that the management of African language newspapers in Zimbabwe replicates the socio-​political and historical conditions that created the institution. The press in Zimbabwe is historically English; African language newspapers came well after English language newspapers were established. Treating English language newspapers as the main newspapers while African language newspapers are subsidiary reflects the deep-​seated English hegemony in Zimbabwe’s press and the nation at large. Therefore, the underdevelopment of Zimbabwe’s African language newspapers is explained by its unbalanced management structure where the African language newspapers exist as secondary products to English language newspapers, which are the leading products. The politics of language, tabloidisation and sustainability of African language newspapers Existing research shows that, besides being late-​comers in the newspaper industry, Kwayedza’s and uMthunywa’s survival has been turbulent. Whilst Kwayedza’s inception in 1986 was followed by an uninterrupted existence, uMthunywa’s road to a continuous presence had a false start. According to Mabweazara (2006), prior to 2004, uMthunywa was initially established in 1985 to cater to the Ndebele audience. However, the newspaper encountered viability problems connected to low circulation, which led to the newspaper being reduced in size from twelve pages to four pages in 1987. In 1988, uMthunywa was combined with Kwayedza, resulting in the name of the newspaper changing to Kwayedza-​uMthunywa. The year 1993 marked the death of uMthunywa, as the Ndebele section disappeared in Kwayedza-​uMthunywa. The demise of uMthunywa was attributed to the failure of the newspaper to stand as an alternative source of information, for it was a mere Ndebele translation of English language newspapers at Zimpapers (Saunders 1999). The above mentioned experience shows the struggle of Kwayedza and uMthunywa to compete and survive in the market when they existed as mere translations of English language newspapers. That is, if African language newspapers contain the same news that is reported in The Chronicle and The Herald or other English language newspapers, they struggle to attract readership. This means that African language newspapers need to create a niche market of readers that is different from readers of English language newspaper. Due to the rooted English language hegemony in Zimbabwean society, with the same stylistic and subject content, African language newspapers do not stand a chance against the competition of the English language newspapers in the market. As discussed earlier, readers prefer English language newspapers. Thus, readers who opt for African language newspapers should be attracted by something different, over and above language. Once again, this shows that African language newspapers’ struggle in the market is directly related to the excesses of the colonial and post-​independence language policies and practices that

African language press in Zimbabwe  49 galvanised English language hegemony at the expense African languages. The other point to note is that, while uMthunywa had a false start, Kwayedza’s existence has continued uninterrupted since its inception for the reason that the newspaper has a wide readership since Shona is spoken by approximately 70% of the Zimbabwean population. As a result, typical of African language newspapers, publishers of Kwayedza and uMthunywa have resorted to tabloidisation as a strategy of survival (see Mpofu and Salawu 2018b). Tabloidisation relates to three distinct aspects:  the format of the newspapers, the style of reporting and the subject of a newspaper (Norris 2000). Thus, African language newspapers are generally smaller than broadsheet papers. The reporting style of tabloids emphasises sensationalism, that is, the use of photographs and dramatic headlines. As tabloids, Kwayedza and uMthunywa evade everyday economic and political issues, which are generally covered in The Herald and The Chronicle. Rather, they concentrate on sensationalised township and village stories that revolve around scandals, witchcraft and bestiality, among other attention-​grabbing but trivial stories. The explanation that is often given for the prevalence of sensationalism in African language newspapers is connected to the commercial purpose of raising revenue through increasing sales and attracting advertisers by capturing readers’ attention (Salawu 2015; Mpofu and Salawu 2018b). Thus, the survival of uMthunywa after its comeback in 2004 was ensured by its adherence to the inventive and market-​driven tabloid format (Mabweazara 2005, 2006). The newspaper circulation statistics show that, through tabloidisation, African language newspapers at times outsell some English language newspapers. According to a survey of weekly newspapers by the Zimbabwe Advertising Research Foundation (2017), Kwayedza has 15% of total distribution and is ranked second behind The Sunday Mail, which has 27%. This indicates that Kwayedza and uMthunywa thrive on sensationalism as a means to penetrate the Zimbabwean newspaper market (Mpofu and Salawu 2018c). The culture of sensationalism in Kwayedza and uMthunywa is expedient for the survival of indigenous language press in the face of steadfast competition from the English language press. The foregoing discussion exposes the excesses of colonial and post-​ independence language politics, which resulted in language policy, ideologies and practices that favoured –​and still favour –​English at the expense of African languages. The shared belief among readers that English is the language of the media has adversely affected the development of African language newspapers. Kwayedza and uMthunywa have resorted to tabloidisation to stay alive, a practice Mpofu and Salawu (2018b and 2018c) perceive as retrogressive to the African languages, the African language newspapers and development communication. They argue that sensationalism and the avoidance of political and economic issues in Kwayedza and uMthunywa folklorises indigenous languages and legitimises English’s vitality as the language with the functional value to carry specialised and contemporary development communication. The content of the newspapers also negatively projects Shona and Ndebele cultural communities as primitive and backward. Therefore, the underdevelopment of African language newspapers in

50  Phillip Mpofu Zimbabwe is intricately connected to the politics of language beginning in colonial and post-​independence Zimbabwe.

Conclusion This study contributes to the growing body of scholarship on the underdevelopment and unsustainability of African language newspapers, and African language media in general. The discussion adds to the discourse on indigenous language media by revealing the interface of language politics and the underdevelopment of Zimbabwe’s African language press, an area that has been understudied. In the process, the study exposes the impact of language politics on the underdevelopment of African language press from the colonial to post-​independence period. I demonstrate the absence of African language newspapers in Rhodesia’s mainstream media, save for the nationalist and church publications. The exclusion of African languages in the colonial press replicates the colonial politics of language that favoured English as the language of the public domain. When Zimbabwe attained its independence, it inherited the publisher, Zimpapers, and a host of English language newspapers that compete with private English language newspapers. Despite Zimbabwe being multilingual, the country still has only two African language newspapers  –​ Kwayedza and uMthunywa  –​which were established well after independence. Therefore, I argue that the dominance of English, and the two African languages –​Shona and Ndebele –​has negatively shaped the structure, management and sustainability of African language press in Zimbabwe. While it is generally argued that English language newspapers impede the existence of African language newspapers, the existence of newspapers in other indigenous languages is also threatened by the embedded hegemony of the two major African languages, which transcends colonial and post-​independence epochs. The study also established that the language, content and management of the press, in general, and the underdevelopment of Zimbabwe’s African language press, in particular, is a mirror reflection of the colonial press, as well as colonial and post-​independence language policies and practices. The results suggest that language ideologies in the colonial and post-​independence press, and the historical development, structure and management of the African language press, are a creation of the colonial and post-​independence politics of language. Therefore, I argue that the underdevelopment of the African language press in colonial and post-​independence Zimbabwe is explained by the colonial and post-​independence language politics, language policies and practices that promoted English at the expense of African languages, as well Shona and Ndebele at the cost of the previously marginalised languages.

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Part II

Mixed bag Failures and successes of African language newspapers

3  In the dead end The decline of the indigenous language press in post-​colonial Zimbabwe Allen Munoriyarwa

Introduction Indigenous language media has been defined as any ‘forms of media expression conceptualized, produced, and circulated by indigenous peoples around the globe as vehicles for communication, including cultural preservation, cultural and artistic expression, political self-​determination, and cultural sovereignty’ (Hearne, Wilson, and Stewart 2008, iv). Grixti (2011) adds to this definition, stating that indigenous language media, (voluntarily) perpetuates the cultural distinctiveness of a particular indigenous group –​which includes their language, social organisation, religious organisation, spiritual values, modes of production, laws and institutions. Indigenous language media platforms are relatively small scale (Ginsburg 1991), and do not constitute a similar category, thus making it overly simplistic to indiscriminately lump them together (Grixti 2011). A defining element of the indigenous language media is its ability to fulfil the information needs of defined linguistic communities that the mainstream may not be able to meet. Indigenous language media can be a communicative space for groups that are either not represented or underrepresented in the mainstream media (Rennie 2002). These groups can be linguistic or cultural minorities, some even living on the edge of mainstream communities, for example, the Maori in New Zealand (Rennie 2002) and the Anangu Pitjantjatjara in Australia (Burrows 2000). Such groups can use the ‘proximity’ of indigenous spaces of communication, including indigenous language newspapers and radio stations, as cultural production spaces. Yet, in Africa, there is evidence that the demand for indigenous language media, as measured by both circulation and readership, is declining (see, for example, the Zimbabwe Mass Media Product Survey 2014). In the present world, characterised by increasing local conflicts, fake news and a fragmented media, indigenous language media platforms assume legendary status as they can gel communities together and perpetuate values, beliefs and cultures under duress by globalisation. For example, indigenous struggles for self-​determination can easily be captured and articulated via indigenous language media platforms like newspapers (Villanueva et al. 2017).

56  Allen Munoriyarwa This obviously points to the need for robust, well-​resourced and well-​equipped indigenous language media institutions. The Zimbabwe indigenous language press cannot be described as flourishing, even in earlier times. At independence in 1980, Zimbabwe had a thriving press, but it lacked indigenous language newspapers. In 1986, Zimbabwe’s publicly owned media company, Zimpapers, formed Kwayedza, an indigenous language newspaper. In 2004, the company added a Ndebele language publication –​ Umthunywa –​to their fold. However, there are two facts to note. Overall, there have not been many additions of indigenous language newspapers to their offerings, relative to the number of English language papers that have been added. Secondly, the few that are in existence struggle with attracting readers, and their circulation figures are very low. These include, for example, Indosakusa, based in Gwanda, and Ilanga, based in the town of Hwange. They are Ndebele-​language newspapers that have not expanded since their formation. It is also worth noting that there has been little investment in indigenous language newspapers since 1980. This is surprising, considering the fact that Zimbabwe has more than eleven indigenous languages that can be served by indigenous language newspapers. Therefore, the indigenous language press in Zimbabwe lies dormant, but not extinct. The Zimbabwe All Mass Media Survey report (ZAMPS 2013) has pointed out that, overall, newspaper circulation in Zimbabwe has declined. The marginal gains of about 4%, garnered by publications like Kwayedza (see Zimbabwe Advertising Report Foundation 2015), do not offset a persistent trend of decline. The Audit Bureau of Circulation (2017) further notes that, globally, newspaper circulation and readership are in decline. Johanna Powell (Telephone interview with the author, 2018)  says publications like Kwayedza had 10,000–​15,000 readers per week in the 1980s and early 2000s, but these figures have since declined to around 5,000 readers per week. Infoasaid (2017) confirms that indigenous language newspapers in Zimbabwe now serve a marginal and ever-​shrinking audience. This chapter explores why, in Zimbabwe, the indigenous language press is dormant despite the fact that the mainstream newspapers have, though with mixed fortunes, done relatively well in maintaining a readership and circulation presence. In this regard, the chapter contributes to the ongoing debates on the indigenous language media by focusing on the press landscape and suggesting how it can be revitalised. The next section reviews the literature on the indigenous language press in Zimbabwe, acknowledging that, relative to mainstream research, studies conducted in this area are still few. This is followed by a section on the state of the indigenous press in Zimbabwe. Next, we discuss the theoretical framework adopted in this chapter, the indigenous public sphere theory (Hartley and McKee 2000). After outlining the methods of data collection and analysis, the findings are presented in two sections. The first section accounts for the decline of the indigenous press in the country, while the second outlines and discusses the survival strategies that can, possibly, save the indigenous press. We close with a discussion of the major findings and a conclusion of the chapter.

Indigenous language press in Zimbabwe  57

The indigenous language media in Zimbabwe: a literature review Research on indigenous language media in Zimbabwe remains scarce relative to studies on the mainstream media. More so, existing research in this filed has come from scholars of language development and policy (Mabika 2014; Magwa 2008; Chirimuuta 2017; Mpofu and Salawu 2018a, 2018b, 2018c), and not from scholars of media. This illustrates the point that media scholars have granted indigenous language media peripheral attention even though a collaboration of language and media scholars could expand the scope of research on indigenous language media and add to the already growing research in this regard. Notable work on indigenous language media in Zimbabwe has been completed by Mpofu and Salawu (2018a, 2018b, 2018c). The paucity of literature on indigenous language media in Zimbabwe can be attributed to the low status of the indigenous language media, especially indigenous language newspapers, when juxtaposed to more ‘prestigious’ and prevalent English language publications. Another reason for the existence of little scholarly output in this area is the continued marginalisation of indigenous languages in Zimbabwe’s formal education system (Thondhlana and Pongweni 1987). Zimbabwe’s minority languages are not official languages of instruction in the country’s education system and their use is limited in parliament and in business transactions (Thondhlana and Pongweni 1987). Maseko and Ndlovu (2013) assert that the instructional basis of indigenous languages are neither firm nor deeply grounded in the formal education system. Mpofu and Salawu (2018a) agree, asserting further that indigenous languages, ‘Have not been afforded enough space in both the print and electronic media in Zimbabwe’ (7). Maseko and Ndlovu (2013) further argue that the problem is the government’s recalcitrant attitude towards indigenous languages. If indigenous languages are not taught in the formal school system, their media institutions have no leeway to thrive. Their success hinges on how well-​integrated indigenous language education is in a particular country. Magwa (2008) finds it paradoxical that postcolonial African states still use English as a medium of communication. Mpofu and Salawu (2018b) agree, noting that postcolonial regimes have ‘struggled to fit all linguistic and cultural representations in the public domain’ (1). The dominance of the English language as a medium of communication is a legacy of colonialism bequeathed to the postcolony. One of the detrimental effects of this is a progressive erosion of indigenous cultural identity (Chirimuuta 2017). Mpofu and Salawu (2018b) continue in agreement, that there ‘are now many disenfranchised linguistic minorities with no space on the public sphere to express themselves’ (3). There was no effort made during the colonial period to promote the indigenous language press. Perhaps this was not important to the grand schemes of colonialism –​conquest and dominance –​which required systematic erosion of indigenous languages and cultures.

58  Allen Munoriyarwa Chirimuuta (2017) argues that indigenous language media platforms in Zimbabwe are mere formalities because they simply elevate indigenous languages without also celebrating related indigenous cultural practices  –​value, norms, beliefs and challenges. Mpofu and Salawu (2018a) further note that, consequently, the absence of a thriving indigenous language media has led these disenfranchised groups to exploit the liberative potential of social media, and these groups are reorganizing in the virtual space, forming vibrant ethnolinguistic online communities in the process. Yet, the absence of a thriving indigenous language media in Zimbabwe does not bode well for the existence of multiple linguistic groups that should benefit from indigenous language media (Maseko and Ndlovu 2013). Fourie (2010) buttresses this point: ‘the particular role of news [information] in our lives is therefore inextricably linked to the general role that language plays in society’ (448). The travails of the Zimbabwean indigenous language media ought not to be understood in isolation. The decline of these sources is a global phenomenon (Abrams and Strogatz 2003). Motsaathebe (2018) notes that, in South Africa, the indigenous language press has almost disappeared. This is occurring despite the centrality of this type of media in reinvigorating language, culture, beliefs, norms and values and their general involvement in people’s community lives (Motsaathebe 2018). In some countries, like the USA (Riggins 1992), indigenous language media is considered old-​fashioned, yet they remain accessible to communities outside the mainstream. The increasing individualisation and fragmentation of the mediascape has had an impact on the indigenous language media, including driving it to the verge of collapse as consumers seek other platforms. In other localities, the indigenous language press has all but disappeared. Mpofu and Salawu (2018a) have noted this rapid and seemingly irreversible decline of the indigenous language media especially in Africa. In light of the acknowledged decline of the indigenous language press, this chapter seeks to ascertain, through interviews with indigenous language journalists in Zimbabwe, the reasons for the near-​collapse of indigenous newspapers in the country. Furthermore, the chapter proposes survival strategies for the indigenous language press. Before doing so, it is important to give a brief synopsis of the indigenous language media context in Zimbabwe.

The state of the indigenous language press in Zimbabwe: a synopsis Sixteen indigenous languages are recognised in the Zimbabwe Constitution (2013). Among these are Shona, Ndebele, Ndau, Venda, Tswana and Kalanga. In spite of the existence of these indigenous languages and their different dialects, the indigenous language media terrain is dominated by two newspapers –​Kwayedza and uMthunywa –​published in Shona and Ndebele, respectively. Recently, a major indigenous language newspaper outlet published in isiNdebele, Indosakusa, closed up shop, citing viability concerns. The remaining indigenous language newspapers

Indigenous language press in Zimbabwe  59 are state-​owned; at the moment, there is no private media provider in the country that carries an indigenous language newspaper. It has been the traditional practice of the state-​ controlled Community Newspaper Group (CNG) to produce indigenous language newspaper inserts and pull-​outs within their main provincial English language newspapers. CNG produces ten weekly newspapers, one in each of the ten provinces of Zimbabwe. Historically, indigenous language newspaper inserts were included within these provincial publications. For example, in the eastern province of Manicaland, there is The Pungwe News newspaper. It is published in English, but before 2014, it carried a Shona language insert. In Mashonaland East, there is Chaminuka News, which also had a Shona language insert. There are contradictions in this approach. The most prominent of these contradictions is that some indigenous languages and dialects within the same geographical location were ignored. For example, Pungwe News had a supplement in Manyika, ignoring the Ndau of the eastern Shona groups popular in Chimanimani and Chipinge. Therefore, elements of bias in this policy are visible. Thus, the attempt by the state to promote indigenous language media in this respect was likely mere tokenism. It was a perfunctory performance and window-​dressing meant to hoodwink the public into believing that the government was serious about promoting an indigenous language press. There was not much thought applied to this policy. Bamgbose (1987) noted this years ago and declared, quite correctly, that ‘African language policies are characterised by avoidance, arbitrariness, fluctuations and declarations without implementation’ (9). On the other hand, uMthunywa carries an occasional insert in the Tonga and Kalanga languages (Maseko and Ndlovu 2013). This means that other languages, such as Nambya and Chewa, have no medium of their own. The dominance of uMthunywa and Kwayedza means indigenous languages in Zimbabwe are not treated equally. Even the distribution of these newspapers reflects this bias and dominance. Kwayedza and uMthunywa are largely confined to Harare and Bulawayo, respectively. The Masvingo Star used to have a Xichangana/​Xitsonga section, but it is no longer produced because they do not have reporters who speak the language. This raises a number of questions critical to this chapter. Amongst these are: why is it that, 39 years after independence, some languages still have to rely on inserts and pull-​outs as sources of news and information in their indigenous languages? Why did the CNG discontinue the policy of producing these indigenous efforts when the effort –​albeit inadequate –​was still better than none at all? There are four manifestations that underline the crisis of the indigenous language press in Zimbabwe. These are: (a) there are no fully-​fledged newspapers in indigenous languages like Tonga, Nambya, etc.; (b) the remaining big newspapers, like Kwayedza and uMthunywa, are largely confined to Harare and Bulawayo, respectively; (c)  other once-​thriving indigenous language newspapers, like Indosakusa, have folded; and (d) even the inadequate approach of publishing small indigenous language sections within relatively large newspapers and including indigenous language inserts has been abandoned. These observations signify a serious crisis

60  Allen Munoriyarwa afflicting the indigenous language press in Zimbabwe. How did we come to this? And how do we get out of this situation? This chapter probes this decline through conversations with journalists, and suggests survival strategies. Prior to discussing this investigation, the theoretical underpinnings germane to this chapter are outlined.

Theoretical framework: conceptualising indigenous language newspapers as indigenous public spheres The indigenous public sphere theory was coined by Hartley and McKee (2000) through their engagement with Habermas (Waller 2016). Hartley and McKee (2000) argue that indigenous communities actively produce their own spaces of self-​ representation and community building. Research into indigenous public spheres follow the Habermassian tradition (Avison and Meadows 2000; Meadows 2000). Scholars agree that indigenous public spheres create spaces that interact with the wider public sphere (Avison and Meadows 2000; Hartley and McKee 2000). This syncs with an earlier assertion by Fraser (1993) that there is no one, ‘totalising public sphere, there are parallel and overlapping public spheres where those with similar cultural backgrounds engage in activities that stem from their own issues and interests’ (5). Multiple and distinct public spheres enable people to ‘Interact across lines of cultural diversity’ (Fraser 1993, 13). However, the original concept of the public sphere (Habermas 1989) is not rooted in ‘indigenous peoples’ understanding of their own deliberations’ (Waller 2016, 5). More so, the original public sphere theory does not examine the processes of public discussions and political action as they unfold in indigenous public spheres (Waller 2016). During colonial times, the indigenous language press was a vehicle through which the emerging class of political leaders were able to communicate the central issues of African grievances, such as land, poor wages for African workers and harassment by local authorities (Salawu and Chibita 2016). This means the indigenous press acted as a public sphere for the emerging class of pro-​independent black politicians (Salawu and Chibita 2016). Research suggests that some indigenous groups often find themselves excluded from the mainstream public spheres (Meadows 1999; Bullimore 1999). The indigenous press should be conceptualised as one of the many competing public spheres that have shifted Habermas’s public sphere from its elitist (bourgeois) classical formulations. The indigenous press attempts to accord spaces to minorities and excluded groups so that ‘their voices are heard and their interests represented’ (Burrows 2000, 358). Indigenous language media spaces should, therefore, be envisaged as spaces where participants with similar cultural backgrounds engage in activities concerning issues and interests of importance to them (Avison and Meadows 2000). Thus, ‘indigenous communities in some respects, have efficiently reconstructed the notion of the public sphere in accordance with their own community’s social relations’ (Avison and Meadows 2000, 2) These are spaces of communication used by marginal, indigenous and competing publics within society to articulate issues affecting them. However, the

Indigenous language press in Zimbabwe  61 public sphere still remains relevant as a critical lens through which the indigenous language press, for example, can be understood. Jandt (2007) notes that a public sphere is better created if the language of communication is understood by that particular community. If the public sphere is to fully capture the range of experiences in society (Dahlgren 1991) it has to be structured in a language that is understood by the concerned community. In other words, the indigenous language public sphere can sufficiently capture these experiences. The indigenous public sphere concept syncs neatly as a framework for this chapter in the sense that it provides a lens through which the indigenous language press  –​their creation, development and evolution  –​can potentially be understood. Secondly, it provides a rationale for why specific groups –​indigenous groups included  –​participate, negotiate and interact on their media platforms. Furthermore, it provides lenses through which to see civilian–​state interactions in media spaces.

Methodology This research is situated within the interpretivist paradigm (Denzin and Lincoln 1994). The paradigm acknowledges that research is based on real-​life world ontology in which all observation is both theory-​and value-​laden (Hill and Harrison 2010). Investigation of the social world is not, and cannot, be the pursuit of a detached objective truth (Leitch, Hill, and Harrison 2010). Epistemologically, the viewpoint of the interpretivist paradigm is that our knowledge of reality is a social construction of human actions. Interpretivism is, hence, characterised by the need to understand the world, as it is, from a subjective point of view, and it seeks an explanation within the frame of reference of the participant rather than the objective observer of the action. For data collection, the researcher utilised in-​depth interviews with structured but open-​ended questions that allowed respondents to supply as much information as they could. Open-​ended questions encourage authentic accounts of subjective experiences (Silverman 2016). In the case of this chapter, part of our concerns lie with why the indigenous language press in Zimbabwe has declined, and what can be done, by whom, to save existing indigenous language press outlets from their contemporary comatose state and revive the ‘dead’ ones. The open-​ ended questions utilised during the in-​depth interviews allowed the respondents to ‘wander’ around the questions and provide critical data. The researcher utilised snowball sampling (Browne 2005), which relies on one respondent leading to others, and growing the sample through personal contacts rather than random sampling of participants from the population (Noy 2008). Indigenous language press journalists in Zimbabwe are few, relative to mainstream English language press journalists. Because they are few, snowball sampling was preferred, as one participant proposed another with whom they had once worked, or who had worked under similar conditions elsewhere. One of the advantages of this approach is that it reveals the connections among individuals in employment and social networks (Bryman 2008). Another advantage is that, because indigenous

62  Allen Munoriyarwa press journalists in Zimbabwe are a hard-​to-​reach population, snowball sampling aided the researcher in finding participants appropriate for this study –​including current and former employees of indigenous language newspapers. For the data analysis, the researcher utilised thematic analysis (Braun and Clarke 2006), which pinpoints themes and patterns that emerge from the data (Braun and Clarke 2006). For this research, this approach offered two advantages. First, it is suited to questions related to people’s experiences, views and perceptions, which was the intention of the interviews. Second, it is theoretically flexible. Altogether, the researcher interviewed sixteen journalists. Seven of them still work for some indigenous language newspapers, five have moved into the mainstream English language newspapers, two have moved into public relations, one has retired and one is pursuing a postgraduate degree in journalism. The interviews were conducted in December 2018 in three major cities –​Harare, Bulawayo and Masvingo –​where the participants reside. For ethical considerations, their names will not be revealed.

Findings This section is divided into two parts. The first answers the question: how do we account for the decline of indigenous language newspapers in post-​independence Zimbabwe? Journalists noted that the indigenous language press is in this decline because (a) it is no longer connected to the indigenous cultures it claims to serve, and (b) it failed to assert itself aggressively on the (press) market. The second section answers the question:  what survival strategies can be adopted that can set the indigenous language press on a path of recovery, growth and significance on the Zimbabwean media space? The interviewed journalists said the most important survival strategies are (a) indigenous press institutions in Zimbabwe should move to adopt new technologies, and (b) the government and public-​sphere-​supporting institutions should intervene and provide assistance.

Speaking and not hearing: the failure of the indigenous language press to connect with their indigenous audience Interviewees admitted that the decline of the indigenous language press in Zimbabwe, and its inability to improve from its low status, is a result of its failure to connect with the aspirations and needs, fears and challenges, of the communities they were supposed to serve. In other words, they did not adequately serve as true public spheres in the Habermassian (1989) perspective, nor did they serve as indigenous public spheres in ways envisaged by Hartley and McKenzie (2000). One respondent noted, ‘We were so divorced from our community, I think. Some, actually most, of the stories that we wrote at my previous paper, had nothing to do with our indigenous mandate. And I sometimes wondered, what am I doing here?’ (Interview in Harare, 19 December 2018). Another respondent agreed: ‘We were speaking and speaking through our newspaper, but we never sat down to hear the community’s own stories, so it is like we were whistling in the wind. We were just

Indigenous language press in Zimbabwe  63 out there. Because our stories were divorced from the community we claimed to serve, we never gained their respect’ (Interview in Harare, 10 December 2018). ‘True’ public spheres act as conduits of debates, linking individuals to society and gelling society together through public debates coordinated by the media (Hauser 1999). Avison and Meadows (2000) note that most indigenous groups struggle with access to mainstream public spheres. Yet, in this case, journalists from indigenous language newspapers openly admit to their failure to serve the public sphere of their choice. Another journalist said, ‘If you see our focus, we tended to be more worried about national events instead of focusing on local ones. Yes, national events are important. But focusing on them was our Achilles heel. That was how we were undone. You know, when we announced that we are shutting down, we had little sympathy from the immediate community because we have never served them sufficiently and efficiently. We once talked about this in the newsroom’ (Interview in Harare, 12 December 2018). This practice of disengaging from the community left the indigenous groups with very little space in which to engage, even amongst themselves. Yet, the ideal circumstance would have been for the indigenous language press to symbolically reclaim the space of articulation for the indigenous people. One respondent said, ‘We could not speak or listen to indigenous stories or express them in those (indigenous) languages. At the end of the day, we ourselves were grappling with the question, what exactly are we? We seem to have been obsessed with attempts to mimic the mainstream, forgetting our mandate in terms of stories covered, and sources cited, generally in terms of our content overall’ (Interview in Harare, 22 December 2018). Another participant said, ‘Our stories, features, hard news and educational columns were detached from the people whose language we were writing in’ (Interview in Bulawayo, 17 December 2018). But, how did we come to this point? The journalists said they misleadingly assumed that stories of a more ‘national stature’ meant more to the people compared to local stories. Girard (1992) argues, ‘Indigenous language media should be tools for cultural and political intervention, allowing the dispossessed to speak as well as hear’ (2). Avison and Meadows (2000) add, ‘They should reinforce community culture’ (2). These testimonies point to an indigenous language press that has abrogated its legitimate commitment to the disparate communities in which it is based and that it is supposed to serve. It is, under these circumstances narrated by the respondents, difficult to expect more of the indigenous language press in Zimbabwe. For example, on top of reporting local stories in indigenous languages (Ndlovu 2013), they are equally expected to take an advocacy role (Ang 1990). Ang (1990) notes that, in Australia, indigenous language newspapers, like Aboriginal Voices, ‘have taken on a key advocacy role in publishing profiles of aboriginal artists along with critical discussion of the aboriginal production environment and related policy issues’ (46). Thus, the failure to connect and engage with their intended communities means that their relevance might have gone unnoticed within their communities of influence. Ang (1990) adds that the indigenous language press should, if it is to survive, muster believability and relevance because indigenous groups have a tendency to

64  Allen Munoriyarwa ‘reject what they perceive as a misrepresentation of their concerns and issues’ (46). According to respondents’ own admissions, their voices were suppressed on events and news in which their intended communities were deeply involved. Yet, they should have stepped up to provide this voice in a media environment dominated by non-​indigenous voices that do not place particular emphasis on non-​elite sources.

Failure of the indigenous newspapers to assert themselves on the market According to respondents, the failure of the indigenous language press in Zimbabwe cannot be sufficiently grasped if it is not linked to the broad decline of the newspaper market. In Zimbabwe, the general decline of the newspaper industry is situated within the general economic decline the country is experiencing. This is further aggravated by the fact that, in Zimbabwe, newspapers have a weak market position with little to no subsidies to keep them in operation. As the economy stagnates, the advertisement ‘pie’ gets smaller, crowding out indigenous language newspapers in the process: ‘We could not attract advertisers, and it was difficult going forward. Sometimes we had to go sensationalistic, or run columns of national politics, yet our intended audience were fed up with this’ (Interview in Bulawayo, 13 December 2018). A  former senior reporter who agreed to be identified as a reporter from Indosakusa said, ‘We never received adverts from any major advertisers we knew. We only got unpaid announcements from government’ (Interview in Bulawayo, 13 December 2018). Another senior reporter who once worked for the same paper said, ‘We thought we could attract adverts from our local business people but we didn’t. They did not find us attractive enough’ (Interview in Bulawayo, 13 December 2018). Furthermore, there were attendant problems that added yet another layer of woes to market failure –​for example, the fact that none of Zimbabwe’s indigenous language papers ever owned a printing press of its own meant that the costs of newspaper production rose frequently. One journalist said, ‘We had no printing press of our own. So our copies were limited. We could not gamble to print many copies lest they would not be sold, which was often the case. Our contracted printer charged per copy and, you know, sometimes we ran a whole copy with no adverts’ (Interview in Harare, 22 December 2018). But, how would an indigenous language newspaper, operating in a near-​monopoly, fail on the market? One respondent answered, ‘We are competing against many forces. Local competition with the mainstream, satellite television, even Google. You know, all those forces ranged against us’ (Interview in Harare, 22 December 2018). Another respondent noted, ‘The traditional model of news gathering and distribution is hurting us. Our competitors have gone digital and we haven’t. We still rely on distributors on bicycles to send our copies to the next business centre’ (Interview in Harare, 22 December 2018). Respondents noted that these disadvantages –​the failure to adopt technology and to rethink news gathering and distribution practices –​hurt them in competition with the more established papers. This set them up for a severe comparative

Indigenous language press in Zimbabwe  65 disadvantage that worked against them in terms of attracting advertisers. One former editor said, ‘We could not even afford to pay our web hosts. And even updating the stories on the site was difficult for us’ (Interview in Bulawayo, 13 December 2018). Another journalist said, ‘Even if we just decide to focus on the news concerning our communities of choice, we were still going to die. There is just too much news there about anything. It’s not the kind of environment that supports news production and distribution for profit’ (Interview in Harare, 22 December 2018). In economic terms, news is a public good. The consumption of news by one person would not preclude its consumption by another. It is difficult, if not impossible, to exclude anyone from news consumption and distribution. This means that the news industry gives rise to much free-​riding. As a result, it is always difficult to ensure that those who produce news are compensated appropriately. A respondent said, ‘We sold very few copies of our newspaper. But I am sure out there many people read our stories somehow. They accessed them through platforms we could not make an income from. This was a product on sale, yet the sellers didn’t realise the income from it’ (Interview in Harare, 22 December 2018). The press should not overly rely on advertisements for its survival. After all, advertisers are often the bogeyman that make the press stray from serving their communities. Yet, they should still attract enough advertisements to keep them afloat. Thus, from the start, Zimbabwe’s indigenous language newspapers were ill-​capitalised. Add to this the stiff competition on the local newspaper market and the decline of other sources of funding and the picture of decline becomes complete. Failure to connect with their communities and market failure emerged in the interviews as the main reasons for the failure of the indigenous language press in post-​colonial Zimbabwe. The next question is: what strategies can be adopted to reverse this decline in readership and circulation and to ensure indigenous language newspapers do not remain low-​status newspapers?

Survival strategies: the case for indigenous language newspaper grants There should be concerted efforts led by the government and other public-​sphere-​ supporting institutions to provide grants to indigenous language press publishers. Grants would go a long way to stimulate the indigenous language press. Four issues ought to be elucidated here:  What would the proposed grant look like? What would it do? What will be the conditions under which it is awarded, and what are its expected achievements? A grant model that journalists envisaged is similar to the Swedish press model (see Weibull 2003). The ‘Swedish model’, as it might be called, did not focus on the indigenous press, but its provisions can be used in the context of the indigenous language press in Zimbabwe. A special grant can be established that provides funding for struggling indigenous language newspapers so that they do not fold. It can be in the form of a once-​off payment to recipients, or of staggered payments distributed over time by an agency. Funds can be mobilised from the national budget, bearing in mind competing demands and the role of the state in serving indigenous languages.

66  Allen Munoriyarwa Organisations interested in the press can also contribute to this grant fund. One journalist said, ‘A grant meant to serve the indigenous language press should be administered in such a way that the state or whoever is contributing to the grant sees value for their money’ (Interview in Masvingo, 19 December 2018). Another respondent underlined the urgency of the situation: ‘For now, the indigenous language press needs any financial relief. It’s not easy to be operating the way we do. There is this uncertainty of whether we will have a job in the next few weeks’ (Interview in Masvingo, 19 December 2018). What exactly would a grant for indigenous newspapers achieve? Journalists have various ideas about how the grant could be used. One said, ‘We go for months without salaries. And when we get them, we do not get them in full. We have families to feed. We need to be motivated also’ (Interview in Masvingo, 19 December 2018). Another participant said, ‘We do not have equipment  –​cameras, even notebooks. We crowd on one computer, no recorders. A grant will re-​equip the newsroom’ (Interview in Harere, 22 December 2018). One senior reporter said, ‘We are lagging behind in technology. A grant is good for us because we may try to catch up with the mainstream in terms of technology’ (Interview in Harere, 22 December 2018). Another said, ‘I prefer a system where we get a grant to improve our distribution networks for our newspapers. Once we do this, I think everything falls into place’ (Interview in Harare, 22 December 2018). An indigenous language newspaper grant ought to come with stringent funding conditions. A special grant would achieve positive results for the indigenous language press if it prefers newspapers that are able to develop an effective subscription and a functional delivery system for their target communities. A cursory look at the indigenous language newspaper industry in Zimbabwe shows that these newspapers are not distributed effectively in their communities. The idea is to ensure that the grant acts as a ‘carrot’ for newspapers to be effective and efficient. Under the grant system, indigenous language newspapers can be paid a certain amount per threshold for home-​delivered copies. The idea is to ensure that as many newspapers as possible are delivered to target audiences. The grant can also be widened to incentivise indigenous language newspapers that cooperate on joint delivery modes, subscription handling, common marketing, advertisements and administration. This will make sure that indigenous language papers –​hard-​ pressed on cash flow –​cut out administration and concentrate on news production and reaching the audience. It is easy for these types of newspapers to cooperate in these ways since they do not publish in the same language –​they do not compete for audiences. A grant should also focus not only on saving existing newspapers, but establishing new ones for other indigenous language communities. To achieve this, a start-​up amount can be set aside for any new indigenous language newspaper. This will help establish the paper on the market and meet other costs. The grant can be increased if start-​up indigenous language newspapers can reach a certain prescribed circulation and readership threshold. If that indigenous language newspaper reaches a certain number of readers and circulation, a portion of the grant can be kept as further motivation. But this should be for new indigenous

Indigenous language press in Zimbabwe  67 language newspapers, not new additions to existing ones. Furthermore, a grant can be useful to ensure that indigenous language newspapers invest in technology –​especially digital technology. A grant would also help indigenous language newspapers that serve a minority language group and are, therefore, not able to attract a sizeable readership and circulation to sustain them. The state would have to serve these languages and cultures too by providing such grants, while these newspapers will always be encouraged to think ‘outside the box’ for survival. South Africa has, for example, the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA), which serves a similar purpose. The grant can be further complemented by other incentives that keep the indigenous language press in circulation. This would include, for example, direct and indirect subsidies. Indigenous language newspapers can be excluded from value added tax (VAT) on their products; they can be given tax-​free status for purchasing printing materials, and imports related to their business can be designated as duty-​free. Another alternative would be to reduce VAT for corporate adverts that appear in indigenous language newspapers. The VAT can be further reduced depending on how many of these corporations advertise in these newspapers; this is meant to encourage them to continue advertising with them. Weibull (2003) agrees that these kinds of subsidies are usually considered very legitimate in view of the importance of the indigenous language press to public opinion formation. However, grants and subsidies should be benchmarked against certain performances on the part of the indigenous language media. For example, the subsidy can be accessed if an indigenous language press provides information in their coverage of events in their immediate communities. They should also provide news that surveys local political power at their community level rather than the current obsession with national politics. Their coverage should focus on ‘micro politics’ –​ward, council, district, etc. They should also comment on major events within these communities. Furthermore, it is important to assess whether they are, in their coverage, mediating communication within their immediate community. Basically, the argument is that grants, subsidies and incentives should be accessed by specific indigenous language newspapers once these conditions are met. These benchmarks sync neatly with the general functions of the media (see McQuail 2003). Subsidies are effective if they are linked to specific performance on the part of the media, and if their ephemerality is clearly stated. The grant and subsidy system explained here may not be a perfect one. But in terms of structure, it might function relatively well in the long run by saving many indigenous language newspapers from shutting down. Thus, it might help maintain the structure of the indigenous language press by perpetuating their existence under difficult circumstances. Critics will see any form of financial subsidy as an intrusion into the market (Gillwald 1993; Picard and Grönlund 2003). But there is no problem with a subsidy system meant to save the most vulnerable of the press industry with little capacity to attract many readers and advertisers. The subsidy strategy may need to be evaluated also in terms of its political importance. If the state is able to avoid manipulating subsidy recipients, the system may enable many

68  Allen Munoriyarwa indigenous groups to have newspaper platforms in their own language. Politically, a thriving indigenous language press contributes to keeping political debates broad and is a necessary addition to pluralism. A major weakness would be the fact that subsidies and grants may not be able to change market circumstances.

Indigenous language press adoption of new technologies for survival If the indigenous language press is to survive and remain sustainable as news providers, their adoption of new technologies is mandatory. New technologies would provide creative ways for the press to maintain a presence on the market and keep connected to their audiences. Above all, the indigenous language press should still strive to draw the interest of the young generation that has no interest in hard-​copy newspapers. New media technologies include the development of specific software that delivers news on smartphones. This has been a common approach by most newspapers. For example, in South Africa, News24 has an application that gives readers access to its different publications. This would allow the indigenous language press to navigate new possibilities that would help them educate their audiences about their specific cultures, values and beliefs, a role indigenous language newspapers are expected to play. Thus, if the indigenous language press is to endure, it may have to pursue digitally assisted survival. Zimbabwe’s indigenous language press can learn from the Quebec French initiative meant to serve Quebec’s indigenous language population (Abrams and Strogatz 2003). The people of Quebec were aggressive in allowing their indigenous language newspapers to go online, be accessible via mobile phones and develop specific software that could be accessed in Quebecois (Abrams and Strogatz 2003). This helped the papers to keep in touch with the more ‘tech-​ savvy’ generation. Lewis (2008) argues that if indigenous language newspapers adopt new technologies for delivering content  –​for example, the ability to be accessed on smartphones –​they would help in the transmission, evolution and preservation of that particular language’s syntax, grammar and other structural properties. This preservation is crucial for the perpetuation of the indigenous language press itself. If indigenous language newspapers fail to keep up with modern communication technology changes, they will be able, at least for the time being, to keep the older generation of readers, despite not attracting the young generation that uses interactive technology like smartphones. Connecting readers in real-​time creates meaningful and valuable interaction with audiences. Lewis (2008) notes, ‘technology has become exceedingly commonplace in many fields (like the indigenous language press) over the years because it has the ability to empower its users in multiple ways’. He further states, ‘The initiative of confronting indigenous language loss should start with the indigenous press first and foremost’ (144). Research has shown that the use of technology to communicate indigenous languages improves people’s acquisition and linguistic competency in that language (Chun (2011; Levy 2007). This would be an added advantage to the press, as readers will have

Indigenous language press in Zimbabwe  69 authentic interaction with the language. Hearne, Wilson and Stewart (2008) assert that new media technologies, if adopted widely in indigenous language media in general, possess a beneficial effect in that ‘the interpenetration of global media technologies with hyperlocal needs, creatively adapted to work within and sustain the local culture rather than to replace it or homogenize it’ (iv). More so, experimenting with new technologies for indigenous content distribution may create a new business model for the indigenous language press that generates more revenue and simultaneously links them to more readers. Pearson (2000) notes, It is likely that in the long-​term, survival of our indigenous language media will depend upon our ability to exploit the new information and communication technologies … they have the potential to help people maintain their tradition –​we need to grapple with them and devise strategies of exploiting their potential. (71) Meadows (2000) notes that, in Australia, the indigenous press network has started relying on innovative uses of communication technologies. There will always be arguments against the use of technologies in indigenous language media. Some would argue that technology represents cultural capture –​it is a harbinger of cultural imperialism. Others would note the disruptive effects of technologies. But, it is a narrow conceptualisation of ‘indigenousness’ if it is seen as something separate from everyday life processes.

Discussion While most of what was the Zimbabwean indigenous language press is extinct, there is immense potential to resurrect this section of the press through a well-​ managed grant and subsidy approach. On their part, indigenous language newspapers would need to adopt new technologies. More so, they need to redefine their relationship to the indigenous communities they serve. From what our interview respondents said, it is evident that the press–​community relationship needs renewal. The community should restore their belief in an indigenous language press that focuses more on national issues than community ones. The starting point for this restoration of trust is a bottom-​up approach that allows them to provide news on what is transpiring within their communities. In that regard, indigenous language newspapers act as senders of news and, possibly, resist the propaganda of the elite politicians and urban-​based mainstream newspapers about their experiences. The result would be a heightened awareness of that community’s problems by residents who read the newspaper, and a willingness to engage with the problems at communal levels (Traber 1985). Barstad et al. (2016) note that news reports in indigenous language newspapers can contribute immensely ‘to the creation and maintenance of the community’s stability and its adjustment to change in the larger social environment’ (1). Riggins

70  Allen Munoriyarwa (1992) argues that indigenous language newspapers can be influential in intervening against issues that the particular community views negatively. In their current form, indigenous language newspapers in Zimbabwe are still vulnerable, content-​wise, to covering events happening outside their communities. This compromises their ‘indigenousness’, and worse still, local communities in Zimbabwe have no control over these newspapers. The indigenous language press has not even resisted the dominance of ‘non-​indigenous’ content in their newspapers. Perhaps they are accustomed to seeing ‘their’ indigenous language newspapers reflecting dominant national politics over local issues and power dynamics. Other attendant dangers include the limited financial muscle of the community put indigenous press, smaller staff and possibly less journalism training, as no highly qualified journalists would want to work for an indigenous language newspaper in Zimbabwe in their present state.

Conclusion The decline of the indigenous language press in Zimbabwe raises a number of questions; chief amongst them surround the consequences to public opinion of the closure of indigenous language spaces. What happens to readers who lose a newspaper published in their own language, and now have to read one published and ‘coloured’ in the language of others? This chapter has, through interviews with practising and former journalists, explored the decline of the indigenous language press in Zimbabwe –​particularly its causes –​and it has explored ways of reviving and sustaining them in the near future. The chapter has noted that a grant and subsidy system can go a long way in reviving indigenous language newspapers. However, it should be noted that, judging by the current comatose state of the indigenous language press, even a well-​managed grant and subsidy system, coupled with the adoption of new communication technologies within indigenous language press newsrooms, will not provide quick-​fix answers to the decline. Because serving the indigenous language press goes a long way in saving indigenous languages, there should be concerted efforts from educators, the state and public-​sphere institutions to serve the indigenous language press. Future research on Zimbabwe’s indigenous language media may focus on existing regulatory hurdles for the establishment of indigenous radio and television stations, and how to overcome them.

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4  Making sense of South African Mmega Dikgang’s transition from Setswana to English Bright T. Molale and Phillip Mpofu

Introduction The significance of African language media in general and newspapers in particular in any given nation cannot be overemphasised (Mpofu and Salawu 2018). They indicate African language media’s efficacy in information dissemination and ensuring the audience’s participation. The informative, educative and entertainment functions of the media are consolidated by the use of African languages as working languages. Against the backdrop of the unjustified supplanting of indigenous languages in post-​independence Africa by colonial administrations in favour of ex-​colonial languages such as English, use of African languages is a vital and reformist change towards decolonising African media systems. Promoting African languages in the media, generally, and newspapers, in particular, aids in the protection of regional and national cultural identities of the communities, and promotes the development of languages (Mpofu and Salawu 2018; Salawu 2019). However, existing literature shows that the fall of African language newspapers in colonial and post-​independence Africa, in general, and South Africa, in particular, is an increasing and worrisome occurrence (see Salawu 2006, 2015; Ndlovu 2011; Wasserman and Ndlovu 2015). The common observation is that, over the years, African language newspapers have risen and later collapsed (see Salawu 2013), while most English language newspapers have continued to survive. As an illustration, Salawu (2006) observes that, while in 1930 there were nineteen registered African language newspapers in South Africa, at present, the majority of them no longer exist. While the death of African language newspapers in South Africa has been noticeable, there are other papers that have survived. The IsiZulu language newspapers –​Isolezwe and Ilanga from Kwa-​Zulu Natal –​are typical examples (Salawu 2006; Wasserman and Ndlovu 2015). While African language newspapers that are said to have developed in South Africa and since collapsed are now virtually non-​existent (see Salawu 2013), the story of Mmega Dikgang, a community newspaper in North West Province is novel, eccentric and conspicuous. This publication has, over time, transformed from being an African language newspaper to becoming an English language newspaper. At its inception in 2007, Mmega Dikgang published all pages in the Setswana language. However, at some point, it became a bilingual newspaper, as it published in both

Mmega Dikgang’s transition to English  75 Setswana and English, with Setswana as the main working language. Recently, as evidenced by issues published since 2018, the newspaper’s main working language has shifted from to English. At present, Mmega Dikgang is now an English language newspaper, though in rare cases on some issues, the paper may include a story written in Setswana. Against this background, this study empirically interrogates and seeks to understand Mmega Dikgang’s shift from a Setswana newspaper to a Setswana-​English newspaper, and eventually to a fully English language outlet. The focus of the study is three-​fold. First, the chapter accounts for the factors that led to the demise of Mmega Dikgang’s initial decision to publish in Setswana. Second, the study analyses its shift to the bilingual publishing model, in the process exposing the reasons for its subsequent failure. Third, the research explores the prospects for Mmega Dikgang reverting to publishing in Setswana, in the context of the revealed challenges and the constitutional need to promote previously marginalised languages in South Africa.

Background of Mmega Dikgang Mmega Dikgang is a Setswana expression that means ‘the news reporter’. Mmega Dikgang was founded in the year 2007 in Delareyville. Initially, the plan was to make it a municipal newsletter for the Tswaing municipality. However, an agreement could not be reached with the then mayor, Manketse Tlhape, particularly in terms of the method of funding of the newspaper. This is when the publication was established as a community newspaper. In 2008–​2009, the paper obtained funding from the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA), which required it to broaden its focus to become a district newspaper. As a result, it expanded its distribution from Delareyville (in Tswaing) to places in the Ngaka Modiri district, such as Zeerust (Ramotshere Moilwa local municipality), Lichtenburg (Ditsobotla local municipality), Setlagole and Madibogo Villages (Ratlou local municipality), and Mahikeng (Mahikeng local municipality). The MDDA is a government entity that exists to guarantee South African local communities’ active participation in community media as well as ownership of community media platforms in the form of newspapers and radio stations (MDDA 2002). The rationale is that the accrued profits should be reinvested to ensure the sustainability of the media project. This implies that a community newspaper like Mmega Dikgang must operate commercially to some extent to ensure its continued existence. In terms of circulation, at its inception, 2,500 copies of Mmega Dikgang were being printed, but the circulation grew to 5,000 copies, which were distributed on a fortnight basis. The newspaper is labelled free/​gratis/​mahala to show that it is distributed for free. The Ratlou local municipality serves as the distributing hub of Mmega Dikgang for citizens in the Setlagole village, where this study was conducted. The village’s population is just over 7,900, 99% of whom are Setswana speaking. Additionally, only 11.3% of residents in the village have completed secondary schooling, while about 36% of residents did not receive any formal education (Media Monitoring Africa 2011).

76  Bright T. Molale and Phillip Mpofu

The language question and African language press in post-​independence South Africa There is abundant literature that demonstrates the importance of valorising and using first languages of indigenous African people in everyday formal and informal discourses. Language is regarded as the most important means of human communication. For that reason, language and language rights should be central to all considerations of human rights (Prah 2007); it is a means of communication, a carrier of culture, and a marker of identity (wa Thiong’o 1986). These arguments are rooted in the linguistic human rights perspective that emphasises individual’s or collective group’s rights to choose the language or languages to use in interacting or retrieving information (Mpofu and Mutasa 2014). Furthermore, there is also the perspective that language and literacy are crucial for the development of societies (Prah 2007). This suggests that language plays a critical role in socio-​economic development. The media are central in communicating development by transmitting knowledge (Choudhury 2011). They promote sustainable political and economic development by promoting literate communities, critical thinking, explaining events, problem-​ solving and public debate (Babalola 2002). Therefore, newspapers published in African languages are important in the circulation of developmental information among South African communities. Thus, against this background, Mmega Dikgang’s shift from an African language to English can be viewed as retrogressive in information dissemination, community participation in media platforms, as well as the promotion of African languages in the public domain. The media sector is one critical public domain that has been blamed for supporting and perpetuating the hegemony of former colonial languages, such as English, at the expense of African languages (Melkote and Steeves 2015). Truscott and Malcolm (2010) posit that, although there have been significant advances in some states towards reviving African languages, there remain language mechanisms that include language testing, education and the media that continue to perpetuate English language hegemony. Therefore, Mmega Dikgang’s mutable language policy and practice, which display a deliberate shift from an African language to English, inadvertently honour monolingualism over multilingualism. This impedes efforts towards the revitalisation and maintenance of African languages and, broadly, the development of the African language press. Therefore, using the Mmega Dikgang example, this study elaborates on the factors that impact negatively on the sustainability of African language press in South Africa, in particular, and Africa, in general. According to Salawu (2015), the problems facing African language press reflect those facing African languages in general. This is because former colonial languages tend to be preferred in the public domain at the expense of African languages. Hence, the debate about Mmega Dikgang’s shift to English, or the language of the South African press, in general, cannot be understood outside the context of South African colonial and post-​independence language policy and practices.

Mmega Dikgang’s transition to English  77 Existing literature shows that, even though the majority of South African people are not native speakers of English and Afrikaans, these languages, particularly English, dominate the public domain (Mkhize and Balfour 2017). This continued hegemony of English and Afrikaans contravenes citizens’ language rights enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (1996) and other legislative frameworks with language-​related provisions. Prah (2007) demonstrates that the origins of the current language situation and conundrums of African languages in South Africa are closely connected to the settler-​colonial systems that include apartheid. The systems epitomised the imposition of English and Afrikaans on the African black population. During this period, African languages were severely minoritised, since the speakers were treated as insignificant. Though Afrikaans was steadily developed and has become a second recognised language in the industry, English has retained the supremacist position it had under British colonial rule. Generally, post-​independence and democratic South Africa is characterised by an emotional and energised break from the colonial linguistic and cultural injustices. Therefore, it is questionable when a community newspaper, Mmega Dikgang, shifts its working language from an African language –​Setswana –​to an ex-​colonial language –​English. In existing scholarship on the struggles of raising indigenous languages in public domains of most formerly colonised African countries, the South African Constitution (1996) is cited as one of the most linguistically democratic and progressive since it promotes multilingualism. The Constitution accords nine African languages equal status with Afrikaans and English as official languages. These languages are Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, Siswati, TshiVenda, XiTsonga, isiNdebele, isiXhosa and isiZulu. The constitution paves the way for the development and promotion of the historically marginalised African languages (Beukes 2009). More so, Section 185 of the South African Constitution emphasises the protection of linguistic rights. Section 31 reads: Persons belonging to a cultural, religious or linguistic community may not be denied the right, with other members of that community, to enjoy the culture, practice their religion and use their language and to form, join and maintain cultural, religious and linguistic associations and other organs of civil society. However, on the contrary, existing scholarship on South African language policy and practice show that, though the national Constitution is widely lauded as the most linguistically egalitarian and supportive of linguistic diversity, the equality of the nine African languages with English and Afrikaans has remained more on paper than in reality (see Prah 2007; Beukes 2009). Kamwendo (2006) allegorically captures the South African commitment to promoting indigenous languages as ‘no easy walk to linguistic freedom’, to capture the failure to implement the seemingly liberal language policy. Against this background, this study evaluates the implementation of the constitutional provisions that place African languages on par with English, using the example of newspaper publishing. Thus, the study

78  Bright T. Molale and Phillip Mpofu shows why it is difficult to promote African languages in the press amid the postcolonial hangover and the market model of the media. In the context of English language hegemony in formerly African colonised countries, and the incessant objections against the marginalisation of African languages, another school of thought emerging in scholarship strangely advocates the acceptance of English as an African language. Against this background, this study questions whether it is time that South Africans abandon the classification of languages as either African or non-​African in agreement with Jeyifo’s (2018) call for acceptance of English as an African language. He argues that the language has not only been around for a long time, but is also a leading means of communication and interaction in virtually all areas of life, including the media. However, at present, this viewpoint is likely not going to be received well, given the way the English language came into South Africa. In wide scholarship, scholars deplore the limited use of African languages in public domains (Bamgbose 2011). As mentioned in the introduction of this chapter, the use of African languages in public domains of post-​independent African countries is essential (Mpofu and Salawu 2018). With specific reference to scholarship on African language media, Mpofu and Mutasa (2014) disapprove of the marginalisation of African languages in print media. According to Mpofu and Salawu (2018), the major arguments for the need for African language media are: first, African language media help in disseminating different kinds of communication of information to ordinary people and ensure their participation. Second, they promote regional and national cultural identities. Third, they are an important move towards decolonising African media, which are dominated by colonial languages. They also note that African language media help in the maintenance and development of African languages. More so, African language newspapers are veritable tools in language pedagogy, as they help in popularising the use of, and teaching and learning of, African languages (Salawu 2006). This means that they are useful tools in promoting literate communities through reading, writing and interactions, which are the hallmarks of effective and efficient use of language. This indicates that newspapers can promote critical thinking, retention of information, problem-​ solving and questioning of the received information (Babalola 2002). Given what the media in African languages can do for ordinary people and languages, it becomes worrisome when an African language newspaper converts to English, as we witnessed with Mmega Dikgang. The foregoing has demonstrated that African languages and African language media play critical educative and informative roles in the nation-​state. However, the rise and fall of African language newspapers remain a common occurrence in most African countries (Salawu 2006). The print media in South Africa is predominantly in English (Adedeji 2015). Existing scholarship shows that there are several constraints that affect African language publishing (see Mulokozi 2007; Adedeji 2015; Salawu 2015). These include the choice of English as an official language and widespread use of the language, a multiplicity of languages, a limited audience for works in African languages due to the educated elite’s preference for English, lack of qualified

Mmega Dikgang’s transition to English  79 personnel willing to write in African languages, lack of specialised terminologies with some African languages largely unwritten, reluctance of publishers to publish works in African languages, and the adoption of the wrong models of managing African language press. Against this background knowledge, this study empirically demonstrates the specific constraints that made Mmega Dikgang shift to English after having started as an African language newspaper. Though the story of African language newspapers in the continent, and in South Africa in particular, is generally characterised by instability and the death of newspapers, it is imperative to note that there are some African language newspapers in South Africa that have survived and that are doing well in the market (see Diederichs 2008; Ndlovu 2011; Wasserman and Ndlovu 2015; Salawu 2015). While newspapers in other African languages, like isiXhosa and Sesotho, have died out, the most celebrated success story is that of the isiZulu newspapers –​ Isolezwe, UmAfrika and Ilanga –​in the KwaZulu-​Natal province of South Africa. There is a strong relationship between these publications and their audiences. Besides appealing to readers who cannot access English-​language publications, they have niche markets and have attracted readers away from English-​language newspapers (Diederichs 2008; Ndlovu 2011; Salawu 2013). Concerning Ilanga, le Theku and LangeSonto, Ndlovu (2011) suggests that the breakthrough in the survival of the African language newspapers is also in the tabloidisation approach, which has expanded among the Zulu audience by disregarding politics and language purity; they use language adulterated with English and postmodern slang. This market-​oriented strategy centred on tabloidisation and sensationalism has also ensured the survival of Zimbabwe’s African language newspapers, Kwayedza and uMthunywa (Mpofu and Salawu 2018). Therefore, borrowing from the experiences of successful African language newspapers, this study also shows some of the avant-​garde tactics that Mmega Dikgang could have adopted to ensure its survival as an African language newspaper, instead of shifting to English. The aforementioned idea brings to the fore the market approach to media. Moring (2014) demonstrates that, while publicly financed media providers have the obligation to indiscriminately serve the audience and operate for the public good, they are commercial initiatives that survive on market-​generated revenues from advertising and sales. This demonstrates that media institutions also make decisions based on revenue considerations due to the size of the audience they serve. Therefore, this study shows that, rather than condemning Mmega Dikgang’s shift from Setswana to English, it is also important to consider the market structure and performance of the newspaper in attracting audience and advertisers as an African language newspaper. Hence, there is a need to look at the political economy and economics of the newspaper in question.

Conceptual framework This study employs the political economy and linguistic hegemony perspectives to understand Mmega Dikgang’s transition from Setswana to English. This is in

80  Bright T. Molale and Phillip Mpofu keeping with the issues raised in the previous section, which demonstrated that language competition in colonial and post-​independence South Africa, as well as the market approach of the media, are the major forces influencing African language press development. According to Wittel (2012), the theoretical roots of the political economy of media are usually located in Marxism. Political economy observes that, though media institutions are supposed to produce a public good, they have increasingly become privatised and turned into businesses that produce commodities that are used to accumulate profits. This means that there is an antagonistic and dual desire by media institutions to perform a social, cultural and political function, which compete with economic interests. The political economy of media focuses on the development of mass media as commodities that are produced and distributed by profit-​seeking organisations in capitalist industries; in other words, media outlets are businesses (Wasko 2014). The analysis of media as a business involves the concepts of commodification or commercialisation. That is, media and communication resources have become commodities; they are now products and services that are traded by profit-​seeking companies to advertisers and audiences. This also means that competition in various markets is inherent in the media business. Therefore, the political economy perspective also focuses on the consequences of such competition on the nature and quality of media content. It results in the homogenisation of the content of the media, a perspective that leads to debates about linguistic media imperialism. Thus, using this perspective, this study grapples with the broader political and economic conditions in which Mmega Dikgang operates, and the implications of its ownership and financing structures on the newspaper’s language choices, that is, how it generates income and profits for its survival. The concept of linguistic hegemony explains the language preferences of Mmega Dikgang’s stakeholders, who include personnel, readers and advertisers. This view is anchored on Gramsci’s writings on hegemony, particularly when looking at unequal power relations in society and how the widespread use of the English language prevents subaltern society groups from countering the hegemonic influence, and the status it enjoys (see Ives 2009, 663). Informed by Gramsci’s perception of hegemony, linguistic hegemony is a situation where linguistic minorities believe in and participate in the subjugation of the minority language to the dominant (Suarez 2002). According to Suarez (2002), the results of successful linguistic hegemony are often a language shift from the minority language to the majority language and, ultimately, loss. Using this concept, this study shows how the Setswana speakers, as readers, participate in their self-​subjugation by believing in the perceived superiority of English to African languages.

Methodology This study is qualitative and interpretive since it makes use of methods that delve deep into the natural environment in which people use language as a way of engaging with and interpreting reality (see Lindlof and Taylor 2019). Thus, for this study, we employed the interview method to collect data. An in-​depth interview

Mmega Dikgang’s transition to English  81 was conducted with the Mmega Dikgang founder and editor. Another interview was conducted with the ex-​communication manager of the Ratlou local municipality, who used to work closely with the Mmega Dikgang newspaper, especially when they needed to issue media statements and all public communications for the community in Setlagole Village. Seven community members in the village, who are readers of Mmega Dikgang, were purposively selected to participate in a focus group discussion. Given that all interviews were conducted in Setswana (and included some instances where there was code-​switching) to accommodate the language needs of the discussants, the transcripts have been translated into English. In the findings section, English translations for each Setswana version of the interviews are included to allow the reader to easily follow what was being said. Data were analysed using thematic analysis, which entails the identification of themes in the data that capture meanings that are relevant to the research question (Flick 2014). The study was broadly conceptualised within the framework discussed in the previous section.

Findings Three themes emerged from the findings, and they are key factors that were responsible for the shift in language policy and the choice of Mmega Dikgang: the hegemony of English in South African society, the lack of funding for the community newspaper and the lack of trained journalists proficient in Setswana. When the newspaper started out, the working language was Setswana. The plan was to test how people would respond to a newspaper written in Setswana, as the paper’s editor, Aaron Maleke, elucidates: The issue of language is key, you know, our African language is very key and we thought that, if you go to KwaZulu Natal, there is no newspaper that does not print in IsiZulu. I don’t even know a newspaper in KwaZulu Natal that publishes in any other language, except IsiZulu. So we thought also that the market and even the government itself, they need a publication that runs in Setswana. (Personal interview, 11 February 2019) On moving to English as the language of choice for Mmega Dikgang, the editor argued that most of the press statements (mostly from government departments, municipalities and other entities) are made in English. For that reason, it would be easier to report in the language in which the news was gathered. This would reduce the work required to complete the cumbersome and time-​consuming process of translating from English to Setswana, given the time constraints in meeting deadlines for printing each issue. However, in 2008, the founder shifted to the bilingual format, which incorporated English but still maintained the Setswana language since the funding requirements from the MDDA included the use of Setswana in the newspaper. By that time, the two journalists who could write in Setswana were funded by the MDDA. However, after the funding lapsed, the

82  Bright T. Molale and Phillip Mpofu newspaper could not manage to retain them. This marked the demise of Setswana publishing in Mmega Dikgang. Therefore, one of the reasons why Mmega Dikgang discontinued the use of Setswana is the shortage of professionally trained media personnel who could write the language. According to the founder, ‘there are people who are professionally trained to write in Setswana, but remember, in journalism, there is no school where you can study Setswana and learn how to write media stories in Setswana’ (Personal interview, 11 February 2019). For that reason, they appointed a non-​Setswana-​speaking news editor. The editor further opined that English is the language of journalism, and to use Setswana in journalism, one relies on the little Setswana that was learnt in school. Consequently, the editor bemoaned the lack of trained journalists with the knowledge to practice journalism in Setswana. He said, Writing requires expertise in journalism. It’s not like when a teacher writes an essay; you need to also add an element of charisma into it. You don’t write Setswana as if you’re writing an essay or something like that. It has to have that interesting element so that when a person reads it, they must enjoy. They must use idioms, so we need those people. It’s unfortunate that, as we speak, no university teaches journalism in Setswana or any other African languages. (Personal interview, 11 February 2019) He further explained that attempts were made to engage lecturers from the local university and to possibly establish a partnership with the Department of Communication or Setswana at the institution to assist with personnel when the need arises. The efforts were fruitless because lecturers preferred remunerated individual agreements and contracts to complete the translations, yet the funding from MDDA was not enough to pay the translators. This shows that the major problem was the lack of expertise to translate from English to Setswana, and funding to pay the translators. The paper solely relies on advertisements for payment of salaries and general survival. Another challenge that emerged from the interview is the limited readership of Setswana articles since the majority of people with a reading culture tend to prefer English language newspapers. However, this view was countered by all participants, who preferred Setswana as the language they want to see in newspapers. Some of the notable responses from the focus group confirm this viewpoint: A: I can understand Setswana better than any other language. With English, I would say I understand it only to find out that I do not understand everything. B: Mmega Dikgang should not publish only in English. Not all of us can read and understand the language, though we did it at school. The participants’ views show that they disapproved of Mmega Dikgang’s shift from Setswana to English. The above statements show that, contrary to the perception held by the Mmega Dikgang editor, readers’ perspectives show a strong preference

Mmega Dikgang’s transition to English  83 for news content that is published in Setswana. Thus, the readers confirm that the decision by the newspaper to disavow Setswana as the language of publishing was retrogressive. Mmega Dikgang’s unexpected shift from Setswana to English also puzzled students from the local university who had been using it as an African language newspaper in Setswana and journalism studies. This is indicated by the respondents’ call for the return of Setswana in Mmega Dikgang. This view is also supported by the former communication manager at the Ratlou local municipality, who argued: If we focus on the English language, we don’t reach our target audience. You know these service delivery protests, most of them are caused by the communication barrier, a language barrier. Why do they call their newspaper ‘Mmega Dikgang’, but when you look inside, it’s a different thing. They should stick to the name of the newspaper, ‘Mmega Dikgang’, they should report the news in Setswana. (Personal interview , 22 February 2019) The findings also show that journalists detest writing stories in Setswana, as they perceive it to be arduous and difficult to write. The editor of Mmega Dikgang argued that ‘Setswana is very difficult and expansive in writing … it needs a lot of time’ (Personal interview, 11 February 2019). This reveals the negative attitude towards writing in Setswana, which could have contributed to the language shift in the newspaper. Going forward, it is possible that Mmega Dikgang will revert to publishing Setswana, but the editor indicated this can only happen if the MDDA funding is reinstated, or if any other sources of funding are made available to employ a Setswana-​writing journalist. Currently, it is difficult to accommodate any addition to the current personnel under the current budget. The other possibility includes re-​engaging the university to see if a deal can be struck with Setswana translators in a way that benefits both parties. Since English is the language of journalism, universities need to restructure their curriculum to include indigenous languages. Since the newspaper solely relies on advertisements, with the government being the major advertiser, there is a need to move away from that dependency. However, readers’ responses show that a return to the Setswana version of Mmega Dikgang is imperative since a newspaper published in their indigenous language will meet their linguistic and cultural needs. Some even went further to reflect on their previous experiences when the newspaper was published in Setswana: C: Setswana Mmega Dikgang made us understand ourselves better. D:  Mmega Dikgang in Setswana made us aware of the happenings in our surroundings. Sometimes you need information close to you, not stories from Gauteng. (Personal interview, 22 February 2019)

84  Bright T. Molale and Phillip Mpofu Over and above a preference for returning the Mmega Dikgang newspaper to Setswana, some respondents during the focus group discussion indicated that they would not mind having some English words or stories included in the newspaper. They felt that, in some cases, Setswana might not have the functional load to convey certain words or stories on political, economic or scientific stories. One discussant said: F: There are certain English expressions that cannot be expressed in Setswana. If there is a shortage of words in Setswana, then one can use English words. (Personal interview, 22 February 2019) These kinds of sentiments confirm the linguistic hegemony that the English language continues to enjoy at the expense of indigenous languages in post-​ independence African communities. This confirms what Salawu (2015) called the lack of cultural assertiveness and pride towards using one’s own indigenous languages. Therefore, whether or not Mmega Dikgang’s readership, appreciation and popularity among the Setswana-​speaking people in the North West Province will increase, should the paper adopt a Setswana publishing regime, remains a mystery. Additionally, this observation not only confirms a critical perspective about how media are used to spread Western colonial values and ideals through language (Melkote and Steeves 2015, 159–​165), but also reveals how some people, whether readers or otherwise, participate in their own subjugation by believing that the English language is superior to African languages.

Discussion The findings presented in the previous section on Mmega Dikgang’s transition from Setswana to English show that this is an archetypal case that illustrates the volatility and conundrums of African language newspapers in post-​independence Africa. Since Mmega Dikgang was established as a community newspaper serving a district, it was fitting that it published in the region’s predominant African language, Setswana, which is also one of the official languages of the North West Province. As discussed in the literature review, the imperative for using African languages in African language media cannot be overemphasised (see Mpofu and Salawu 2018). In the same way, newspapers like Isolezwe and Ilanga have become cultural symbols of the KwaZulu Natal province and the isiZulu cultural identity. Therefore, a fully-​fledged newspaper publishing in Setswana would equally fulfil the people’s expectations of an operational African language media in the North West province of South Africa. Such a development would be the fruition of the constitutional call for promoting linguistic diversity and previously marginalised languages. This study shows that whilst the idea of setting up African language newspapers is noble and forever present, funding remains a stumbling block for the growth and sustainability of African language press. Mmega Dikgang was only kick-​started after the MDDA funding was availed. However, as occurred at Mmega Dikgang, funding

Mmega Dikgang’s transition to English  85 that is not hinged on the commercial activities of the newspaper itself is not self-​ sustaining. This is so because Mmega Dikgang only sustained Setswana publishing until MDDA funding ended. Thereafter, Setswana publishing was discontinued because the publisher could not keep the Setswana journalists in the enterprise. Without substantial funding, even engaging part-​timers to work as translators proved difficult. The study also shows that Mmega Dikgang’s short life span as an African language newspaper suffered due to the entrenched English language hegemony in South Africa. The shift from Setswana to English by Mmega Dikgang shows that there is some convenient cultural capital or commercial value in English that could not be found in the Setswana language. The editor’s argument that switching from Setswana to English was expedient since all press statements are published in English is an indication of the deep-​seated English language hegemony in the South African public domain. Despite the egalitarian nature of the Constitution of South Africa, English is the language of public domains, such as politics, business and the media (see Prah 2007; Kamwendo 2006; Beukes 2009), such that collecting news from, and writing news on, a domain that privileges English over an African language is inexplicable and difficult. McQuail (2005) shows that the political economy of the media entails the imperative of economic control and logic, which results in the concentration of the media structure, global integration of media, the commodification of contents and audiences of media, marginalisation of alternative voices and subordination of public interests to private interests. These perspectives enhance the understanding of Mmega Dikgang’s shift from Setswana to English since this demonstrates the dictates of economics and pragmatism on the language of a newspaper. The African language newspaper yielded to the competition of the English language press and, as a result, Mmega Dikgang shifted from a local language to a global language that reaches a wide audience and attracts advertisers. However, this marginalises an African language  –​Setswana  –​and it disregards the 1996 constitutional declarations that call for the promotion of previously marginalised African languages. However, the above may explain why even the Constitution included a cautionary provision that proposes shifting from one official language to another depending on issues like purpose, practicality, expense or preference of residents, among other factors (see Constitution of the Republic of South Africa 1996). This an acknowledgement that, in as much as promoting previously marginalised African languages in the public domain is paramount, there are other historical, economic, political or demographic factors that influence language choice and practice. However, the escape clauses in the constitutional provisions on language give governments and other bodies excuses for not adhering to the constitution (Kamwendo 2006), thereby legitimising English language hegemony. The findings of the study suggest that news can be easily collected in English, possibly because ‘news is in English’. Therefore, news in Setswana can only be made possible through translations. This perspective places Setswana, the target language, as subordinate to English, the source language. In the process, it

86  Bright T. Molale and Phillip Mpofu legitimises and reflects the dominance of English as the language of the media in South African society. The editor’s perception of translation as a ‘cumbersome and time-​consuming process’ and ‘writing Setswana as difficult’ is also an indication of the lack of linguistic pride, or what Salawu (2015) calls a lack of cultural assertiveness, which depicts a colonial language as ‘easier’ than an African language. This is also an exhibition of the engrained English language hegemony in the minds of the journalists themselves. In any case, the editors and journalists are products of the education system, which privileges English as the medium of instruction, and a society, which regards English as a language of social and economic progression. Another key challenge that emerged in the findings of this study, and which made Mmega Dikgang shift from Setswana to English, is the shortage of trained personnel to write in Setswana. This might seem to be an astonishing justification given the number of Setswana speakers in the North West Province who have studied the language, at least up to matric level. However, the argument is that writing for the newspaper –​that is, journalistic writing –​is different from ordinary Setswana literacy. This discovery concurs with views that have been raised in the existing literature on the obstacles to the growth of the African language press (see Mulokozi 2007; Adedeji 2015; Salawu 2015). It also vindicates Salawu’s (2008) desire to see the inclusion of African language courses in journalism curricula and in the training of journalists. While this is a plausible argument, this study shows that the underdevelopment of African language newspapers in South Africa is also attributed to the entrenched English language hegemony in journalism and practice. It is the challenge that makes a person (surprisingly) fail to practice journalism in their own language, but easily perform it in a colonial language. For survival and payment of salaries, the newspaper relies on the revenue generated from advertisements, with the government being the biggest customer. While the editor of Mmega Dikgang spurned the point, this study shows that Mmega Dikgang’s shift from Setswana to English is a response to market forces. This made the publisher shift to a language that attracts the audience and advertisers to generate the much-​needed revenue to guarantee the survival of the newspaper. This is because the findings show that Setswana Mmega Dikgang had limited readership since most people with a reading culture of newspapers tend to prefer English language papers. Again, this shows that the entrenched English hegemony has affected the development and growth of African language newspapers. This confirms the argument that African language publications generally face stiff competition from their English language competitors (Mpofu and Salawu 2018). Judging by the responses from focus group participants, there seems to be a preference for Mmega Dikgang to publish its content in Setswana so that they can be able to read and easily understand the news and current affairs relevant in their own language. However, this preference conflicts with the economic circumstances in which the newspaper finds itself, given that it is solely reliant on advertising for survival, and advertisers prefer publications in English. The implication here is that Mmega Dikgang, which was supposed to be a community media platform as per MDDA policies, now operates as a small commercial newspaper based on

Mmega Dikgang’s transition to English  87 its need to make a profit. Therefore, this study shows that the abandonment of African language publishing by Mmega Dikgang is not the best option in the interest of promoting African languages and African language newspapers. The publisher of Mmega Dikgang should have explored other avenues of carving a Setswana niche market of readership, like Isolezwe and Ilanga, which developed a strong relationship with readers through tabloidisation (Wasserman and Ndlovu 2015). This a market-​oriented strategy that has also ensured the survival of Zimbabwe’s African language newspapers, Kwayedza and uMthunywa (Mpofu and Salawu 2018).

Conclusion This chapter is a significant contribution to the limited literature on African language newspapers in South Africa, in particular, and Africa, in general. The chapter particularly accounts for the instability and unsustainability of African language newspapers using Mmega Dikgang as an example. In the process, the study evaluates the implementation of the constitutional provisions that put African languages on par with English, particularly in newspaper publishing. The study shows why it is difficult to promote African languages in the press amidst the postcolonial hangover and market-​driven model of the print media. Against the background of the imperative of African language media, the language question –​especially the English–​African language debate in public domains –​and the performance of African language press in colonial and post-​independence South Africa, this chapter accounts for Mmega Dikgang’s transition from Setswana to English. The transition confirms English language hegemony, which has colonial roots as the pivot for the struggle of African language newspapers in post-​independence South Africa and Africa in general. English is established as the language of commerce, politics, education and parliament, among other domains. It is also the established language of journalism and news. Hence, all the justifications for the poor performance of African language newspapers are hinged on the dominance of the English language newspapers, which enjoy the lion’s share of the readership. This makes English language newspapers more economically viable since they attract sales and advertisements. Thus, abandoning African language publishing is submission to English language hegemony and is against the interests of promoting previously marginalised languages. Instead, Mmega Dikgang should have taken a leaf from other African language newspapers, like Ilanga and Isolezwe, on how they have survived the relentless competition of English language newspapers. This study is a vital contribution to the rarely existing literature on the development and sustainability of African language newspapers in South Africa, and Africa in general. It provides insights into the volatility and unsustainability of African language press in post-​independence Africa.

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5  The extinction of siSwati-​language newspapers in the Kingdom of Eswatini Maxwell V. Mthembu and Carolyne M. Lunga

Introduction In the Eswatini context, indigenous-​language newspapers were divided into three categories –​government-​funded, subsidiary publications and ‘mainstream’ or privately funded productions. In the first group, for example, Izwi Lama Swazi (The Voice of the Swazi) was funded by the colonial government and published by the Bantu Press, and Umbiki (The Reporter) was funded by the post-​colonial government. The original series (February–​July 1934, when the newspaper temporarily folded) was published by locals:  John June Nquku, Johannes J.  Mnyandu and Fynn F. Sepamla. The second type of newspapers are subsidiaries of existing publications. According to Salawu (2013), ‘the subsidiary model consists of local-​ language newspapers that exist as subsidiary products of a foreign (but dominant) language media organisation’ (80). This includes the Times of Swaziland and the Swazi Observer. The third group is referred to as ‘mainstream’ newspapers (Salawu 2013) and are privately funded. Among these were Umgijimi waNgwane (The Runner of Ngwane), founded by a former cabinet minister, Sishayi Nxumalo; Mbambambamba (In Actual fact), founded by Dr Themba Ntiwane; and Vuka Ngwane (Arise Ngwane), founded by a female publisher, Bonsile Mncina. Whereas in other African countries, such as Lesotho and South Africa, missionaries played a pivotal role in the establishment of newspapers, such as Umshumayeli Wendaba (Preacher of the News), UmAfrika (The African), Leselinyana la Lesotho (The Little Light of Lesotho), and Moeletsi oa Basotho (Advisor of Basotho), the opposite is true in Eswatini (Salawu 2013). The missionaries and even the colonists (Salawu 2013) did not make any contributions in the establishment of the siSwati language press. Other than the Times of Swaziland and Swazi Observer newspapers, a majority of vernacular newspapers were initiatives by the indigenous emaSwati. In this chapter, we explain the challenges of siSwati-​language newspapers that have struggled to survive over the years. We also give a brief historical background of the vernacular newspapers and discuss how the Kingdom of Eswatini is still a shadow of the colonists’ language, English. The chapter discusses briefly the historiography of indigenous-​ language newspapers in Eswatini and gives a background of the Nguni-​ language speakers known as emaSwati. The chapter also highlights the perceptions some

siSwati-language newspapers in Eswatini  91 siSwati-​language speakers have about their language, which touches on education policy that promotes English to the detriment of the mother tongue, siSwati. We argue that unless there are interventions by educators and those in the echelons of power, the perception that siSwati is inferior to English will result in the extinction of the indigenous language. Also discussed in the chapter is the success of Zulu-​ language newspapers, a language that is similar to siSwati. We discuss the factors that distinguish Zulu-​language newspapers, particularly Isolezwe, from siSwati newspapers, the latter of which are not succeeding. This chapter attempts to answer the following questions: what are the contributory factors that have caused the demise of siSwati-​language newspapers? and why is it that Zulu-​language newspapers thrive?

Critical political economy According to Denis McQuail (2005), political economy ‘directs research attention to the empirical analysis of the structure of ownership and control of media‘ (99). Likewise, Boyd-​Barret (1995) states that political economy in media research is associated with ‘macro-​questions of media ownership and control’ (196). Boyd-​ Barret (1995, 187) notes that most of the powerful studies on political economy have focussed on institutions and their contexts. What is paramount to political economists is how ‘economic constraints limit or bias the forms of mass culture that are produced and distributed through the media’ (Baran and Davis 2006, 241). The focus is on the constraints in the production and distribution processes of content (Baran and Davis 2006). This study draws on critical political economy theory, which examines how the nature of ‘the environment in which the media operate may serve as a facilitating factor on one hand or a constraining factor on the other’ (Gunde 2017, 25). According to Salawu (2013) critical political economy is a division of political economy that focuses on issues of culture. Language is a sub-​set of culture, and the media is responsible for the promotion and dissemination of forms of culture. The focus of this chapter is to ascertain the challenges associated with the production of indigenous-​language newspapers in the Kingdom of Eswatini. The absence of siSwati-​language newspapers points to certain challenges, which this article seeks to unearth.

Salawu’s models of managing indigenous-​language newspapers This article employs Salawu’s (2013) models of managing indigenous-​language newspapers. He argues that there are mainstream models and subsidiary models. Mainstream models are the newspapers that are stand-​alone publications in a media organisation. SiSwati-​language newspapers that fall under this category in Eswatini are Izwi Lama Swazi, founded in 1934 (between 1950 and 1963 it was a subsidiary), Umgijimi wa Ngwane, Mbambambamba, and Vuka Ngwane. Subsidiaries are ‘local-​language newspapers that exist as subsidiary products of a foreign (but dominant) language media organisation’ (Salawu 2013, 80). Tikhatsi TemaSwati and

92  Maxwell V. Mthembu and Carolyne M. Lunga Intsatseli fall under this category. The argument is that, irrespective of the model, indigenous-​language newspapers occupy a precarious space in the media arena. Salawu (2013) argues that there are three factors upon which the success of a local-​language newspaper is predicated. These are the size of the population of the speakers of the language the newspaper is printed in; their level of cultural assertiveness, position within a power equation and resource allocation; as well as the ability of the newspaper to pander to the taste of the youths and growing urban elites in terms of language use and content. (Salawu 2013, 82)

Methodology In the quest to establish the reasons behind the extinction of indigenous-​language newspapers in Eswatini, this study used documents and interviews as instruments for data collection. Interviews were conducted with some of the founders of the indigenous-​language newspapers of Eswatini and with individuals who were once employees of the newspapers. Through interviews, we are interested in the exploration of people’s voices and experiences (Byrne 2004). In some instances, these voices are ignored or marginalised (Bryne 2004), as is the case with the voices for indigenous-​language newspapers. Semi-​structured or unstructured interviews enable researchers to frame questions as they ponder the issue that is being explored (Salawu 2013). One ideal feature of qualitative interviews is that they are not rigid, whereas structured interviews require interviewers to adhere strictly to questions decided beforehand (Salawu 2013, 82). The flexibility of the qualitative interviewing process permits different approaches based on the research topic (Bryne 2004).

Historiography of indigenous-​language newspapers In documenting the history of the press in the Kingdom of Eswatini, it is evident that the country does not have a rich history of siSwati-​language newspapers. Archival records show that, despite this, indigenous-​language newspapers were established. The vernacular press in Eswatini emerged in 1934 with the founding of Izwi Lama Swazi by John June Nquku (Izwi Lama Swazi 1934, 2), among others. This was just a news sheet that was meant to propagate the ideology of the Progressive Association, which Nquku had also founded and which later became the Swaziland Progressive Party, to promote the aspirations of emaSwati who were, at the time, under British rule as a protectorate. The settler community in Eswatini relied on the Times of Swaziland, an English-​language newspaper founded in 1897 by Allister Miller and the Swaziland Corporation. According to Switzer and Switzer (1979), Izwi Lama Swazi was ‘moderate politically with slight Swazi nationalistic overtones’ (48). However, the publication did not last long, as it was forced to close down in July 1934. In 1947, Izwi Lama Swazi was revived, and in 1950 it

siSwati-language newspapers in Eswatini  93 was taken over by the Bantu Press until 1964 when it folded again. In January 1968, the Information Department of the Government of Swaziland founded an indigenous-​language newspaper, Umbiki (The Reporter). The aims of the publication were: to enhance national development through communication with remote and urban communities, to promote the use of the siSwati language and to promote literacy (Personal communication with Joe Gama, editor of Umbiki, 1999). In a write-​up to UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), the Swaziland Government Information Service noted that the newspaper had to be discontinued because of financial constraints. The printing costs escalated such that the government could no longer afford to publish the newspaper. Though this was the government’s paper, it never had a vision for its sustenance. The paper was widely read, especially because it was distributed free of charge in government ministries. This is the same government that failed to buy the Times of Swaziland despite an offer from the Argus group of newspapers, and a British man bought the newspaper in 1975. Other titles that emerged include Umgijimi wa Ngwane, which was founded by former Deputy Prime Minister Dr Sishayi Nxumalo in 1985. According to Hlatshwayo (2011), the publication was funded by a French company. However, despite its appeal to siSwati-​language speakers, there was a misappropriation of funds and escalating printing costs because the publication was printed in South Africa (Hlatshwayo 2011). In 1990, Douglas Loffler’s Times of Swaziland introduced a siSwati version of the newspaper known as Tikhatsi TemaSwati (Times of emaSwati). This was not at all a new phenomenon in that, while the Times of Swaziland together with Izwi Lama Swazi were under the ownership of the Bantu Press, the former carried the latter as an insert (Hlatshwayo 2011). In 1993, the Sunday edition of the newspaper, the Times of Swaziland Sunday, also gave birth to Tikhatsi Ngelisontfo (Times on Sunday). According to Loffler (Personal communication, June 1995), the siSwati newspapers in the stable had to be discontinued because they were a financial drain to the company since they could not attract advertising. However, this was not true, as confirmed by an employee from the advertising department for the Times of Swaziland; the employee stated that advertising representatives never bothered to source adverts from the business community or government enterprises (Personal communication, 12 March 2019). The state-​owned Swazi Observer, established in 1981, cannot be left out in the race to win siSwati-​language readers. The newspaper established Intsatseli (The Reporter) in 1999. The publication covered politics, business, entertainment and sport. However, the lifespan of this publication was very short, following a decision by the Board of the newspaper to suspend its operations in February 2000. The Swazi Observer had published a sensitive story about crime syndicates, and the Swaziland commissioner of police had written to his South African counterpart to investigate the involvement of some individuals in the corridors of power who were part of this syndicate. The reporters were pressured to reveal their sources, however, they wouldn’t budge, which resulted in the abrupt closure of the newspapers published under the Swazi Observer. When the Board rescinded its decision in 2002, only the English-​language editions of the Swazi Observer newspapers reappeared.

94  Maxwell V. Mthembu and Carolyne M. Lunga As if to prove that the newspaper industry is not a male-​dominated business, Bonsile Mncina, a former employee of Tikhatsi Temaswati and Intsatseli, founded Vuka Ngwane (Arise Ngwane). The aim of the newspaper was to promote news in siSwati and to fill the void of siSwati-​language newspapers. Mncina’s experience in indigenous-​language newspapers could have propelled her to fulfil this need. Her major struggle was distribution, securing adverts and the cost of printing in Mbombela (formerly Nelspruit), South Africa. Mncina had to seek an audience with the Queen Mother of Eswatini to get support for her paper, which was not forthcoming from prospective advertisers and others in government (Personal communication, June 2011). However, she succumbed to death in 2012, resulting in the dissolution of her newspaper. A medical doctor whose father has published many siSwati-​language books founded Mbambambamba in January 2009. Dr Themba Ntiwane was motivated by the absence of siSwati-​language newspapers and books in the country and the fact that siSwati was on the ‘verge of extinction’ (Personal communication, March 2009) as a result of the dominance of English in Eswatini. Ntiwane observed that, even at the national archives, siSwati texts were conspicuous by their absence. He also alluded to the fact that most communication in the country was conducted in English and this would, in the long run, have adverse effects on the culture and identity of emaSwati. Though numerous issues were at play when the newspaper folded, the determining factor was its failure to attract advertisers.

The emaSwati of Eswatini The Kingdom of Eswatini is a southern African country landlocked by South Africa (on the north, south and west) and Mozambique (to the east). Mswati I is regarded as the ‘father’ of the Swazi nation (Matsebula 1988). He took over from his father, Sobhuza I, who was Ngwane’s grandson. EmaSwati are also referred to as bakaNgwane (the people of Ngwane). Sobhuza I died in 1836. During his reign, he extended the boundaries of his kingdom to Barberton, Carolina, Ermelo, Piet Retief and Wakkerstroom (Marwick 1966) in South Africa. It was Sobhuza I’s reign that ensured good relations with the Zulu who, at the time, were ruled by Shaka. As a result, Shaka never attacked emaSwati (Matsebula 1988). Sobhuza I visited Shaka in Zululand before he died (Matsebula 1988). Kuper (1963) notes the diplomatic marriages that were initiated by Sobhuza, who gave two of his daughters in marriage to Shaka, which consolidated Sobhuza’s position. It was only Shaka’s successors, Dingane and Mpande, who were a threat to Eswatini by attacking emaSwati. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, Eswatini witnessed an increase in the white settler population. The British and Afrikaner settlers were competing for control of Eswatini. In 1899, the Anglo-​Boer War broke out and, after the war was won by the British, Eswatini was placed under the authority of the governor of the Transvaal (Matsebula 1988). The country was under British control from 1903 until independence in 1968. At the time of independence, the country embraced a Westminster-​style constitution. At independence, Sobhuza II, the father of the incumbent ruler of Eswatini, was king.

siSwati-language newspapers in Eswatini  95

The siSwati language EmaSwati are Nguni-​language speakers with close ties to the Zulu, culturally and historically. As nations that always shared borders, they were engaged in wars at times in an effort to extend their influence. To strengthen relations, emaSwati sent princesses to become wives to Zulu kings. This initiative by emaSwati ensured that the two nations became closer because they were now in-​laws. Currently, two wives to incumbent Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini, are emaSwati and one is a sister to King Mswati III of Eswatini. The relations also extend to national symbolic events, such as the reed dance ceremony, which is practised by the Zulu and emaSwati, where Zulu maidens attend the Eswatini reed dance and emaSwati reciprocate the kind gesture. The two tribes, as Nguni-​language speakers, understand the language of the other, which makes communication between them easy, including the Ndebele and Xhosa peoples. The Constitution of the Kingdom of Eswatini (2005) stipulates that siSwati and English are the official languages in the country. A majority of the Eswatini population speaks siSwati, which has a standard written version of the language. There are dialects though in the northern and southern parts of the country. In the south, there is the Thithiza dialect, which is a mixture of isiZulu and siSwati (Dlamini 2014). This could be attributed to the fact that this part of the country shares the border with the KwaZulu-​Natal province of South Africa. There is also the Yeyeza dialect that is spoken by the Nxumalo/​Ndwandwe clan. This clan is found in Ebulandzeni (a place of the in-​laws; Matsebula 1988). The Nxumalo/​Ndwandwe clan are descendants of Zwide’s son, Madangala, who sought refuge in Swaziland after his father was attacked and defeated by the Zulu king, Shaka, in Eastern Transvaal (Matsebula 1988). The Yeyeza is, according to Matsebula (1988, 25) a ‘Zuluized Swazi’. The emaSwati of Eswatini have not severed relations with emaSwati, who were left on the South African side of the border when Allister Miller drafted the first topological map of Eswatini that separates the two countries (Masson 1989, 338). The 2011 population census in South Africa shows that there are almost 1.3 million siSwati-​language speakers in that country, mainly found in the Mpumalanga province (Statistics South Africa 2012). SiSwati is one of the eleven official languages of South Africa. Owing to the influence of other languages, the siSwati-​language speakers in South Africa have their own dialect. Despite the fact that siSwati and English are official languages in the Kingdom of Eswatini, English dominates and permeates all facets of life, including the media (Mahlalela 2005). English continues to be the language of instruction in schools and economic development (Mordaunt 1990). SiSwati is regarded as the inferior of the two languages (Dludlu 2016). One is likely to be jeered and laughed at if the person errs grammatically in English. A  cabinet minister trended on social media in 2018 when interviewed by a Supersport television journalist when he referred to xenophobia as ‘xamafogo’, a word that does not exist in English (Msibi 2015). There are currently concerns from some quarters about the policy to fail pupils who do not pass English. Some pupils excel in all subjects, but once

96  Maxwell V. Mthembu and Carolyne M. Lunga they fail English, they are expected to repeat the class even if they have passed all the other subjects including siSwati. Mpofu and Salawu (2018) lament the low status accorded to African languages, including among SiSwati-​speaking people. The low status manifests itself even in public gatherings, workshops and meetings where, even though all the people in attendance are indigenous-​language speakers, discussions are usually conducted in English. This culture also manifests itself in most public schools where siSwati speaking is strictly prohibited on the premises, and if students deviate, they are punished. Cobb (2013) refers to this behaviour as ‘infiltrated consciousness’. In private schools, English is the norm and the medium that is used by pupils and teachers alike. Most private schools are multi-​cultural, an ideal arena to promote siSwati, yet pupils rarely communicate in the indigenous language. As the pupils grow, the perception is already engrained that siSwati is inferior to English. This results in the discernment that reading a newspaper or any document in siSwati is demeaning. It would be folly, therefore, to assume that people will read indigenous-​language newspapers unless the perception that the language is low status is eliminated. On the contrary, emaSwati are more comfortable in speaking their language. Kamwangamalu and Moyo (2003, 41) state that English in Eswatini is the language of government and administration, education, diplomacy and international business transactions. Interestingly, when it comes to communication in social circles, siSwati is preferred. In the 1980s, for instance, the government-​owned national radio station was forced to establish a channel dedicated to those comfortable in communicating in English after complaints that radio announcers were playing too many songs with lyrics in English. Another concern was that some of the people invited for talk shows could not complete a sentence without including English words. The concerns were premised on the fact that the majority of listeners were not conversant in the Queen’s language, hence they could not comprehend the English phrases or words used during broadcasts. As noted by Kamwangamalu and Moyo (2003), indigenous languages in Lesotho, Malawi and Eswatini are used in daily communication by a lager section of society beyond the classroom setting. When it comes to oral communication, preferences tend to gravitate towards siSwati. The low-​status nature of the language also manifests itself in the education system where siSwati language teachers are not held in high esteem (Mahlalela 2005). Neither is the teaching of siSwati taken seriously in primary and secondary schools, where children have an option to learn different languages but opt for the elite languages, such as French, Afrikaans and Portuguese (Mahlalela 2005). Mahlalela (2005, 10) posits that, when conducting a study on the importance of siSwati to learners, a whopping 77% of the respondents considered it the least important subject. This is a travesty; unless there is a bold intervention by the Eswatini government, siSwati is gravitating towards extinction. The Language in Education Policy stipulates that siSwati shall be used as a medium of instruction in the first four grade levels; with the exception of siSwati language materials, all materials are written in English (Mkhabela et al. 2018). In 2017, the prime minister of Eswatini reiterated this, stating that this will be the case in private and

siSwati-language newspapers in Eswatini  97 public schools (Mtsetfwa and Makhubu 2017). Some private schools have, however, ignored this directive and provided excuses to delay teaching the language. Having looked at the historiography of siSwati-​language newspapers, as well as the history of the emaSwati and their language, below we discuss the reasons behind the collapse of the siSwati-​language newspapers. There are numerous factors that caused this apart from the fact that the population of siSwati speakers is less than 3 million in Eswatini and South Africa combined.

Factors leading to the closure of siSwati-​language newspapers The topography of Eswatini has affected the distribution of newspapers. Even the established Times of Swaziland has a circulation of fewer than 25,000 (Breitenbach 2019). Most of the newspapers are distributed in the major transport routes, towns and cities. This occurs despite the company having numerous vehicles to transport the newspaper throughout the country. As already stated, the Eswatini populace is mainly found in rural areas, and people in these areas have minimal or no access to newspapers. Instead, they rely mainly on radio for their news content since radio is the most dominant medium in Eswatini. A major challenge is that popular South African radio stations, such as Ukhozi FM and Ligwalagwala FM, have a huge following and they are an alternative source of information. The circulation for the Tikhatsi TemaSwati and Tikhatsi Ngelisontfo was 5,000 copies and was distributed in outlets that sold the Times of Swaziland. An employee of the circulation department of the Times of Swaziland alluded to the fact that sales of the siSwati-​language newspapers were not encouraging, mainly because the content was a translation of the English-​language editions of the Times of Swaziland and the Times of Swaziland Sunday. He stated: A reader who had read the Times would see no reason why they should buy the vernacular newspapers because fewer stories were published compared with the English versions. This discouraged many readers from buying the siSwati-​language newspapers. (Personal communication, 8 March 2019) The vernacular newspapers at the Times of Swaziland did not have reporters dedicated to newsgathering, which was a major handicap. The news was gathered by the English-​language newspaper reporters, and it was the responsibility of the typesetters to translate the stories into siSwati. The anomaly here is that the news is produced with the English language reader in mind. What is propagated is not the culture of the indigenous-​language speakers, but that of the English speakers. The world is perceived through the eyes of the colonial language. This has serious implications for the language of emaSwati. Mauder (2015) states that Mondli Makhanya, editor of the City Press, argues that blacks in South Africa hate their languages under the notion that they are backwards. If people identify with their language, they are bound to consume media published or broadcast in

98  Maxwell V. Mthembu and Carolyne M. Lunga their language. ‘Isolezwe readers choose and consume newspapers not as empty vessels or culturally isolated beings, but as culturally embedded social subjects’ (Wasserman and Ndlovu 2015, 144). The concern raised by the Times employee that the translators were themselves not well-​versed in the language could have contributed to the weaker appeal of the content. The translation could have compromised the meanings of the stories. By comparison, Isolezwe has a dedicated team of reporters who gather and report news, as shown in the newspaper’s editorial team. In Eswatini, the first indigenous-​ language newspaper, Izwi Lama Swazi, after its takeover by the Bantu Press, used African government officers and teachers as ‘reporters’. This was on condition that they would not violate government general orders by disseminating political content. The female publisher, Mncina, played a number of roles in Vuka Ngwane. For instance, she was a reporter, sub-​editor, editor, advertising representative and publisher. Without any financial support or advertising, she could not afford to employ people to work for her publication. What is evident in Eswatini is that the absence of dedicated staff was a damp squib to the survival and popularity of the newspapers. Advertising was a major challenge for indigenous-​language newspapers. In the colonial era, the white businesspeople were reluctant to advertise in Izwi Lama Swazi because they already had a platform to do so in the Times of Swaziland, which targeted the white settler community (Hlatshwayo 2011). Salawu (2013) argues that advertising executives do not prioritize scouting adverts for indigenous-​ language newspapers. This could also explain the absence of adverts in the Tikhatsi Temaswati and Intsatseli newspapers. An advertising manager in one of the English-​ language newspapers admitted that they failed to secure adverts for the siSwati publications. ‘It was a missed opportunity. We never approached advertisers to advertise in the vernacular editions. I  have even forgotten the rate card of the [indigenous-​language] newspapers’ (Personal communication, 12 March 2019). This shows that even the newspaper itself did not attach any seriousness to the siSwati-​language newspapers. After all, the English-​language publication was generating enough revenue to sustain the struggling vernacular editions. In Izwi Lama Swazi there was advertising, especially after the Bantu Press took control of the newspaper. Adverts that appeared in the newspaper included sweets (Mentholyptus and Wilson’s XXX mints), laxatives, deworming tablets, Gilbey’s Gin, Lifebuoy, Palmolive, Minora razors, etc. Government notices and public announcements were also published in the newspaper since it was the authorised medium for the publication of such information. Advertisers are particular about where they place their adverts. Salawu (2013, 87)  posits that advertisers suffer the same syndrome as the public. Despite the affordability of advertising spaces in indigenous-​language newspapers, companies still prefer to advertise in English-​language newspapers. It is surprising, however, that businesses do place many adverts in the siSwati service of radio Eswatini but a limited number of ads in the English service of the same station. On the contrary, when it comes to newspapers, there are very few adverts in the siSwati newspapers compared with the English language outlets. One would assume that, because the

siSwati-language newspapers in Eswatini  99 siSwati broadcasts attract a lot of adverts, so would the siSwati-​language press, yet this is not true. At a meeting of newspaper publishers in 2009, participants noted that advertisers in Eswatini usually do not want to place adverts in newly established newspapers, whether published in English or siSwati. They are generally sceptical about new entrants. For instance, a monthly magazine, The Nation, struggled to get adverts until one year when the editor got an opportunity to interview the King of Eswatini while the publication was compiling a supplemental commemorating His Majesty’s birthday. From then on, the publication never struggled to get adverts, especially from public enterprises. Vuka Ngwane also struggled to secure advertising despite the fact that the newspaper was published in siSwati; government ministries that are custodians of emaSwati culture were not supportive because, it could be argued, of their attitude towards mother-​tongue newspapers, which Salawu (2013) refers to as a syndrome. The publications usually have to try to convince prospective advertisers, who themselves see no value in marketing their brands in the indigenous language press. Salawu (2006) argues that those with the economic muscle to purchase indigenous newspapers (the elites) do not value them, therefore they cannot purchase or place adverts in mother-​tongue newspapers. This, he continues, is a causal factor in making vernacular newspapers less viable. SiSwati-​language newspapers have failed to exploit the historical ties that emaSwati have with the people of South Africa. Many families in Eswatini have relatives in South Africa and vice versa. The popularity of newspapers such as the Bantu World, Ilanga lase Natal, UmAfrika and Isolezwe in Eswatini could partly be attributed to these relations. An employee from Flotsam, a company based in Eswatini responsible for the distribution of South African newspapers and magazine titles, mentioned that Isolezwe has more readers in southern Eswatini along the border with KwaZulu-​Natal where the demarcation of colonial borders separated families. EmaSwati have always had an interest in developments in South Africa. However, the siSwati newspapers could not exploit this advantage. This also applies to radio where the isiZulu-​language station, Ukhozi FM, is still popular in some parts of Eswatini and so is the popularity of the Eswatini Broadcasting Service radio station in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa. A  South African Broadcasting Corporation journalist based in Mpumalanga province stated: My colleagues coming from Nkomazi say they have been listening to it [Eswatini radio] since childhood. Other people from Mayflower, Mbhuleni (Nhlazatje), Heartbieskop just before the Ngwenya border post listen to it, and a few from Barberton listen to it. I must mention, though, that the listenership has decreased compared to 2011 when I arrived in Mpumalanga due to the fast-​growing number of community radio stations in the province. (Personal communication, 10 March 2019) Returning to publications, the siSwati-​language newspapers were not distributed in South Africa. They were confined to the Eswatini public sphere, yet there are

100  Maxwell V. Mthembu and Carolyne M. Lunga about 1.3 million siSwati speakers in South Africa (Statistics South Africa 2012), some of whom have relatives in Eswatini. Izwi Lama Swazi, under the Bantu Press, was the only publication that ensured that copies were sold to the emaSwati migrants in the South African mines. Whereas emaSwati were well informed about developments in South Africa, this was not the case with emaSwati based in the Mpumalanga province and elsewhere in South Africa. It is a cause for concern that Zulu-​language newspapers seem to succeed yet their Eswatini counterparts have been less fortunate. To understand the impact and influence of Zulu-​language newspapers on their audience, it is necessary to focus on Isolezwe, a South African indigenous-​language newspaper.

Isolezwe, the Zulu-​language tabloid Isolezwe, a tabloid belonging to Independent Newspapers, follows a long list of indigenous-​language newspapers that were established in South Africa, such as Imvo Zabansundu (Native Opinion), Ilanga lase Natal (The Natal Sun) and many others. Isolezwe was established in 2002 and has been documented as a success story in this age of dominance of English-​language newspapers in post-​colonial Africa. The success of Isolezwe was instantaneous and showed upward mobility as the fastest-​growing newspaper in South Africa, despite that other newspaper titles were taking a nosedive in readership figures and sales. In the fourth quarter of 2018, Isolezwe’s circulation figures stood at 73,141, whereas Isolezwe ngoMgqibelo and Isolezwe ngeSonto had circulation of 57,016 and 55,156, respectively (Breitenbach 2019). The above figures show a decline when compared to 2014, where the daily edition of Isolezwe during the same period was 107,139 (Maunder 2015). Despite the fact that, in the last quarter of 2018, the paper showed a sluggish performance, the circulation is still impressive for an indigenous-​language newspaper. Zulu-​language newspapers have exploited the availability of a readership in Eswatini. The arrival of the Bantu Press made it possible for South African newspaper titles to be distributed in Eswatini. Newspaper vendors in Eswatini do sell Zulu-​language titles and they have a good readership. The vacuum created by the absence of siSwati-​language publications is filled by Zulu-​language versions. One advantage isiZulu has over the other Nguni languages is that it is ‘universal’. Other Nguni-​language speakers (Swati, Xhosa, Ndebele) can read and write isiZulu, which makes it possible for them to be consumers of the Zulu-​language newspapers. Against the background that some siSwati-​language speakers were taught isiZulu at school as a result of the absence of the siSwati orthography (Mkhonza 2009), it facilitated the consumption of Zulu-​language newspapers. Letters to the editor of Izwi Lama Swazi in the 1960s show that readers communicated mainly in isiZulu. One of the major challenges facing Eswatini newspapers is the printing press. Eswatini newspapers have always relied on South African printers, especially those based in Nelspruit (present-​day Mbombela). Only the Times of Swaziland and the Swazi Observer, including their sister publications, have for most of their lifespan been printed in the country. However, for others, the cost of printing was a major deterrent to using Eswatini-​based printers, hence the reliance on

siSwati-language newspapers in Eswatini  101 South African printers. Izwi Lama Swazi, for instance, was initially printed in Pietermaritzburg and Johannesburg before it was printed in Eswatini until the paper folded. The individual publishers of Mbambambamba, Umgijimi waNgwane and Vuka Ngwane printed their newspapers in South Africa. The in-​country printing facilities meant that the subsidiaries had an advantage over other publications because they shared resources with the foreign dominant-​language newspapers (Salawu 2013). Subsidiaries are treated as appendages by publishers (Salawu 2013). The success of Isolezwe has been phenomenal (Salawu 2013; Wasserman and Ndlovu 2015) because, among other factors, it is linked to Independent Media; as such, distribution and circulation are not an issue. This argument holds regarding Tikhatsi Temaswati and Intsatseli; these newspapers were distributed with their English-​language versions. However, the major challenge is that, like their sister publications, circulation is confined to the major road networks and not in the areas where there is a likelihood for a massive following. The success of Isolezwe is attributed to its content, which is regarded as fresh and appealing to readers. Sazi Hadebe, the editor of Isolezwe was once quoted saying, it is not just about the language of the newspaper. Isolezwe hasn’t grown the way it has –​now with three editions and selling over 700,000 copies a week –​ just because we publish in isiZulu. Our readers are demanding –​our content has to be captivating, accurate and ‘fresh’. Readers are all over us if they don’t like the way we use the language, if our sports reporters hint at bias, or if we don’t demonstrate insight into the context of what’s going on in the most remote corners of our province KwaZulu-​Natal. Fortunately we’ve built up a talented team and know what works for our readers. When we get it right, the response is huge –​that’s gratifying and it keeps us going. The population of readers is also equally important. The siSwati-​ language speakers in Eswatini are about 1.2  million, and the majority, 793,000, live in rural areas (Kingdom of Eswatini 2009). It has been difficult to reach all parts of the country with indigenous-​language newspapers. Even the two national dailies struggle to reach many parts of the country. Rural areas could be fertile ground for indigenous-​ language newspapers especially because English-​ language publications are not distributed in most rural areas. This is one area where indigenous-​language newspapers could find a market. In contrast, there are about 11.6 million Zulu-​speaking people in South Africa (Statistics South Africa 2012). The statistics also show that the Zulu-​speaking people are found mainly in KwaZulu-​Natal, Gauteng and Mpumalanga provinces of South Africa. It could be argued that those who live far from Kwazulu-​Natal also want to keep abreast of the events in their motherland, which could result in demand for the newspaper. This confirms the argument that the readers of the newspaper are not isolated but are culturally embedded (Wasserman and Ndlovu 2015). The availability of the market of people is another factor that contributes to the huge readership of Zulu-​language newspapers.

102  Maxwell V. Mthembu and Carolyne M. Lunga There is, seemingly, a stronger relationship between the Zulu-​ language publications and the readership (Wasserman and Ndlovu 2015, 142) because of the massive readership the newspaper is enjoying, whereas other newspaper titles are losing readership. The unavailability of siSwati-​language newspapers means that there are thousands of emaSwati who are excluded from national life (Mpofu and Salawu, 2018). Again, radio in Eswatini only serves the interests of government because contentious issues of public interest are not deliberated on the radio. In the absence of a dialogical space on radio and television in Eswatini, the indigenous-​language newspapers could fill the void and ensure that those excluded by English-​language newspapers are exposed to issues that are of importance to their lives (Mpofu and Salawu 2018).

Conclusion The article has demonstrated that siSwati-​language newspapers struggled to survive because of the low status accorded the language by emaSwati and the economic non-​viability of the newspapers due to lack of advertising support. We lament the apathy that siSwati-​language speakers have about reading newspapers in their mother tongue, which if not altered will pose a threat to the language’s existence. There have been numerous indigenous-​language newspapers, however, the market has not been supportive enough for their sustenance. The hegemonic status of the English language has had a detrimental effect on indigenous-​language newspapers. In the South African context, though, Isolezwe and Ilanga lase Natal have been phenomenal as a result of the tremendous support and massive readership that these newspapers enjoy. The chapter shows that, unlike emaSwati, the Zulu pride themselves in their language. The success of a newspaper such as Isolezwe is attributed to captivating and fresh content, which is what readers want. It could be concluded that observing news value principles, such as timeliness and novelty, the newspaper has continued to appeal to their target audience. As noted by Mpofu and Salawu (2018), it is imperative that indigenous-​language newspapers not confine themselves to mundane issues but rather expose readers to serious subjects that affect the nation, ensuring their inclusion in the public sphere. This might not be universal, but the support the newspapers enjoy contrary to trends elsewhere in the world where audiences are shrinking is proof that the Zulu nation values news consumption in their language despite modernisation. This chapter laments the fact that advertising executives do not attach any value to the indigenous-​language newspapers, which results in the absence of adverts. Neither do advertising representatives in subsidiary newspapers see the need to promote indigenous-​language newspapers to advertisers. The high costs associated with printing are detrimental to the introduction and survival of indigenous-​language newspapers in Eswatini. Reliance on South African printers should be minimized, and this can only be achieved by the introduction of low-​cost printing. The absence of a policy that protects and promotes the siSwati in society, politics, the economy and culturally relegates the language to the background, while English is elevated

siSwati-language newspapers in Eswatini  103 to elite status. Government intervention is imperative to ensure that siSwati takes its rightful place in promoting the national identity of the people of Eswatini.

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6  Indigenous language newspapers in Zimbabwe Kwayedza and Umthunywa and the struggle for survival Albert Chibuwe Introduction There is a voluminous body of literature on the media in Zimbabwe (see Chuma 2008; Chibuwe 2016; Mano 2005a; Mazango 2005; Moyse 2009). However, this work has been mainly concerned about the mainstream English language media, both electronic and in print. Specifically, the focus has been on the media in the context of Zimbabwe’s politics, economy and culture, especially post-​2000. The Zimbabwean political-​economic-​socio-​cultural crisis of post-​2000 spawned much academic work in media, national identity, elections, governance and politics (see Mano and Willems 2008, 2010; Chimedza 2008; Chasi 2008; Ndlovu-​ Gatsheni and Willems 2009; Moyse 2009). Equally, despite social media being a relatively new phenomenon, there is a burgeoning academic emphasis, especially on social media and politics in Zimbabwe (see Moyo 2009; Mare 2016; Chibuwe 2016; Mano and Willems 2008, 2010; Ncube 2019). However, despite the indigenous press having been around for some time, there is ironically not much literature on indigenous language media (print, broadcasting and online) in Zimbabwe compared to English language media. Kwayedza and Umthunywa were both founded in 1985 (Telephone interview with Kwayedza editor, 5 March 2019), but Umthunywa folded in 1993 and re-​emerged in 2004 (see Mabweazara 2007). Kwayedza has been in circulation for thirty-​four years whilst Umthunywa has been in circulation for a combined twenty-​three years. Despite this long history, there is little academic work on these two indigenous language newspapers (see Mabweazara 2006, 2007; Mpofu and Salawu 2018a, 2018b). Indigenous language media have arguably been marginalised in academic research. As a result, there are fewer studies on these two indigenous language newspapers compared with the numerous studies focusing on the English language dailies  –​the Daily News and The Herald and other mainstream English language newspapers. But Mpofu and Salawu’s work in recent years has prompted a steady increase in studies of indigenous language media in Zimbabwe (see Mpofu and Salawu 2018a, 2018b, 2018c). These studies, together with Mabweazara’s (2007) work, tend to be either audience-​centric and/​or text-​centric. This chapter adds to this growing body of literature. It complements the existing research by adopting a decolonial turn and critical political economy

106  Albert Chibuwe (CPE) approach to interrogate the survival of indigenous language media. It goes beyond merely exploring their sensationalism and how it impedes development communication to examining the strategies the two newspapers have deployed to remain afloat. In effect, even mainstream English language media, both local and global, have deployed infotainment techniques to remain economically viable (see Murdock and Golding 1997). The chapter seeks to understand how the two newspapers have, among other strategies, used indigenous languages –​which are widely viewed as the reason the newspapers ‘are not popular’ –​to gain competitive advantage over the English language media. This is crucial for two reasons. First, in the Zimbabwe All Media Products Survey (ZAMPS) results for 2018 –​and the contested nature of ZAMPS results notwithstanding –​Kwayedza came in second to The Sunday Mail in the weeklies category, out-​performing a host of English language weeklies in the process. Second, the assumption that indigenous language media perform poorly has always been faulty (in the case of Zimbabwe), given Radio Zimbabwe’s status as the leading radio station in the country (see Mano 2005b). Radio Zimbabwe uses the indigenous Ndebele and Shona languages. This chapter debunks the myth that indigenous language media perform poorly and are excluded from development communication (see Mpofu and Salawu 2018a, 2018b).

Background There is a sizeable body of literature on indigenous languages and indigenous language media in Africa (see Ogechi 2001; Salawu 2015a; Zeleza 2006). This scholarship has tended to focus on the nexus between indigenous languages, the media, development and culture (see Salawu 2015a, 2015b; Zeleza 2006). Indigenous language media play a crucial role in development and the survival of indigenous languages (as cited by Salawu 2015a), which are useful for instructional purposes (Salawu 2015a; see also Ogechi 2001). However, the scholarship that emphasises the significance of the indigenous languages in development forgets that ‘neither group of languages [European or indigenous] emerged with unsullied African-​ness or European-​ness from colonialism’ (Zeleza 2006, 22). In effect, European languages appear less foreign whilst African languages appear less indigenous (Zeleza 2006). African languages, just like Africa, are an invention, and the idea of Africa (African identity and culture) is slippery (Zeleza 2006). Mano (2004) concurs with this, as he argues, in the case of Zimbabwe, that ‘the Shona culture is a colonial invention and one that, ironically, needs to be qualified rather than to be simply taken for granted’ (316). However, Salawu (2015a) indicates that, it does not matter the level of corrosion or corruption a native language has suffered as a result of the influence of a foreign language, the (native) language still remains the language that speaks in the idiom of the people. Without using the language of the people, development will only be communicated at the people; not to the people, and not with the people. (4)

Kwayedza and Umthunywa  107 The assumption in the scholarship that advocates for indigenous languages and indigenous language media is that the use of the colonial language in the media and education sectors in Africa tends to leave the majority outside the developmental agenda since they do not understand the foreign language. This thinking is also shared by scholarship on indigenous languages, media and culture in Zimbabwe (see Mpofu and Salawu 2018b). However, with specific reference to Zimbabwe, the available literature has focused on indigenous languages, language policy and the media (Mpofu 2013), indigenous language media content, and indigenous language media and audiences (Mpofu and Salawu 2018a; 2018b; Mabweazara 2007; Mano 2004, 2005b). These studies examine both electronic and print media. For example, Mano (2004) explores Radio Zimbabwe’s –​an indigenous language radio station –​ renegotiation of tradition through one of its programmes, whilst Mano (2005b) examines scheduling for rural and urban areas on the same radio station. Unlike Mano (2004, 2005b), studies by Mpofu (2013) and Mpofu and Salawu (2018a, 2018b, 2018c) have tended to focus more on content and audiences with a specific emphasis on the question of identity and development in indigenous language media and ethno-​linguistic communities in online spaces. It has been argued that, in Zimbabwe, the introduction of the 75% local broadcasting content in 2001 and the multi-​lingual broadcasting policy enshrined in the amended Broadcasting Services Act of 2007 did not change much insofar as the use of indigenous minority languages and dialects is concerned (Mpofu 2013). English and Shona dominated whilst minority indigenous languages and dialects continued to be marginalised. It is these marginalised communities whose social media platforms Mpofu and Salawu (2018c) went on to study, concluding that these social-​media-​based ethno-​ linguistic platforms provide a place for the marginalised communities to discuss concerns about the marginalisation of their languages in mainstream media and the education sectors, among others. The exclusion of (minority) indigenous languages is extended to indigenous language media, a scenario that arguably reflects negatively on development. As Mpofu and Salawu (2018b) argue, indigenous language media tend to folklorise language as they focus more on jokes and folktales. The indigenous language media do not contribute much to politics, the economy, education and technology whilst the English language media focuses more on issues that can be classified as development communication (Mpofu and Salawu 2018a, 2018b). As Mpofu and Salawu (2018a) argue, indigenous language media are characterised by a culture of sensationalism –​a culture that makes indigenous languages look like they do not have functional utility to carry special economic and political news. The indigenous language media are thus excluded from development communication (Mpofu and Salawu 2018a, 2018b). This argument seems to back the school of thought that believes that African indigenous languages ‘lack the scientific and technical vocabulary’ (Zeleza 2006, 20)  necessary for development. However, Mabweazara (2007) notes that it is precisely the use of an indigenous language and the tendency to ignore politics, sensationalise and focus on human interest stories and issues related to ordinary people that makes Umthunywa popular amongst the

108  Albert Chibuwe Ndebele-​speaking communities in Zimbabwe. The newspaper provides the audience with an alternative narrative not found in the dominant English press. This, coupled with feelings of neglect and fatigue with the mainstream media narrative, accounts for Umthunywa’s popularity in Matabeleland (Mabweazara 2007). It is apparent that these studies, as noted earlier, focus more on content and audiences. The major issues here were that indigenous media use sensationalism to survive and that somehow this also goes on to negatively affect their usefulness in development communication. None of these studies engaged journalists and editors to get their views on the language factor’s impact on their performance. This could be because it is taken as a given that indigenous languages negatively impact the survival of indigenous language media. However, Mabweazara (2007) notes that Umthunywa –​one of the newspapers examined in this ­chapter –​is popular amongst the Ndebele because of its use of the Ndebele language. Furthermore, none of the studies were premised on the desire to investigate the survival strategies deployed by the indigenous language media in Zimbabwe because it was taken for granted that they are struggling to stay afloat. However, this chapter interrogates the economic performance of two –​ the country’s only –​indigenous language newspapers in Zimbabwe. The intention is to, in contrast with Mpofu and Salawu (2018a, 2018b), demonstrate that indigenous languages are not an impediment to the development of a vibrant indigenous language media or the deployment of indigenous language media in the development project in Zimbabwe and elsewhere. The chapter seeks to account for differences in fortunes, if any, between the two indigenous newspapers under study. Unlike Salawu (2015b), who interrogates why indigenous language media are unstable (economically) in Africa, this chapter instead explores the survival strategies adopted by indigenous language media in Zimbabwe. It seeks to unravel the strategies behind Kwayedza’s success –​a success that is reflected in its rankings by the ZAMPS as the second most-​widely read weekly after The Sunday Mail. Similarly, it seeks to unravel Umthunywa’s strategies that have made it popular in the Matabeleland region (see Mabweazara 2007), thereby enabling it to stay afloat since its re-​emergence in 2004.

Theoretical framework The chapter deploys insights gleaned from CPE of the media and decolonial theory. The former is deployed for its acknowledgement that the media are cultural, political and economic institutions (Murdock and Golding 1997; Wasko, Murdock, and Sousa 2011). This chapter investigates Kwayedza’s and Umthunywa’s survival strategies in context  –​both current and historical  –​and holistically. Both CPE and decolonial theory contend that, in their emancipatory project, they have to be historical and contextual (Karam 2018; Murdock and Golding 1997; Wasko et al. 2011). Whereas CPE seeks to expose capitalistic control of the media (see Murdock and Golding 1997; Wasko et al. 2011), the decolonial project seeks to de-​Westernise indigenous knowledge (Chasi 2018). As Moyo and Mutsvairo (2018) observe, ‘decoloniality is a combative, revolutionary, and

Kwayedza and Umthunywa  109 above all liberatory theory that originates from the South’ (26). It rejects what Moyo and Mutsvairo (2018, 26) call ‘epistemic colonisation’ that is perpetuated by Western research methodology and theory. To combat this colonisation in African media and communication studies, the decolonial project calls for the utilisation of hermeneutical and phenomenological research methods (Karam 2018). However, bearing in mind Nakata et  al.’s (2012) observation that the emergence of the local does not mean the disappearance of the foreign, the chapter, as noted above, also utilises insights gleaned from CPE because media are political, economic and cultural institutions. CPE, just like decoloniality, is also liberatory. It contends that any study of changes in media institutions should not just focus on the immediate but on the economic, the political and socio-​cultural transformations over long periods of time (Murdock and Golding 1997; Wasko et al. 2011). This contextualisation and historicisation means that CPE is holistic –​it does not treat economics as a bounded system, but ‘it focuses on the relations between economic practices and social and political organization’ (Wasko et al. 2011, 2). This chapter also locates the analysis of Kwayedza and Umthunywa’s struggle for survival in the broader political, social and economic context and the give-​and-​ take relations between these media institutions and their macro-​environment. It also borrows CPE’s moral project and its obligation for practitioners ‘to follow the logic of their analysis through into practical action for change’ (Wasko et al. 2011, 2). The analysis will examine from both a CPE and decolonial perspective these two publications’ organisation and ‘the constitution of the good society grounded in social justice and democratic practice’ (Wasko et al. 2011, 2). The intention is to examine whether, in their operations, they are motivated by the desire to attain the good society or by their bottom-​line considerations. With regards to praxis, the chapter also seeks to unravel and render visible that which had been rendered invisible by colonialism. This is indeed the goal of decolonial theory which, through rendering visible that which had been murdered, decapitated and buried by colonialism and coloniality, seeks to humanise the ‘other’ (Chasi 2018). This chapter seeks to humanise indigenous language media and indigenous languages in Zimbabwe. It does this by interrogating the long-​ held view that indigenous language media in Zimbabwe and Africa generally do not perform well and the suspicions that this is because of the use of indigenous languages. It questions the beliefs that indigenous languages and indigenous language media are not considered useful in the development project (see Mpofu and Salawu 2018b), ideas that appear oblivious to Zeleza’s (2006) argument that both indigenous languages and foreign languages were tainted by the colonial encounter such that foreign languages now appear less foreign whilst indigenous languages appear less local. The chapter thus searches for a more measured analysis (see Nakata et  al. 2012) of indigenous language media’s survival strategies and opportunities. It seeks the middle-​of-​the-​road approach –​an approach that neither privileges foreign languages media nor disadvantages indigenous language media. The chapter finally interrogates how issues of ownership affect indigenous language media’s performance and survival.

110  Albert Chibuwe

Methodology The chapter is qualitative, and specifically interpretive, in nature. This is because it is interested in meanings and thus seeks to engage in ‘sense making’ (Bhattacherjee 2012, 104; see also Krippendorf 2004; Tutwane 2010). Consequently, the chapter pays attention to context since reality ‘is embedded within and cannot be abstracted from their social settings’ (Bhattacherjee 2012, 104). In seeking to understand the survival strategies, challenges, opportunities and impact of indigenous languages on the survival of indigenous language media, the editors of Kwayedza and Umthunywa were purposively selected for interviewing. The two editors were chosen because they possessed knowledge about the editorial and the business or marketing sides of the selected publications (see Bhattacherjee 2012; Zhang and Wildemuth 2009). The intention was to gain a deeper understanding of the survival strategies deployed by Kwayedza and Umthunywa, the challenges they face and the impact of the use of indigenous languages on the profitability of the newspapers. To achieve this, in-​depth telephone and email interviews with the two editors were conducted. Open-​ended questions were emailed to the Umthunywa editor whilst the Kwayedza editor was interviewed over the telephone. The findings were analysed thematically but this analysis was also located in context and history. The data were categorised into ‘concepts or “codes” ’, which were used to unravel the emerging patterns in the data (Bhattacherjee 2012). Coding schemes can be derived from related literature, theories and the data (Zhang and Wildemuth 2009). Here, the researcher deployed a grounded approach where themes emerging from the data were used to code the data. In the analysis, attention was paid to issues of content, profitability, impact of the economy on performance, readers’ perceptions (from the perspective of the editors) and marketing strategies.

Findings The section below presents and discusses the findings. The objectives of the investigation were to interrogate the survival strategies used by indigenous language media with a view to debunking the idea that they perform poorly economically and in development communication because of their use of indigenous languages and sensationalism. Furthermore, the intention was to understand how indigenous languages have been used to gain competitive advantage in an English language media environment. Profitability and distribution of Kwayedza and Umthunywa in schools The findings demonstrate that Kwayedza is breaking even, thanks to both sales and advertising revenue. The Kwayedza editor stated that ‘Kwayedza is breaking even. Advertisements are beginning to come, even from universities such as Midlands State University, and other big companies that include tobacco companies that will

Kwayedza and Umthunywa  111 be targeting farmers’ (Telephone interview, 5 May 2019). The Umthunywa editor also noted that the newspaper is ‘self-​funded’ (Email interview, 15 March 2019). The two indigenous language tabloids are funded through advertising revenue and sales, but the Kwayedza editor argued that they largely make their money from circulation. He stated that ‘tabloids, including Kwayedza, are circulation driven and are designed to get most of their revenue from street sales’ (Telephone interview, 5 May 2019). This argument challenges the widely held view that advertising is the oxygen that drives the media and, without them, newspapers will collapse. The two newspapers are also widely circulated in schools and universities, towns and rural areas; however, whereas Kwayedza is a national newspaper, Umthunywa is widely circulated in the Matabeleland region. But both Kwayedza and Umthunywa have the lowest price, and this was a survival strategy that they adopted in the face of competition from the English language press. Initially, they sold for $1, then they went down to $0.50 before going back to $1 due to the economic challenges facing the country. Whereas Kwayedza, citing the 2018 ZAMPS results, claims that sales and advertisements have increased, Umthunywa acknowledges that the economic crisis has resulted in a slump in advertisements and sales. In a bid to remain viable, they have introduced several strategies that include ‘bulk sales, engaging companies and schools to take up subscriptions’ (Umthunywa editor email interview, 15 March 2019). It is during such challenging times that, if the newspaper is not breaking even, it is ‘carried by the other [Zimbabwe Newspapers Limited] publications’ (Email interview, 15 March 2019). The two newspapers’ editors also dispute the widely held belief that indigenous language media generally perform poorly commercially. Responding to the questions, ‘There is a general belief that indigenous language media do not perform well. Is this true of Umthunywa? If yes, what could be the reason for this?’, the Umthunywa editor responded, ‘The … statement is not true of our publication. At our peak, we sold close to 20,000 copies’ (Email interview, 15 March 2019). She also went on to cite examples of successful indigenous language newspapers from South Africa and Kenya to buttress her point. She further argued that, ‘Umthunywa is no different [from these successful indigenous newspapers] when the economic environment is conducive’. It is apparent that, for the Umthunywa editor, the use of indigenous languages does not have any bearing on the performance of a newspaper; instead, it is the macro-​economic environment that may have either a positive or a negative impact on the newspaper. From this perspective, it is arguable that the suspicions that indigenous languages lack the necessary properties for them to be useful on development fall away (see Zeleza 2006). Similarly, the widely held view that they are commercially non-​viable also falls, since it is arguable that, as long as the economic situation is vibrant, they too will be vibrant. This is plausible given Zimbabwe’s post-​2000 economic woes  –​the two publications have survived, nevertheless, and it is arguable that if the economy improves they too will become more robust. The Kwayedza editor shared the same sentiments as the Umthunywa editor. He noted that ‘Kwayedza was rated [during the two surveys in 2018] by ZAMPS as the most preferred weekly newspaper after The Sunday Mail’, an English-​language sister

112  Albert Chibuwe paper of Kwayedza (Telephone interview, 5 March 2019). It is therefore clear that, for these two managers of the only indigenous language newspapers in Zimbabwe, indigenous media are profitable. These findings call into question claims that previously were taken for granted. For example, the assertion that tabloids survive primarily on circulation calls into question critical political economists’ assertions that media cannot survive without advertising (see Murdock and Golding 1997; Wasko et  al. 2011). It also casts doubt on the widely held assumption by critical political economists that media content is influenced by advertisers. In this case, the widely held assumption that indigenous language media are not profitable because their content and language do not interest both advertisers and audiences is called into question. Not only are indigenous language media popular amongst the Shona and Ndebele in Zimbabwe, but they, specifically Kwayedza, are also attracting mainstream advertisers, such as banks, universities and other mainstream corporate entities. Instead of advertisers influencing content, it is arguable that, even where the content is considered to be too sensational and popular with ordinary people, advertisers will follow as long as these ‘ordinary people’ are their target market. As the Kwayedza editor noted, ‘advertisers follow numbers –​we are the second-​preferred weekly after The Sunday Mail’. However, in the case of Zimbabwe, the informalisation of the economy due to high levels of unemployment may also be partly responsible for indigenous media’s, especially Kwayedza’s, increasing popularity with advertisers. The money is now in the informal market –​it is now with the ‘other’, the previously marginalized –​and it is these ‘other’ who read the indigenous language press. Huge sums of money circulate in the informal sector in Zimbabwe, and banks and the revenue authorities have been trying to tap into it. Rural tobacco farmers also read the indigenous language press and it is these that some of the corporate entities will be pursuing (Kwayedza editor telephone interview, 5 March 2019). Survival strategies: exclusivity, marginality, use of audio-​visuals and social media The two newspapers have managed to survive in a difficult economic climate characterised by massive competition due to several strategies they have deployed. Both editors indicated that they carry stories that are exclusive and difficult to find. The Umthunywa editor noted that they ‘provide the Ndebele reader with exclusive content that they cannot find in any publication’ (Email interview, 15 March 2019). The Kwayedza editor, in responding to how they have managed to survive given the unfavourable economic conditions and massive competition, claimed that, ‘we give people value. Tinonyora masteries [we write stories] that affect people on a daily basis. We focus on marginal stories, not stories dzemuHarare [Harare stories only]’ (Telephone interview, 5 March 2019). It is apparent that the strategies of focusing on everyday stories affecting ordinary people, exclusive stories and stories from the margins or rural hinterland have been deployed by the two indigenous newspapers. This has given them an edge over the urban-​ centric English language newspapers. The Kwayedza editor stressed that they have

Kwayedza and Umthunywa  113 reporters in all parts of the country. However, we should note that the claim to exclusivity and having reporters all over the country is relative. This is because all newspapers and radio stations under the Zimpapers umbrella –​the parent company of the two newspapers –​share stories and reporters. It is not unusual to find a number of the same stories in BMetro, HMetro, Kwayedza, Umthunywa and programs on Star FM. BMetro and HMetro are Zimpapers’ English-​language tabloids whilst Star FM is one of its radio stations. This is a result of convergence or horizontal and diagonal integration. This phenomenon of convergence has contributed immensely to the survival of not only the two indigenous language newspapers but Zimpapers as a whole. There is a massive reduction of costs of production due to sharing content, expertise and infrastructure. They also market  all forthcoming issues of newspapers under the Zimpapers’ stable across all its newspapers, radio stations and social media platforms. For example, it is not surprising to find in HMetro, The Herald or on the radio –​Star FM or Diamond –​teasers advertising forthcoming issues of Kwayedza and BMetro. They are also marketed across social media accounts for all Zimpapers’ newspaper titles and radio stations. As the Umthunywa editor noted, ‘sharing of content is unavoidable and has helped in improving the performance of the publication’ (Email interview, 15 March 2019). However, she also stated that, unlike Kwayedza, Umthunywa was not on YouTube, even though it has a website. However, as the Kwayedza editor noted, the internet has not yet started to bring in much revenue, even though some of their most popular stories have surpassed 400,000 views. It is apparent from the foregoing that convergence at Zimpapers has both advantages and disadvantages. On one hand, it has enabled the two indigenous language media outlets to survive through sharing of costs, expertise and content. It is arguable that without the strong financial backing and support of Zimpapers and the government, the two newspapers would have collapsed. In difficult times, as the Umthunywa editor noted, struggling titles are carried by the other. The Kwayedza editor, when asked about the future of indigenous language media in Zimbabwe, observed that indigenous media require dedicated funders ‘who are patient and wait for it to break even like government has done with Kwayedza’ (Telephone interview, 5 March 2019). But the disadvantage is the lack of diversity of content as a result of content sharing (see Murdock and Golding 1997). However, given that the stories may appear in different languages targeting different audiences, the issue of lack of diversity falls away. This is plausible considering Mabweazara’s (2007) observation that the Ndebele language ‘expresses some issues in a graphic and sensational way that cannot be matched by English’ (55). This is also true of Shona. A colleague once commented on the graphic description of Kwayedza’s headlines and wondered how certain English stories’ headlines would read, had they been reported in Kwayedza. This chapter also agrees with Mabweazara’s (2007) assertion that indigenous languages provide the indigenes with ways of knowing not provided by the mainstream English language press. It is this that accounts for Kwayedza’s and Umthunywa’s popularity, even

114  Albert Chibuwe though some may want to hide that they read indigenous language newspapers (Interview with Kwayedza editor, 5 March 2019). Instead of indigenous languages being seen as an impediment to media development, they are a plus. This is because they carry stories that speak to the ‘being’ of the African, both in urban and rural areas. They relate with the paranormal stories that the two publications routinely carry –​such stories speak to their beliefs, values, norms and superstitions. By rendering visible African spirituality and language, which European colonisation had rendered invisible, and managing to break even on the backdrop of that, Kwayedza’s use of Shona is playing a crucial role in the decolonial project. This is reinforced by the Kwayedza editor’s argument that some ‘elite’ people read Kwayedza secretly, even though publicly they pretend they do not. He attributes this to cultural imperialism and argues that they are managing to reverse the trend. That the elites read the newspaper is itself an achievement, given the widely held negative perceptions towards the indigenous language press. The editor’s assertion that the elite read Kwayedza is valid. Years back, during a discussion in my lecture class composed of practising journalists, those from Zimpapers noted that management had at some point resolved to close Kwayedza because it was not profitable. However, the move was vetoed by the organisation’s parent ministry, the Ministry of Information, partly because it was the only paper that then President Robert Mugabe read! In addition to the above strategies, the Kwayedza editor argues that they use pictures, audio files and audio-​visuals as evidence for their reporting. It is these that lend credibility to their rather unusual or paranormal stories –​stories that, ordinarily, people find stranger than fiction and therefore difficult to believe. This is complimented by posting the stories on social media platforms and creating a feedback platform, ‘Tiudzei’ (Tell us), in the newspaper where they dedicate a page for readers to present their thoughts. The editor noted that it is through such tools that they have managed to retain and increase their loyal readership. They also created a platform, ‘Tishamwaridzane’ (Let us be partners), for HIV-​positive readers seeking partners with the same status. This is at variance with CPE, which argues that the key concern of commercial media is profit and, as such, their content is geared towards profit maximization (see Murdock and Golding 1997; Wasko et al. 2011). However, if indeed their key source of revenue is sales, this approach may be a marketing gimmick since there are many people living in the country who have HIV and there are many non-​governmental organisations (NGOs) that deal with HIV–​AIDS and may place advertisements in, and subscribe to, Kwayedza since it actively promotes the interests of their key stakeholders. This is plausible when one considers that they have also created columns for school children and for Ndau (the Rekete Chindau (Speak Ndau) column)  –​two columns that are not only intended to develop the two constituents but also to increase sales. It could be enlightened self-​interest on the part of Kwayedza, and indeed Umthunywa, since it also distributes to schools and carries educational material. This, as shall be discussed in detail in the next section, also challenges Mpofu and Salawu’s (2018a) observation that indigenous language media are excluded from development communication.

Kwayedza and Umthunywa  115 Inclusion of minority languages and educational content as survival strategies The findings show that Kwayedza and Umthunywa produce content suitable for both primary-​and secondary-​school learners. Even though this was a strategy to gain more sales, the point remains that it is a noble move that leads to the development of learners’ indigenous language skills at a time when much focus has been placed on learning English. The Kwayedza editor indicated that writers of a Grade 5 primary school textbook published by College Press utilised material from Kwayedza. The same is also true of a form-​two Shona textbook, titled Nhapitapi yeChishona Bhuku reMudzidzi. The editor further indicated that they had been approached by another publisher seeking permission to reproduce their content in Shona textbooks. He argues that this is because their content is credible and their command of the Shona language is beyond reproach in an era when many are shunning the language by preferring to send children to schools, including pre-​ schools, where English is prioritised. Umthunywa also produces content helpful for Ndebele language learners at both primary-​and secondary-​school levels. Indeed, it was one of their strategies to mitigate against falling circulation. These findings dispute the claim that indigenous media are excluded from development communication (Mpofu and Salawu 2018b). They also put into question scholars’ suspicions that indigenous languages lack the requisite properties useful in development (see Zeleza 2006). This is because the findings show that, despite Kwayedza’s and Umthunywa’s tendency to folkorise (Mpofu and Salawu 2018b) or to sensationalise and prioritise stories about ordinary people (Mabweazara 2007), they play a significant role in development. Unlike Mpofu and Salawu (2018b), who conceptualised development in a narrow economic sense, this chapter looks at development holistically. On the basis of the findings above, it is clear that Kwayedza and Umthunywa play a crucial role in indigenous language education. They therefore are important to the preservation of indigenous languages and language development amongst indigenous people. As Pugliese argues, ‘Many of those who read in the native languages are the rural and urban poor’ (quoted in Ogechi 2001, 190). This is also true of Zimbabwe even though the Kwayedza editor contends that even the elite also read the paper, despite pretending not to. It is also arguable that, in an era where English has gained global hegemony, indigenous media are perhaps one of the last remaining outposts of indigenous language preservation. Furthermore, Kwayedza also introduced a section dedicated to the minority language, Ndau. Prior to enacting the 2013 national constitution, Ndau was considered a dialect of Shona (see Mpofu 2013); however, in the 2013 constitution, it was given the status of a full language. This language was previously marginalised and the Ndau were not amused by it (Mpofu 2013); instead, they resorted to social media platforms, such as Facebook, where they established a group with a similar name to one that was later established in Kwayedza, ‘Rekete chiNdau [Speak Ndau] Leave a Legacy’ (Mpofu and Salawu 2018c). It is in this group that they raised and discussed their concerns over the marginalisation of their

116  Albert Chibuwe language. It is arguable that Kwayedza’s introduction of a section dedicated to the minority Ndau language, Rekete chiNdau (Speak Ndau), demonstrates not only indigenous language media’s centrality to language development and preservation but also their centrality in nation-​building and national-​development projects. Mpofu (2013) and Mpofu and Salawu (2018c) observe that the Ndau felt marginalised not only in the mainstream media but also in the Zimbabwean national project as a whole. It is therefore likely that they felt that they did not belong, as they were treated as the ‘other’ in mainstream national [public service] media. The move by Kwayedza may go a long way in making them feel part of Zimbabwe. This is significant, especially considering Mabweazara’s (2007) observation, with regards to Umthunywa, that its popularity amongst the Ndebele-​ speaking people was due to feelings of exclusion in, and fatigue with, mainstream media narratives. From this perspective, it is plausible to say that once a certain section of the populace feels marginalized, they may not be fully committed to nation building and national development because they will say they are not part of it –​they may feel like a nation within a nation (see Ndlovu-​Gatsheni 2009). The inclusion of such minority languages and dialects in the mainstream media may help to do away with those feelings of marginalisation that, in the long run, may breed resentment and eventually open confrontation. In this context, the chapter, contrary to Mpofu and Salawu’s (2018b) argument that indigenous newspapers are excluded from development communication due to their sensationalism and folklorisation of language, argues that indigenous language media have a crucial role to play in national development and nation building. The chapter further argues that sensationalism is not an end in itself, but means to ends –​that is, multiple means and multiple ends –​beginning with profitability in terms of sales and advertising revenue. The other ends are development –​economic, political and socio-​cultural (e.g. language) –​and nation building. In this light, I argue that Mpofu and Salawu’s (2018b) observation that they do not cover politics and economic issues, whilst acceptable at face value, is faulty, for everything is political, and Kwayedza’s introduction of Ndau is political. It is also arguable from a decolonial perspective that the inclusion of an Ndau column in Kwayedza makes the previously invisible visible. It humanises the language that has long been rendered invisible by the Shona language, which itself is reduced to the position of the ‘other’ by English. However, from a CPE perspective, the inclusion of an Ndau column was inspired by the desire to increase sales and, as confirmed by the editor, it was successful.

Conclusion The chapter concludes that, contrary to the observations of Mpofu and Salawu (2018b) that sensationalism is an impediment to the indigenous press’s role in development communication, Kwayedza’s popularity, profitability and inclusion of platforms (‘Tishamwaridzane’ and ‘Rekete chiNdau’) for specific interest groups suggest otherwise. In effect, Kwayedza and Umthunywa play a crucial role in language

Kwayedza and Umthunywa  117 development, fighting the HIV–​AIDS stigma and nation building. The focus on schools through production of indigenous-​language learning content and the use of Kwayedza content in indigenous language textbooks is testimony of the significant role indigenous language media play in indigenous language development and preservation. The chapter, whilst acknowledging the role of government and Zimpapers in Kwayedza’s and Umthunywa’s survival, also rejects the widely held assumption that indigenous languages generally perform badly commercially because of their use of indigenous languages. Instead, the chapter concludes that, if the general macro-​economic and political environment is conducive, indigenous language newspapers will also perform well commercially. Rather than viewing the languages from the south as an impediment to newspapers’ commercial viability, the chapter argues that the indigenous languages are an asset and not a liability. It agrees with Mabweazara’s (2007) observation that indigenous languages provide alternative ways of knowing and telling (graphic descriptions) not possible in Western languages. From this perspective, the chapter agrees with Salawu’s (2015a) argument that, no matter the level of corrosion, indigenous languages remain relevant to development communication. The chapter goes further to conclude, unlike Mpofu and Salawu (2018b), that sensationalism or folklorisation of language does not in any way impede indigenous language newspapers’ role in development communication. The purpose of folklorisation and sensationalism is entertainment, and in development communication, edutainment is a key strategy. It is an asset rather than an impediment. Finally, the chapter concludes that Kwayedza’s focus on HIV–​AIDS issues through the column, ‘Tishamwaridzane’, reinforces the indispensability of indigenous language media in development and health communications.

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7  Indigenous language media and the survival game The Alaroye newspaper example from Nigeria Obasanjo Joseph Oyedele and Jendele Hungbo Introduction The economy of the print media industry in Nigeria is adversely affected by poor reading culture, the popularity of digital and social media, stiff competition among established national dailies and a significant drop in readership and circulation. This negative trend, a development that spans the historical trajectory of the industry, is especially worrisome and worse for the development of the indigenous language newspaper belt of the print industry. First is the downward trend in the recognition, acceptance and usage of indigenous languages (and by extension the readership of indigenous language newspapers); public opinion analysts and scholars have lamented the seemingly gradual extinction of many indigenous languages in the country. Second is the fast lane the English newspaper belt has taken since the first of its kind was published in the country (Babalola 2002). These and other lamentations characterize the experiences and battles of publishers, journalists and general workers who find themselves in this belt. As captured in the works of Babalola (2002), Wilson (1998) and, notably, Abiodun Salawu (2006), who has created a scholarly niche for himself in indigenous language media (from the old and broad indigenous communication scholarship), many indigenous language newspapers could not survive the murky waters of competition and neglect for many years. In a country of about 180 million people with hundreds of ethnic nationalities and indigenous languages, newspapers published in some of these indigenous languages could not survive for more than a few years because of low readership and patronage, superimposition of English as an official and eventually widely spoken and accepted language, and the inability of stakeholders in the country to actively promote indigenous languages and indigenous language media. Fewer than ten indigenous language newspapers are still in circulation, and the battle for survival has called for some strategic innovations to stay afloat. In The Guardian (2016), the editor of Aminiya, a Hausa language newspaper published in Abuja, observed that to persist, indigenous language newspapers have been spicing their contents with doses of entertainment, lifestyle, photographs and stories that focus on women, health, cooking and fashion. Such a confession clearly signals the fact that times are indeed hard for indigenous

The survival game  121 language publications as they enter into competition with their foreign language rivals whose circulation figures indicate a better showing in spite of the general lull in the print media enterprise.

The issue The imperialistic and hegemonic lamentations of the power and ascendancy of the English language over indigenous languages in post-​colonial Nigeria have been noted by scholars (Mustapha 2014; Balogun 2013; Danladi 2013; Odegbenle 2014). In the exposition of Mustapha (2014), the English language has become ‘the language of the media, the court, the legislature, the language of instruction and politics’ (90). The dominance of people’s social reality in these areas by a foreign language (which is arguably becoming the mother tongue of millennials) has made indigenous languages endangered, creating confusion among a people originally having over four hundred indigenous languages (Mustapha 2014; Balogun 2013; Danladi 2013; Odegbenle 2014). This perceived linguistic endangerment is noticeable in the media landscape where English, as the so-​called ‘language of the media’, has fought indigenous language publications into a retreat. Indigenous language newspapers, such as Iwe Irohin fun Awon Egba, Akede Eko, Eleti Ofe, Iwe Irohin Eko, Gaskiya Tafi Kwabo, Ogene, Eko Akete, the Amana, the Udoka and Eko Igbehin, among others, were published for some years and were submerged (Odegbenle 2014). The situation is, however, not totally bleak, as Alaroye (which started in 1996) has refused to be consumed by the hydra-​headed monster of the English language newspaper sector after twenty-​three years of publishing in an indigenous language (i.e. Yoruba). This puzzling survival calls for an empirical investigation given the fact that most indigenous language newspapers published before, during and even after the debut of Alaroye are no longer in existence. This scenario is worth empirical examination because lessons can be learnt by investors, publishers, media professionals, readers and the nation at large on the successes and challenges of indigenous language newspapers in Nigeria. The study of this surviving model has cultural, economic, political and empirical significance, especially for a country and continent seeking to take a detour into self-​realization from foreign ideologies, values and cultures. The Alaroye newspaper Alaroye is a Yoruba language newspaper that has been in existence for more than twenty-​four years and is published by World Information Agents, an organisation that also publishes Akede Agbaye. As the most significant indigenous language newspaper in southwest Nigeria, it prints over 50,000 copies per week and reaches beyond the shores of the country (PM News 2016). The publisher and Chief Executive Officer of Alaroye, Mr Musa Alao Adedayo, who was at Radio Lagos, Radio Nigeria Ikeja and the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) as a broadcast journalist, has succeeded in sustaining the newspaper against all odds that bedevil

122  Obasanjo Joseph Oyedele and Jendele Hungbo indigenous languages and indigenous language publications in Nigeria, and by extension, Africa. Though there are other indigenous language newspapers in circulation, such as Obukpon Efik and Unwana Efik in the South-​East; Akede Agbaye, Akede Eko, Eleti Ofe, Eko Igbein, Eko Akete, Iroyin Owuro and Iwe Iroyin Osose in the South-​West; and Zaruma, Lakadiya, Baza, Himma, Albashir, Rariya, Aminiya and Leadership Hausa in the North, Alaroye’s age, rate of circulation, reach and acceptance could be described as factors that make it the first among indigenous language newspapers in the nation. On 26 February 2016, Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, visited the publishers of two notable Yoruba language newspapers in Lagos –​Alaroye and Iroyin Owuro –​to seek their support in promoting the government’s campaign against corruption in the country. The importance of the two indigenous language newspapers came to the fore that day when the Minister described the two newspapers as ‘the missing link in the government’s efforts to reach the people at the grassroots’. He singled out the two newspapers as ‘powerful platform[s]‌and we want that platform to be used for nation building’, and commended them for preserving indigenous languages, a critical function of an agency under his supervision, the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO; PM News 2016).

The history of indigenous language newspapers in Nigeria The history of newspapers in Nigeria formally started with the publication of Iwe Irohin Fun awon Ara Egba ati Yoruba in 1859, the first of any indigenous language publication in Africa. The newspaper was founded and published fortnightly in Abeokuta by Reverend Henry Townsend, an Anglican missionary from England under the Christian Missionary Society who was sent by the mission authorities in Calabar to Abeokuta to disciple some Sierra Leonian immigrants who returned from the slave trade. The paper became a weekly bilingual newspaper (published in Yoruba and English) a year after its inception, with four pages dedicated to each language. However, in 1866 the two editions began separate publication. Though a historical version of its survival philosophy observed that it lasted only eight years, another version noted its resurgence after some years (Salawu 2004; Ekwelie 1989; Nwuneli 1985). Scholars noted that the newspaper had two columns with an approximate depth of 6.5 x 8 inches. There were no photographs, advertisements (until after five years) or editorial unit (until 1862). Because it lacked a final professional touch, it could not boast of harmony and contrast balance. It spearheaded the growth of other newspapers and revamped other printing presses as it boosted the reading culture of the earliest educated elites (Ekwelie 1989; Nwuneli 1985). After Henry Townsend, Robert Campbell (founder of the Anglo-​African) and Blaize and John Payne Jackson (founders of the Weekly Times) played a great role in the evolution of the Nigerian press. Campbell, a teacher and printer, started with his Lagos Academy where he taught human physiology to some educated

The survival game  123 people and later decided to start a literacy publication by pulling stories from books, novels, magazines and newspapers from other countries. He published the Anglo-​African newspaper (1863–​1865), which can be considered the beginning of the indigenous press. The usual discourse on the history of the Nigerian press has predominantly favoured English language newspapers. However, after the creation of Iwe Irohin by Townsend, Iwe Iroyin Eko was published monthly by Andrew Thomas in 1888 and was followed by Iwe Eko from the Anglican Mission. It is important to note that Nigbati Owo Ba Dile was the brainchild in 1910 of two female missionaries; it was a bilingual and monthly newspaper that devoted its contents to news and humour (Alabi 2003). Eko Akete, by Adeoye Deniga, followed in 1922; Eleti Ofe, by Akintan, was published in 1923; Iwe Iroyin Osose debuted in 1925; and Eko Igbein and Akede Eko were established in 1925 and 1927, respectively. Note that Unwana Efik and Obukpon Efik were published in Calabar and Gaskiya Tafi Kwabo (1939) was established as a major Hausa language newspaper (Omoloso and Abdulrauf-​Salau  2015). Ifeduba (as cited by Omoloso and Abdulrauf-​Salau 2015), provided a long list of indigenous language newspapers that included Albashir in Kanuri (1951), Iakadiya in Hausa (1948), Mwanger U Tiv in Tiv (1984) and Zaruma in Sakkawatanu (1951). Alabi’s (2003) account identified Ardo, Gamzaki, Okaki Idoma, Durosi Oto, Nne Nyetsu, and Himma, Zaruma, Haske, Baza Zzxaga and Iakadiya as Hausa-​language newspapers. For the Igbo language, Onuora, Ogene, Akuko Uwa, Anyawu and Udoka were notable newspapers. It is good to note that Alaroye (Yoruba), which started in 1996, and Aminya (Hausa) and Ogene (Igbo) are prominent indigenous language newspapers that are currently published in Nigeria (Salawu 2004; Omoloso and Abdulrauf-​Salau  2015).

Methodology Studying indigenous language media requires close interaction with the stakeholders when a researcher is in need of information that is crucial to understanding the operations of a particular section of the media. Since this research had to do with a Yoruba language medium, data collection was localized to the South-​West geo-​political zone of Nigeria where Yoruba is widely spoken. It is also the region where Alaroye is circulated and read. Four major cities (Lagos, Ibadan, Abeokuta and Akure) were purposively selected for the collection of data. Two newspaper vendors who were also vendors of Alaroye and other indigenous language newspapers in each of these cities were chosen to participate in semi-​ structured interviews. In addition, a representative of the publisher of Alaroye was also interviewed to obtain the publisher’s perspective on strategies that have kept the medium afloat in the competitive print media environment in which Alaroye has operated over the past two decades. It is important to note that the representative who was chosen by the publisher of the newspaper was a family member and a business partner in the publishing enterprise.

124  Obasanjo Joseph Oyedele and Jendele Hungbo

Theoretical considerations Niche theory The development of niche theory is traced to sociological inquisitions into the survival of the fittest in the animal kingdom, where cannibalism reigns. In the world of predatory animals, small animals of all kinds become food and endangered species, finding it difficult to compete for available resources in the jungle where they co-​exist with predators. The theory sees two possibilities from this ensuing competitive relationship: the extinction of lesser or weaker species as a result of the dangerous activities of the powerful animals, or the co-​existence with these powerful predators (Dimmick, Kline, and Stafford 2000; Randle 2003). Sociologists have identified the amount of available food, pyramid of numbers, animal niches, food chains and food cycles as factors needed for studying a community of animals. The size of food determines the degree or extent of competition among animals, as well as the food chains and food cycles. Whereas an animal’s relation to food and enemies is its niche, the pyramid of numbers explains the real competition that plays out, where big animals become predators turning smaller animals to food, and other smaller animals also turn those below them in the chain to food. To survive this onslaught, weaker animals need effective skills and defensive strategies as a form of adaptation to counter the inordinate quest of their predators. In the media world, the niche theory finds relevance with the stiff competition between the production and consumption of hard copies (offline) and digital versions of newspapers on the one hand, and the annihilating tendencies of English language newspapers against the survival of the indigenous language newspapers on the other (Newell, Pilotta, and Thomas 2008; Kayany and Yelsma 2000). Scholars have borrowed the phrase ‘ecological niche’ from animal research to explain the struggle for survival in media practice in the age of modernization and globalization. Dimmick, Kline and Stafford (2000) and Kayany and Yelsma (2000) explain this as the ingenuity of a medium to apply scarce resources as it seeks to battle the competition, and the existential survival struggle posed by another medium. The theatre of competition is the media industry, and consumers or media audiences or readers (in the case of newspapers) are the scarce resources that many media outlets compete for. The kind of treatment given to media consumers determines the ability of each medium to survive and attract the resources to itself. Furthermore, the degree of overlap that exists between two media outlets also determines the level of competition and rate of survival. Where media outlets are complements of one another, the survival battle is keener because they offer almost the same benefits to the audiences. The last is niche superiority, which explains the ability of a larger media outlet competing with smaller outlets for audiences’ attention to provide a greater level of gratification to consumers, thereby tilting available media resources or newspaper readers to the bigger outlet (Newell, Pilotta, and Thomas 2008; Dimmick, Kline, and Stafford 2000).

The survival game  125 This theory aptly captures the tension between indigenous language newspapers and giant English language newspapers in Nigeria. There is an assumption that the endangered indigenous system in the age of globalization has led to the cannibalization of indigenous newspapers, as newspapers published in English hold sway among readers. This development makes it difficult for indigenous language newspapers to favourably compete in the murky waters of newspaper production and consumption in Nigeria. To confront this calculated (or perhaps inadvertent) onslaught of big newspapers as predators, smaller indigenous language newspapers (such Alaroye and Akede Agbaye) have devised survival strategies. Where, then, does the survival game lead? Alaroye and the survival game At the onset of the discussion on the survival of Alaroye, the publisher of the medium is fully conscious of the problem of attrition bedevilling the indigenous language print media in Nigeria. This consciousness is manifest in the response to some of the interview questions by the representative of the publisher, who said: Many indigenous language newspapers that started before, with and after Alaroye are dead. As of today, you can conduct your research; apart from The Punch newspaper, Alaroye is the next-​highest-​selling newspaper in Nigeria. We sell more copies than The Nigerian Tribune and The Guardian newspapers. Find out from vendors in Ibadan and Lagos, they will tell you that they use Alaroye to sell other English newspapers. If you want to read Alaroye, you must buy another English newspaper with it. (Interview with publisher’s representative, 12 January 2019) The stiff competition is not peculiar to Nigeria. Shaker (2011) identifies that, in the US, community newspapers battle a fierce advertising environment, increased competition and an uncertain future. Dimgba (1991) also mentions inadequate or irregular funding, low levels of professionalism and other factors as reasons for the death of community newspapers. For Oso (2003), financial outlays and an inability to operate ‘journalistic enterprises’ are responsible for their death. Interestingly, The Punch newspaper, with which the respondent compares Alaroye, is an English language publication. So, the measure of success, in a way, for an indigenous language medium is often inadvertently tied to its peers appearing in a foreign language. The awareness of success displayed by the respondent is also another point to note in the enthusiasm that drives the commitment to the growth of the publication. In a way, the feeling of good performance can be a motivation for the publisher to push ahead in trying to sustain the newspaper. Wanyeki (2000, 35) stresses the need to study the survival and sustenance strategies that owners of community or indigenous language newspapers deploy. The researcher asks questions, such as: how are community media initiatives sustaining themselves financially? Are there community media initiatives that have found ways to garner public support through regulatory mechanisms? Other questions

126  Obasanjo Joseph Oyedele and Jendele Hungbo include, how can sustainable mechanisms for financing be systematized, and does public and private support necessarily compromise the development agenda of community media initiatives? With a strong commitment to the survival of the newspaper in the face of daunting challenges, the managers of Alaroye said they put in place several strategies, as deduced from the interviewer’s interactions with both the publisher’s representative and vendors of the newspaper. One such strategy is the latching on to sensational stories of public interest to increase the volume of sales. The publisher’s representative categorically submitted that: There were times that we printed and sold 120,000 copies when the economy was good. Usually, the stories and the situation of the country determine sales. When there is a big problem in the country, the public always wants to know what is happening and they therefore buy our newspaper to know what is happening. These days, we print 50,000 copies and sell 80–​85% of the total copies printed. (Interview with publisher’s representative, 12 January 2019) The interviewee also indicated that, while headline stories are often geographically segmented and localized to issues of interest to the predominantly South-​ West audience, sensational stories cut across politics, crime, corruption and the bizarre. This approach notwithstanding, the representative of the publisher admits that there is a deliberate attempt to target Yoruba readers even beyond the South-​West, where they traditionally reside. This also includes an attempt to make the newspaper reach the Yoruba in the Diaspora. This was revealed during the interview: Alaroye has been successful because it has been meeting the purpose for which it was established, which is to reach the Yoruba people wherever they are in Nigeria. The Yoruba people are predominantly in South-​West, but when you get to other parts of the country, Alaroye also thrives there. This is because there is no state in Nigeria where you don’t find Yoruba people, so when you get there, you get Alaroye. We try as much as possible to get in touch with the Yoruba outside of South-​West, especially people in Cuba, Brazil and the United States of America. This has become a newspaper for the cultural, economic and political development of Yoruba. This submission finds some relevance with the position of Terry (2011) that, ‘in order to survive, let  alone prosper, a community newspaper must burrow into its community. It will be the single, defining mission … to devise their own relevance and value … because their survival depends on it’ (80). Alaroye seems to have understood this by focusing extensively and predominantly on an identified, single audience base, which is the Yoruba-​speaking people wherever they are found. From the position of the representative of the publisher, the inability to sell as many thousands of copies printed is not a problem peculiar to indigenous

The survival game  127 language newspapers in Nigeria. The representative opines that there is no Nigerian newspaper today that is selling up to 100,000 copies. As stated by the representative, we (Alaroye) print where The Punch newspaper also prints, and I can tell you, The Punch does not print 50,000 copies daily, except weekend papers (Saturday and Sunday). Alaroye prints and sells more copies to the various states than Punch does per week. This remark shows that Alaroye has been able to compete favourably at some levels with some of the highly placed national newspapers published in English, using circulation and volume of sales as yardsticks.

Survival strategies for keeping Alaroye afloat Alaroye is no doubt a newspaper that has survived the murky waters of competition, economic hazards, unfavourable political situations and other challenges bedevilling newspaper publication and circulation in Nigeria. The interviewees provided insights on strategies devised by the publishers to ensure that the newspaper could continue to operate. Promotion The representative of the publisher and others interviewed saw promotions as one of the effective strategies used by Alaroye to stay afloat. This ranges from sales promotions, which seek to push copies of the newspaper out to readers, and the pull strategy aimed at attracting the interest of the readers. One participant had this to say: When the newspaper started, the company devised a promotional strategy, tagged Alaroye promo. The purpose of the promotion was to attract the attention of the people that read the paper, and a column was created where they would cut and answer one or two questions. (Vendors from Lagos State) We did that for, like, three times, but the economic situation of the country then stopped us and we gave out residues twice and other gifts to the winners –​ such as biro, fan, motorcycles, etc. –​to attract the attention of the audience. (Representative of the publisher of Alaroye) With this strategy, many potential and existing customers might have been drawn to the newspaper, and it might have also served as an unintended development strategy of promoting the culture of reading. This is because, as many more people buy copies with an underlying motive of winning prizes, they are indirectly

128  Obasanjo Joseph Oyedele and Jendele Hungbo improving their reading capacity. As a matter of fact, the interviewees harp on this proposition in their comments: As we promote Yoruba language, it positively affects the status and circulation of the newspaper. We organized a program called the ‘World Festival of Yoruba Language and Culture’, and people came from Brazil, Cuba, USA and other African countries. For those who came from the diaspora, they came to associate with their language and culture and show that they are part of the Yoruba tribe. It was an opportunity to also showcase Alaroye and seek collaboration. (Representative of the publisher of Alaroye) The newspaper promotes the indigenous Yoruba culture by bringing together people from different regions of the world to promote the reading culture and present Alaroye to them. By promoting literacy and Yoruba cultural re-​engineering, the newspaper could be said to foster literacy, popularize local culture, serve a social development agenda and even develop the nation through tourism, in line with the roles of community newspapers identified by Anaeto (2008, 2011) and Dimgba (1991). Deep, well-​researched and popular content The newspaper operates a grassroots policy of providing popular content that will attract thousands of their active and potential readers. There is a blend of historical analysis capable of stimulating national debates with travelogues, bizarre news stories with aspects of human interest and oddities, and humorous content for real entertainment. The interviewees opined that the content of the paper is not meant for artisans alone; the medium engages in a lot of research, as even some columns in the paper require that the publishers travel to London, to the British Library, to gather information that will meet the needs of the readers. This commitment to go the extra mile distinguishes the newspaper from its competitors. One participant elaborated on this: Therefore, there are some columns that you will read and you can’t get the information elsewhere (in any daily newspapers in Nigeria). Today, the educated elites read the paper, beyond the impression that only artisans and market women are our readers. We get feedback from thousands of people in Nigeria, and when you get to universities, companies and other public places, the responses we get inform the packaging of our columns. Alaroye finds out what people are interested in: some buy the paper because of the back-​page story, the column ‘ijoba solider’ gives past events about coups and counter-​ coups in Nigeria from the military to the democratic era. So the contents are part of the strategy, as we give them what they do not have elsewhere. (Vendors from Abeokuta, Lagos, Akure and Ibadan)

The survival game  129 This explanation shows that the newspaper has understood market segmentation and differentiation for the purpose of meeting the needs of various groups of readers. It is therefore not a newspaper for poor or uneducated people interested in humour, but a delight of language experts, cultural researchers, historians and students who are interested in learning about the past. This function that Alaroye performs finds relevance with the submission of Anaeto (2011) that development journalism and cultural renaissance are promoted by community media. Furthermore, Salawu (2004) has identified lead headlines in bold type, dramatic headlines, a focus on tabloids, simple language, use of proverbs and rhetoric and rich content as lures used by indigenous language newspapers. The drive to learn the Yoruba language When Henry Townsend started his newspaper in 1859, he identified a development objective of teaching people to read by promoting reading culture among its customers. Today, there is a general impression that indigenous languages are endangered in Nigeria because their usage declines, while that of English increases. To correct this imbalance, the mass media are saddled with the responsibility of engineering a change by promoting the writing and speaking of indigenous languages through their content. Alaroye uses this objective to its advantage by ensuring that more people learn and speak Yoruba by reading the newspaper. It targets schoolchildren, their parents and policymakers to accomplish this. Here is the position of the newspaper, which agrees with the development objective noted by Anaeto (2011): Even some parents who are interested in making their children learn and speak the Yoruba language make use of the paper to teach their children. Management even went as far as visiting the Deputy Governor, who doubled as Commissioner for Education during the administration of Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola when he was the Governor of Lagos State. We tried to make an arrangement whereby we can be supplying our newspaper to schools so that school libraries would have copies and pupils and students develop and grow the habit of reading, especially using the Yoruba language. (Representative of the publisher, corroborated by vendors from Lagos State) A network of correspondents The newspaper is able to compete with well-​known English newspapers in Nigeria also because of its league of correspondents. While some indigenous newspapers rely on selecting and translating some of the stories published by English newspapers as their news stories, Alaroye has correspondents in all the Yoruba states who gather news for publication. The newspaper also has volunteers employed apart from the correspondents who are in each state; for example, the interviewees

130  Obasanjo Joseph Oyedele and Jendele Hungbo report that there are three reporters in Osun and two in Ilorin, among others. One participant further buttressed this position here: So, when you are in a Yoruba environment or community, anything that is happening there, and you feel that you have stories for us, you contact us. For you to know that this strategy works, look at Alaroye for this week and you will see ‘Iroyin Ipinle Ekiti’, indicating that we have at least a page for news from Ekiti State, and this runs every week. The same is applicable to all the states in this region. You cannot do this without the activities of committed correspondents and eye witnesses who have agreed to immediately report to us when a news is breaking. (Vendor from Akure, Ondo State)

Focus on historical and political development The publisher’s representative notes that Alaroye is the only newspaper in Nigeria that traces the nation’s political history as a way of educating and engaging those who were not born when those events happened, and refreshing the memory of those who lived those experiences. With its column on ‘Ijoba Soja’ (military government), the newspaper raises awareness about past military regimes and events of those periods that shaped the development of the country. Here, the publisher’s representative elaborates on how Alaroye does this: Look at a story of Alaafin of Oyo which no newspaper has ever done and we started the story in a series –​what he went through before he became king, which we published when he had his seventy-​eighth birthday, and how he was selected, people that supported him and the factors that led to his emergence. Also, we published other Yoruba stories, and what is happening in Yoruba land today is more or less like the era of Awolowo and Akintola, so we are trying as much as possible to bring those stories back –​the political, serial rule that people did not even know happened and how a section of this country sold the entire nation. (Interview with publisher’s representative, 12 January 2019) Future online publication The newspaper says that when the rush for online publication started, Alaroye did not participate because online publication is one of the factors affecting the English newspapers. The publisher’s representative notes that buying data adds to the cost of communication, and going online allows readers to get all the stories from all newspapers; thus, they do not have a good reason to buy hard copies, which is one of the challenges facing the publications. However, he notes that Alaroye’s website was under construction, and the person in charge was working on it as the newspaper was planning to also start its online publication soon.

The survival game  131 Separation from politicking The newspaper has also been able to avoid the murky waters of politics, which affect virtually everything about media practice in Nigeria. The representative reveals that established newspapers have their networks in government across levels because of the adverts and jingles and sponsorships that they get. He opines that, because of Alaroye’s commitment to political neutrality, the ruling government is not interested in working with the newspaper. Therefore, where other newspapers get some financial benefits with unwritten and unethical compromises attached, Alaroye stays at a distance to watch and maintain its hold on truth and impartiality. This endears it to its readers as it is seen as the defender of truth and the masses. Here is the opinion of the representative on this: Recently, when they were setting up their committee for political campaigns, Alaroye was not considered as a medium because the paper is seen as anti-​ government. Public officials prefer to go to Radio Lagos, which they know will cover everything and they forget that, when you listen to something on the radio, it is not permanent. Because of the hatred they have for us, saying we don’t support them, this newspaper is clearly out of consideration when government is planning to do a media campaign. There is no way we will change our stand on saying the truth and maintaining political neutrality; when you see something that is truthful and doesn’t support falsehood, say it the way you see it and the way you feel it should be. We don’t have anything to do with the opposition party (PDP); we don’t collect anything from any party. (Interview with publisher’s representative, 12 January 2019) This stance accentuates the call on stakeholders to strengthen the third level of media ownership in Nigeria (i.e. community ownership apart from government and private ownership) to reduce government’s undue interference in media operations and promote the sanctity of the media profession. Reduced price Alaroye is also staying in circulation because of its consideration or feeling for its readers. The publisher’s representative observes that the publisher understands and respects the economic and social characteristics of the newspaper’s readers. He advises anybody interested in establishing indigenous language newspapers as a large commercial interest with a profit motive never to venture into such a business. This is because, apart from the associated challenges of publishing in such an endangered language and competing with English language newspapers in Nigeria, affordability is a big problem for publishers of indigenous language newspapers. Therefore, Alaroye uses a reduced cover price as a strategy to gain enough market share, blend with the economic realities of its active and potential readers and stay afloat. He has this to say:

132  Obasanjo Joseph Oyedele and Jendele Hungbo For any individuals that want to establish or publish in Yoruba with the mind that they are coming because of money, they should not bother to come because news printing generally is not profit-​generation friendly. That is why some newspapers are compromising to make ends meet. The cover price of Alaroye is not that profitable, but we have to consider the economic power of our readers as well; we have to bring it down to the extent that they would be able to afford what we are producing. When you are a publisher and you don’t know about what you want to publish or you do not have a good experience of that terrain or industry, your employees will destroy everything. (Interview with publisher’s representative, 12 January 2019)

Conclusion There is no gainsaying the fact that Alaroye, like many other indigenous language newspapers in Africa, operates within an environment that makes survival an extremely arduous effort. While the economic conditions that afflict the print media industry generally continue to make life more difficult for the publication and its promoters, the stiff competition coming from foreign language media increases the risk of jeopardy, thereby necessitating the deployment of a combination of strategies for the sustenance of the medium. This research has identified a commitment to the survival of Yoruba cultural materiality as one major motivation for keeping the newspaper in circulation. To achieve such an objective, the publishers have also deployed several other skills and strategies (in agreement with the positions of Newell et al. 2008; Randle 2003; Dimmick, Kline, and Stafford 2000) that have helped the medium to survive the harsh realities that continuously drive indigenous language print media into oblivion. These strategies enumerated in this paper are worth noting because of their implications for practice and further research.

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The survival game  133 Dimgba, I. 1991. “The Importance of Community Newspapers.” In African Journalism in Perspective, edited by C. Udofia, 175–​183. Abak, Nigeria: Itiaba Publishers. Dimmick, J., S. Kline, and L. Stafford. 2000. “The Gratification Niches of Personal E-​Mail and the Telephone.” Communication Research 5: 643–​665. Ekwelie, S.A. 1989. “The Rise of the African Press.” Nsukka Journal of Humanities 3. http://​​ Kayany, J.M., and P. Yelsma. 2000. “Displacement Effects of Online Media in the Socio-​ Technical Contexts of Households.” Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media 44: 215–​239. Mustapha, A.S. 2014. “Linguistic Hegemony of the English Language in Nigeria.” Íkala, Revista de Lenguaje y Cultura 19(1): 83–​97. Mwantok, M. 2016. “How Indigenous Newspapers are Coping Despite Trying Times.” The Guardian Newspaper, 10 January 2016. https://​​features/​ how-​indigenous-​language-​newspapers-​are-​coping-​despite-​trying-​times/​ Newell, J., J.J. Pilotta, and J.C. Thomas. 2008. “Mass Media Displacement and Saturation.” The International Journal on Media Management 10(4): 131–​138. Nwuneli, O.E. 1985. Communication in Nigeria:  A Book of Readings. Enugu, Nigeria:  Fourth Dimension Publishers. Odegbenle, L.B. 2014. “Language of Communication in Nigerian Media.” Singapore Journal of Business Economics and Management Studies 1(11): 162–​169. Omoloso, A.I., and A. Abdulrauf-​Salau. 2015. “Indigenous Language Newspapers in Nigeria from 1914–​2013: A Review.” Lapai Journal of Humanities 8(2): 76–​87. Oso, L. 2003. “Community Newspaper: An Alternative Voice.” In Community Media: Voices of the Oppressed, edited by O. Lai, 151–​167. Abeokuta, Nigeria: Jedidiah Publishers. PM News. 2016. “Minister Visits Yoruba-​Language Newspapers, Vows Relentless Anti-​ Graft War.” PM News, 26 February 2016. https://​​2016/​02/​ 26/​minister-​visits-​yoruba-​language-​newspapers-​vows-​relentless-​anti-​graft-​war/​ Randle, Q. 2003. “Gratification Niches of Monthly Print Magazines and the World Wide Web Among a Group of Special-​Interest Magazine Subscribers.” Journal of Computer-​ Mediated Communication 8(4).​jcmc/​vol8/​ issue4/​randle.html Salawu, A. 2004. “The Yoruba and their Language Newspapers: Origin, Nature, Problems and Prospects.” Studies of Tribes and Tribals 2(2): 97–​104. Salawu, A. 2006. “Indigenous Language Media: A Veritable Tool for African Language Learning.” Journal of Multicultural Discourses 1(1):  86–​95. doi:  10.1080/​10382040 608668533 Shaker, L. 2011. “Community Newspapers Play Significant Role in Election.” Newspaper Research Journal 32(1): 6–​18. Terry, T.C. 2011. “Community Journalism Provides Model for Future.” Newspaper Research Journal 32(1): 71–​83. Wanyeki, L.M. 2000. “The Development of Community Media in East and Southern Africa.” In Promoting Community Media in Africa, edited by S.T. Boafo, 25–​41. Paris: UNESCO. Wilson, D. 1998. “A taxonomy of traditional media in Africa.” In Perspectives of Indigenous Communication in Africa, edited by Ansu-​ Kyeremeh Kwasi, 27–​ 50. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.

Part III

Management and sustainability of African language media

8  Reimagining the future of indigenous language press in the Digital Era Kehinde Oyesomi, Kevin Onyenankeya and Oluwayemisi Mary Onyenankeya Introduction Over the past couple of decades, indigenous language newspapers have emerged as occupying a unique position in the Nigerian media space (Oyesomi, Salawu, and Olorunyomi 2017; Oyesomi et al. 2014; Oyero et al. 2018). The early indigenous newspapers, in particular, played a pivotal role in the struggle to liberate the country from the colonialists, providing a rallying point for nationalist expressions and defence of the indigenous people’s rights (Folarin and Mohammed 1996; Olunlade 2006). In recent years, indigenous language newspapers have become the locus of the revival of the rapidly disappearing mother tongues and a counter-​ public sphere. However, from inception, local language newspapers have faced existential crises leading to epileptic operations and, in many instances, early closure (Salawu 2013). In the age of digital technology, when journalism is increasingly migrating online, the struggle for survival is bound to intensify. What are the implications of the shift to digital media for the future of indigenous language newspapers in Nigeria? This chapter examines how the growing gravitation to digital media implicates the survival of indigenous language newspapers and identifies opportunities for sustaining them. The term ‘indigenous language newspaper’ usually refers to a newspaper that delivers its content in a native language as opposed to a colonial or second language, such as English, French or Portuguese. Although indigenous language newspapers are distinct from other newspaper types in that they do not rely on mother tongues in the construction and sharing of meaning, they still have the trappings of a conventional newspaper, as alluded to by Otto Groth –​they have a defined publication frequency of at least ‘once a week’; they are accessible to everyone, providing timely content that appeals to ‘large, diverse segments of the society’; and they have a continuous and organised structure (cited in Bittner 1989, 22). Indigenous language newspapers are often confined to a specific geographic and linguistic area and are known for their unfettered exhibition of local talents and culture and the unapologetic accommodation of oral tradition and cultural motifs in their reportage. There exist scores of indigenous language newspapers across Nigeria, especially in the Southwest area that has been the locus of a number

138  Kehinde Oyesomi et al. of indigenous language publications. The local language press has made and continues to make significant contributions to the socio-​economic, political and cultural life of the nation, particularly the development of journalism. For instance, the first indigenous language newspaper in Africa, Iwe Irohin fun Awon Ara Egba ati Yoruba (The newspaper for the Egbas and Yorubas), which was established in 1859, was the forerunner of newspapering in Nigeria (Salawu 2006). Omu (1974) ascribes the birth of journalism and printing in Nigeria to the early newspapers sponsored by the church, particularly the Anglican Church Missionary Society (CMS). Sobowale (1985) holds that the history of the Nigerian press is intricately ‘interwoven with the history of the Christian religion’ (27). The emergence of indigenous language newspapers helped not only to capacitate locals in the printing business but also to birth a crop of journalists and entrepreneurs who went on to affect the society positively.

The evolution of indigenous language newspapers: the nexus of religion and language The history and evolution of the indigenous language press have been documented by several scholars (Akinfeleye 1985; Coker 1968; Daramola 2013; Duyile, 1987; Folarin and Mohammed 1996; Omoloso and Abdulrauf-​Salau 2014; Salawu 2006, 2012). Many accounts trace the evolution of indigenous publications to early European Christian missionaries. As part of their evangelistic and civilisation campaigns, the various missionary societies that thronged the country in the eighteenth century –​including the United Presbyterian Church of Scotland, the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society, the Anglican CMS, the Catholic Society of African Missions and the Southern Baptist Convention of the United States –​ embarked on aggressive educational programmes ostensibly to educate their new African converts (Okpalike and Nwadialor 2015). The campaign was intensive, especially in the Yoruba-​speaking region of the country, such that as of 1842 there were already many people literate in the Yoruba language. The Yoruba language had evolved from being the exclusive medium of delivering sermons to become a prime pedagogical tool in mission-​ sponsored educational institutions (Adegoju 2008). In this era, indigenous language writing had begun to take root such that church bulletins, gospel tracts and educational materials were printed in the Yoruba language. By 1841, Samuel Ajayi Crowther, one of the earliest Yoruba Christian converts, had assembled an array of publications in the Yoruba language. It was no surprise that the first newspaper, Iwe Irohin, would be published by a clergyman, Reverend Henry Townsend, who already owned a printing press. Interestingly, the first vernacular Bible in the Yoruba language was printed in Townsend’s press in 1862. Townsend’s Iwe Irohin, which was promoted by the CMS, was aimed not only at advancing the evangelism mission of spreading Christianity to unbelievers but also to get the converted to read ‘and to beget the habit of seeking information by reading’ (Daramola 2013). Although Iwe Irohin was published in English and Yoruba, its target was the large pool of Yoruba elite

The future of indigenous language press  139 who were Christians and who had developed considerable fluency in both English and Yoruba. Initially, the content of Iwe Irohin, which consisted mainly of church bulletins and related news, was tailored for Christian adherents. However, in subsequent years, the paper began to publish data about agricultural products like cocoa and cotton, as well as advertisements from government and local businesses (Daramola 2013). The success of Iwe Irohin gave impetus to the establishment of indigenous language newspapers across the country (Omoloso and Abdulrauf-​Salau 2014). From the southern axis emerged the Efik language newspapers, Unwana Efik and Obukpon Efik, that operated between 1885 and 1892. It was during this period that Iwe Irohin Eko flourished in the Lagos colony. Another Eko-​based Yoruba language newspaper, Eko Akete, was launched in 1922 and published intermittently until its final demise in 1937 (Salawu 2006). Many indigenous language newspapers have continued to spring up across the landscape.

Grassroots media The popularity of indigenous newspapers is linked to the liberal use of local languages that are accessible to the grassroots. Language is the key to all communication. According to Heidegger (2008), language ‘is the house of being –​in its home man dwells’ (217). In other words, language is the inescapable essence of humans –​in it they can articulate their self-​worth, make sense of their environment and let others into their inner world (Heidegger 2008). Fairclough (1992) states that language is central to all levels of discourse and, therefore, without competence in a given language, an individual may be unable to engage meaningfully with others. This is because dialogue or discourse can only be constructed meaningfully through ‘the use of language and verbal transactions’ (Banathy and Jenlink 2005, 4). It has been argued that the spoken language amplifies the thought process of an individual (McLuhan 1964, 260–​261), enabling them to navigate from one idea to another, simultaneously and effortlessly, and with less involvement (Babe 2011). Language not only allows individuals to be reflective but also brings about communicative action (Habermas 1986). Communicative action here ‘presupposes the use of language as a medium for a kind of reaching understanding, in the course of which participants, through relating to a world, reciprocally raise validity claims that can be accepted or contested’ (Habermas 1986, 99). In mainstream media in Nigeria, the language of operation is English. Individuals who are not literate or fluent in the English language, especially those at the grassroots level, tend to be excluded in the discourses that take place at the micro and macro levels of society. In indigenous language newspapers, however, the mediation of discourses is in the local language –​the language of the grassroots; this empowers marginalised groups often cut off from mainstream media to participate in a broad range of deliberations and discussions over issues that affect their lives within the public sphere. Although local language newspapers allow people to voice their concerns, this voice can only be expressed optimally in a medium that the community is familiar with and capable of using competently in communication.

140  Kehinde Oyesomi et al. When individuals engage in discourse in their lingua franca or mother tongue, they are better able to express their thoughts more profoundly because they are accustomed to the language and have the communicative ability to articulate their views and experiences more clearly  –​‘when you know a language, you can speak and be understood by others who also know the language’ (Fromkin, Rodman, and Hyams 2018). The local language or mother tongue thus provides the social and linguistic resources for ordinary people to not only participate in discourses within the public sphere but also have their voices heard. Salawu and Chibita (2016) argue that the language that people use determines their chances of being heard. Language is also critical in conveying media messages (Folayan et  al. 2018). Salawu (2006) posits that ‘the mass media that use indigenous languages are important for information, mobilization and continuity’ (8). Nwuneli (1986, 203)  agreed that the mother tongue of a community is most appropriate in delivering any message to such a community. Because the news or commentary is couched in symbols that the locals use to express and understand one another, readers of indigenous language newspapers can easily decode the construction and interpretation of reality because it is congruent with their perspectives. The use of indigenous languages can also facilitate the developmental process, as it helps in generating new knowledge and delivering changes in communication to enable mass participation in political and socioeconomic programmes (Onyenankeya and Salawu 2019; wa Mberia 2015). Indigenous language newspapers are considered pivotal in identity negotiation. According to wa Mberia (2015), indigenous language media support the cultural identities of the communities they represent. The focus on local culture, values and oral traditions embedded in indigenous language newspapers enable local people to experience a way of life that connects them to their own cultural identity. Woolard (1992) posits that ‘ideology stands in dialectical relation with, and thus significantly influences, social, discursive and linguistic practices’ (235). This is consistent with the views of Pavlenko and Blackledge (2004) who argue that ‘language, or rather discourses within them, supply the terms and other linguistic means with which identities are constructed and negotiated’ (14). Hughes (2007) posits that identity is ‘mediated and interpreted through language even when identity manifests in physical attribute or action’ (712). This explains why cultural scholars see indigenous language newspapers as a potent tool to promote and preserve not only indigenous languages but also cultural identity. From its glory days in the late twentieth century to the present, indigenous language newspapers in Nigeria have been veritable sites for constructing and negotiating identity. Literacy in a local language played a significant role in the development and acceptability of local language newspapers. In spite of their unique role in society, many indigenous language newspapers continue to struggle to stay alive. Several scholars have examined the root causes of the increasing collapse of indigenous language newspapers across Nigeria; the next section examines the factors that inhibit the newspapers’ growth and prosperity.

The future of indigenous language press  141

Race for survival Newspaper publishing in an indigenous language is fraught with ubiquitous challenges. Unlike mainstream English newspapers, the longevity of indigenous language newspapers is relatively short (Salawu 2006). For instance, the pioneer indigenous language newspaper, Iwe Irohin, operated for only eight years (1859–​ 1867) before it ceased to exist (Kayode-​Adedeji 2012). In 1945, an attempt was made to resuscitate the paper under the title Iroyin Yoruba, but the project could not endure. However, in 2012, Iwe Irohin was successfully relaunched by a group of journalists under the aegis of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Ogun State Chapter (Kayode-​Adedeji 2012). That the revival of Iwe Irohin came 140  years after the newspaper made its ground-​breaking debut in Abeokuta speaks to the apathy towards indigenous publications. The successful revitalisation of Iwe Irohin raises hope for a renaissance in indigenous language publications. Nevertheless, it has been a chequered existence for many others. Except for Gaskiya Tafi Kwabo (‘Truth is worth more than a penny’), established in 1937, all other indigenous language newspapers of that era have become extinct (Folarin and Mohammed 1996). The seeming inability of indigenous language newspapers to endure overtime is not peculiar to Nigeria. Across sub-​ Saharan Africa, many once-​ flourishing indigenous language newspapers have died or operated in fits and starts (Folarin and Mohammed 1996; Salawu 2006; Tanjong and Muluh 2006; Vinck 2006). Scholars have identified several factors that challenge the continued existence of indigenous language newspapers, including poor patronage, poor capitalisation, lack of capacity, stiff competition from traditional and social media, and failure to leverage information and communication technologies. Poor patronage In contrast to traditional newspapers, support for indigenous language newspapers in the form of sales or advertisements has been low (Salawu 2006). In the heyday of Iwe Irohin in the early 1860s, the paper’s circulation was estimated at 3,000 (Daramola 2013). Today, very few indigenous language newspapers could boast of such circulation figures. The poor patronage is rooted in the ethnography of the Nigerian society where everything local is despised including speaking in mother tongues (Salawu 2006). In the class-​sensitive Nigerian society, using locally made products is perceived as tasteless or suited for the proletariat. Many educated Nigerians do not find it dignifying or befitting to purchase or place an advertisement in indigenous language newspapers (Salawu 2006). This remains a major threat to the survival of the publications. This attitude, according to Adegoju (2008, 24), does not seem to derive only from the failure to develop interest in patronizing the newspapers, but from the doubtful proficiency of the elite in the indigenous language. For instance, Yusuff and Osunnuga (2018) found that many young people and adults cannot read the

142  Kehinde Oyesomi et al. Yoruba language. Indeed, diminishing literacy in indigenous languages is a predicament that afflicts many ethnic groups across Africa and is seen as vestiges of colonization and ‘lack of cultural pride among most Africans’ (Salawu 2012, 35). Unlike in the Christian missionary era of the 1880s, and the regional government control in the early 1960s, when native languages featured prominently in religious, educational and social activities, the use of local languages has taken a back seat in spite of the fact that successive national policies on education have always encouraged the teaching and learning of indigenous languages, particularly the three major languages (Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa). In recent years, English has displaced the mother tongues at home, school and everywhere else. The corollary is the continued nosedive in the literacy of indigenous languages. In the absence of a significant population who are proficient in and proud to engage in local languages, vernacular newspapers have continued to struggle with shrinking readership and limited patronage from businesses. Poor capitalisation The newspaper business is capital intensive. It costs huge sums of money to acquire a printing press and procure newsprint; the price of the latter has skyrocketed in the wake of the economic downturn that has rocked the country in recent years. There is also the cost of hiring qualified professionals not only to run the press but to provide content. This includes a host of personnel, such as reporters and managers, whose input is critical to the successful operation of the newspaper. Many indigenous language newspapers are poorly capitalised and therefore lack the funds to sustain full newspaper operations. For instance, only an insignificant number of indigenous language newspapers own a printing press; most vernacular newspapers outsource their printing jobs. For new start-​ups, outsourcing can be a temporary strategy to begin publication instead of waiting to accumulate the huge capital outlay for a printing press. However, in the long run, it is wise for indigenous language newspaper promoters to acquire a printing press as this allows them to achieve economies of  scale. The poor capital base of most indigenous language newspapers stems from the ownership structure. Aside from newspapers like Gaskiya Tafi Kwabo, which receives funding from the government, the majority of indigenous language newspapers are promoted by single individuals or families, making it difficult to pool large resources. For instance, the Yoruba language weekly, Alaroye (The Explainer), was established single-​handedly by Alao Adedayo, but due to poor finance, it could only publish a few editions before it closed. An attempt to revive the paper failed because of a lack of funds. Not until Adedayo received additional funding did the paper become sustainable. In an interview, Adedayo narrated the frustrating struggle to sustain the newspaper alone –​‘I stumbled four times to make Alaroye a success’ (Vanguard 2011). The survival of Gaskiya Tai Kwabo over the years is due largely to subsidies and occasional injections of fresh capital from the northern establishment. The same

The future of indigenous language press  143 applies to Irohin Yoruba, founded in 1945 by Obafemi Awolowo and now a subsidiary of African Newspapers of Nigeria Plc, publishers of the Tribune (Salawu 2012). These newspapers are considered historic legacies that are too big to fail. This sentiment appears to underpin the recent resuscitation of Iwe Irohin. Local language newspapers that do not have regular funding are not likely to endure for the long haul. For instance, the Bariba language newspaper, Kparo, which was floated and sponsored by a state agency, Mass Mobilisation for Self Reliance, Social Justice and Economic Recovery (MAMSER), in the mid-​and late-​1980s, folded the moment MAMSER itself ceased to exist (Kperogi 2006). Although Kperogi adduced sabotage by local politicians and opposition from Boko-​speaking people arising from contestation over orthography as some of the ‘apparent reasons’ for resting the paper, there is no denying that funding was the overarching reason why Kparo folded. Funds dried up the moment MAMSER, the main financier, closed. A similar scenario played out at Concord Press Nigeria Limited when the death of the main promoter, MKO Abiola, led to the disappearance of all the titles under the publishing outfit, including the local language newspapers  –​Isokan, Amana and Udoka. Even though Concord had amassed a huge readership and advertisement appeal, its ownership and funding revolved around Abiola, the majority shareholder and chief financier. With the death of Abiola, who regularly bailed out the publishing outfit, as well as the fluid ownership and management structure, the organisation went bankrupt and shut down. The challenge of capacity Another factor that led to the death of early indigenous language newspapers and continues to inhibit the viability of existing newspapers is the issue of capacity. Many local language newspapers do not have a defined editorial and administrative structure. Most of the staff are either ad hoc or part-​owners who have other major business interests. The newspapers are not well-​resourced to attract skilled personnel, like reporters and editors, who can conduct independent investigations. The few who are engaged are poorly paid and, as a result, there is high turnover of staff who migrate to greener pastures. The result is that most indigenous language newspapers rely on traditional newspapers and news agencies for their stories. Often, the stories are a rehash of reports published in mainstream newspapers that are simply translated to vernacular. But there are a few exceptions like Alaroye, which has in its employ trained journalists that conduct independent investigative stories. The ability of Alaroye to compete lies in the background of the publisher. As a trained journalist and former newscaster in the Yoruba language, Adedayo is equipped with the skills and language to run a professional newspaper capable of competing with mainstream publications. It is a testament to the resourcefulness and capacity of the Alaroye stable that it has expanded to include weekly and monthly magazines, Akede Agbaye and Iriri Aye Alaroye, respectively (Adedayo 2006).

144  Kehinde Oyesomi et al. The digital media challenge Perhaps the greatest challenge that newspapers, including indigenous newspapers, face is the digital media conundrum. In the past, traditional newspapers recorded huge circulation and occupied a prime position as primary sources of news for many. In recent years, newspaper readership has declined significantly. Stiff competition from digital media has forced many newspapers to innovate or die and, as a result, many traditional newspapers are increasingly emphasising their online presence as the gravitation to digital media intensifies. Digital media have grown exponentially, extending into every facet of life. The internet, mobile phones and other present-​day technologies offer not only innovative ways of ‘mediating and representing the world’ but also expansive means of communicating (Buckingham 2015). Mobile technology, a rapidly growing facet of digital media, is revolutionising commerce and day-​to-​day life. Cell phones, for instance, have become part of everyday life and important gadgets for business transactions across the world (Coleman 2010). A growing number of Nigerians are migrating to social media where, with their smartphones and other internet-​enabled devices, they can easily access a plethora of information sources (Nwachukwu and Onyenankeya 2017). Digital technologies have opened a new vista, ‘fundamentally altering the way we are born, we live, we sleep, we produce, we consume, we dream, we fight, or we die’ (Castells 1996, 31). The emergence of digital media has ushered in a new reality in journalism practice –​online journalism, where news generation and distribution are no longer the exclusive domain of traditional media. There are numerous blogs and independent publications through which citizen journalists purvey all kinds of news online. The Internet, according to Coleman (2010), ‘has become a central conduit and node for one of the most public and politically significant genres of communication: news’ (495). Traditional newspapers are also migrating online, where virtually all the major newspapers in Nigeria are available. Indigenous language media will have to become active in the digital space to stand any chance of survival.

Indigenous language newspapers as a counter-​public sphere Apart from helping to promote and preserve local languages, indigenous language newspapers are increasingly functioning as a counter-​public sphere. German philosopher, Jürgen Habermas (1989), conceived of the public sphere as a kind of open space where ‘private people come together as a public’, usually outside of the control by the state, ostensibly to engage in the cross-​fertilization of ideas and knowledge (Blanning 1998, 27). These public–​private individuals ‘whose societal interconnectedness transcends the boundaries of their personal lives’ (Susen 2011, 43), participate in a shared deliberation of ‘issues bearing on state authority’ (Calhoun 1992, 7). In other words, citizens participate in this ‘institutionalised arena of discursive interaction’ to not only ‘deliberate about their affairs’ (Fraser 1990, 57) but also form ‘something approaching public opinion’ (Habermas 1974,

The future of indigenous language press  145 49). Habermas (1974) defines public opinion as ‘the tasks of criticism and control which a public body of citizens informally-​and, in periodic elections, formally as well-​practices vis-​à-​vis the ruling structure organized in the form of a state’ (49). While Fraser (1990) acknowledges that the public sphere can be a site for the construction and transmission of ‘discourses that can, in principle, be critical of the state’, she contends that the notion of the public sphere as conceptualised by Habermas (1974) is a ‘normative ideal’ that appears to espouse a ‘single public sphere’ against a multiplicity of publics required in stratified and democratic society (70). Moreover, the consensus attained through conversation, or ‘medium of talk’, is narrow and often reflects the voice of the bourgeoisie. It has been argued that the voices of people in the grassroots are often marginalised or suppressed in the media space. Mainstream media do not just reflect reality but also represent it, and often, the world –​ideologies, values and images –​represented by mainstream media is the world as interpreted or selected by the powerful in society. The opinion of the ruling class or the dominant group in society appears to dominate discourses in the public sphere. This leads to a situation where the perspective of the powerful in society with regards to norms, social values and identities, becomes the acceptable standard or ‘dominant forms of common sense’ (Bailey et al. 2008, 16). Subordinate groups are increasingly being shut out from mainstream media because the language and content are designed to gratify the needs of the dominant groups in society. Gumucio-​Dagron and Thomas (2006) hold that there is ‘an increasingly commercialised, privatised and mediated public sphere at national levels, driven by market logic and focused on rating … It is hard for ordinary citizens to access media as a result’ (xxxiv). Susen (2011) warns that ‘the commodifying imperative of capitalist society appears to transform the public sphere into a market sphere’, and ‘if left unchallenged, the “invisible hand” of the market and the “visible hand” of the state seem strong enough to neutralize the rational–​critical force of the public’ (58). The use of mother tongues by indigenous language newspapers allows the common people to be included in national life (Bamgbose 2011). In spite of its weaknesses, public sphere theory provides an interpretative framework for understanding the inner workings of the public sphere and the role the media plays in facilitating talk or discourses leading to the formation of public opinion, especially as newspapers, magazines, radio and television have become ‘the media of the public sphere’ today (Habermas 1974, 49). The existence of local language newspapers allows subordinated groups to share their perspectives or viewpoints in the public domain. Language is critical in public discourse because ‘it is through language that meaning is mediated’ (Salawu 2013, 79). As an alternative media, indigenous language newspapers afford the marginalised, misrepresented and under-​ represented in the media and public sphere, the platform to not only voice their ideas but also construct ‘non-​ conformist and counterhegemonic representations’ (Bailey et al. 2008, 7). They can do this because they have the linguistic competence in the local language that is the medium of expression.

146  Kehinde Oyesomi et al. Indigenous language newspapers often use locals as sources for information and opinion, thereby accommodating local perspectives. This is a sharp contrast to the mainstream media, where opinions on national issues are sourced from experts or the powerful in society (Bailey et al. 2008, 16). Representation of the viewpoints of subordinated groups can also counter the monopoly of mainstream media in defining public discourses and shaping representation of social values and actions. Consumption of indigenous language newspapers has the potential to enhance and heighten the sociability of readers. Another theory that provides a nuanced perspective on how technology implicates society is technological determinism theory.

Technological determinism theory The shift to digital technology is envisaged in technological determinism theory. This theory assumes that technology defines the development of social values and structure in a society. It details the transformative impact of technology from the tribal to the literate era, and from the print to the electronic age (Griffin 2010). The theory interrogates how and the degree to which technological factors depict human beliefs or actions. Proponents of technological determinism posit that transformation in technology is the overarching source for change in society. Marshal McLuhan (1964) suggests that media determinism, a form of technological determinism, shapes how individuals in a society think, feel and act, and how society operates as it moves from one technological age to another. In his 1964 seminal work, Understanding Media:  The Extensions of Man, McLuhan posits that ‘the medium is the message’. In other words, the medium is a more influential and unequivocal determinant of human interaction and action than is the content or the message. This suggests that the medium shapes and controls ‘the scale and form of human association and action’ (McLuhan 1964, 9). However, critiques of technological determinism hold that technology at no time imposes itself on people. On the contrary, technology was made by people, and people choose to use it the way it suits them. For example, when television was invented, it was a deliberate choice by people to view it. There was no obligation on the part of the technology to compel individuals to use it. Without question, the technology requires people to participate or involve themselves at some point or another, however, the choice of using the technology and experiencing its effects lies in the hand of human beings. Some scholars hold that technology itself is socially determined such that technology and social structures co-​evolve in a non-​ deterministic, emergent process. In other words, the effects of any given technology depend mainly on how it is implemented (Adler 2006). While digital technologies hold great potential for indigenous language newspapers, the responsibility to use the technology lies with the journalist. Technological determinism theory is relevant in this work in that it helps to explain how technology  –​in this case, digital media  –​influences human thoughts and actions. Technology is seen as the dynamic force of culture in a society. The newspaper industry is no exception, as the traditional method of generating, producing

The future of indigenous language press  147 and distributing news is giving way to digital approaches. The future of journalism is being shaped by the convergence of technology and societal shifts. New media are not only an addition to existing media but also new technologies, and therefore have a deterministic factor as well.

Implications of the shift to digital media The media industry has witnessed a rapid change due largely to the emergence of digital media. As of January 2019, there were over 113 million internet subscribers on GSM-​enabled networks in Nigeria, according to the Nigerian Communication Commission (2019). With smartphones and other internet-​ enabled devices, people can easily access a plethora of information, including newspaper content (Nwachukwu and Onyenankeya 2017). Many Nigerians, including readers of indigenous language newspapers, are increasingly migrating to social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp, to access news. Empirical studies show that many newspaper readers prefer the free online version they can access through the internet (Ekhareafo et al. 2013; Hassan and Azmi 2018; Mathew, Ogedebe, and Adeniji 2013). The migration to social media implicates production and distribution of indigenous newspapers. As has been noted, ‘whenever and wherever individuals and groups deploy and communicate with digital media, there will be circulations, reimaginings, magnifications, deletions, translations, revisionings and remakings of a range of cultural representations, experiences and identities’ (Coleman 2010, 488). This is even critical for a language that is embedded in the culture. The traditional English language newspapers have long gone digital and have developed strategies to drive traffic to their sites. They are faced with the challenge of how to design a webpage that is compatible with social media and accommodates the taste of the target audience, especially the upwardly mobile youths who are very active in social media. It requires creativity to design the appropriate tools to generate and sustain traffic to the newspaper’s site. What media content –​images, videos and sounds –​could be deployed to enliven readership without losing the symbolism embedded in the indigenous language? Proponents of digital media appear to focus on its functionality, especially in providing a broad range of accessible information; not much attention is paid to ‘the symbolic or persuasive aspects of digital media, of the emotional dimensions of our uses and interpretations of these media’ (Buckingham 2015). To leverage digital media for producing and communicating information in indigenous language demands a high level of literacy. According to Buckingham (2015), ‘a truly literate individual is able not only to use language but also to understand how it works’ (26). As highlighted earlier, literacy in indigenous languages has experienced a nosedive. For indigenous language newspapers to make a success of online publishing, they must have personnel who not only are skilled in the syntax of the local language but also possess ‘analytical skills, and a meta-​language for describing how language functions … how digital media are constructed, and of the unique rhetorics of interactive communication’ (Buckingham 2015, 26);

148  Kehinde Oyesomi et al. of course, this is in addition to possessing digital literacy, including how websites are constructed and managed (Burbules and Callister 2000) and, more importantly, the ability to remediate textual and symbolic expressions. This requires technology-​savvy personnel to implement.

Fashioning a new trajectory: opportunities for sustainability Recapitalisation The question of how indigenous language newspapers can be sustained in the face of a plethora of challenges, including declining sales, poor funding and competition from traditional and new media, has elicited suggestions from several quarters. Prominent among the proposals is the need for recapitalisation. Many stakeholders believe fresh capital from new investors or injections of additional capital by current owners could help deepen the capital base of indigenous language newspapers and position them well to invest in the recruitment of skilled and well-​trained staff and to procure requisite technologies. This will lead to diversification of ownership from the current sole proprietorship pattern, which largely characterises the ownership structure of most indigenous newspapers. Partnership Currently, indigenous language press across Africa operate according to two organisational models –​the ‘mainstream’ or independent model, in which an indigenous language newspaper is owned and operated by an individual, family or corporate concern, and the ‘subsidiary’ model, where an indigenous newspaper exists as the subsidiary of an established traditional newspaper publishing in a second or colonial language (Salawu 2015). Those who support the subsidiary management approach argue that the model is amenable to resource sharing. The weakness of the subsidiary model is that the secondary product often does not receive the same amount of attention or priority in the allocation of resources. For instance, when the media organisation faces financial challenges, the local language newspaper may be temporarily shuttered (Salawu 2013). Additionally, in the event that the main product encounters turbulent times and eventually stops publishing, the subsidiary product is likely to cease to exist. For instance, the Yoruba language newspaper, Gboungboun, published by Daily Sketch Press Ltd, closed when its parent company folded. The same scenario played out with regards to Isokan, Amana and Udoka, which collapsed when their parent company, Concord, ceased to operate. As Salawu (2015) has noted, both models have not been favourable to the indigenous language press. Financial reengineering that sees an uplift of the capital base through the pooling of resources would be beneficial to both the mainstream and subsidiary types of indigenous language newspapers. For instance, the cooperative vehicle that was used to revive Iwe Irohin may be an approach that groups or societies may adopt to revive or revitalise moribund indigenous language newspapers.

The future of indigenous language press  149 Government subsidies The survival of Gaskiya Tai Kwabo over the years is due largely to subsidies and occasional injections of fresh capital from the northern establishment. Given the low readership of indigenous newspapers and the struggle for funds, local and state governments may consider extending subsidies to local language publications. A grant from the national or regional government could be an avenue to not only shore up operations of these indigenous language newspapers but also ensure their sustainability. This is even more important because the newspapers play a significant role in enhancing literacy in indigenous languages. While virtually all the state governments in Nigeria operate television and radio stations that broadcast in local languages, there exist few or no state-​sponsored local language newspapers. The bulk of indigenous language newspapers are promoted by private individuals and they receive no financial assistance of any form. Independent or publicly owned indigenous language newspapers should be treated as public trusts. A  special purpose vehicle, like the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) in South Africa, could be created by the government to grant a subsidy to an independent indigenous publishing outfit. The MDDA was established by an act of parliament to foster skills development and capacity building. The agency provides grants for deserving media houses ostensibly to promote publishing and broadcasting of the country’s diverse indigenous languages. The South African model has proven to be a very pragmatic and actionable strategy and could be adopted by the various governments in Nigeria to provide financial support for local language newspapers. Crowdfunding The funding deficiency of indigenous language newspapers can also be mitigated by crowdfunding. The strategy has been tested and has proven to be effective. Crowdfunding is a means of fundraising in which a media organisation appeals to the general public to donate to its operations. Premium Times and The Cable are examples of media organisations leveraging on public support. The two outlets regularly solicit funds from the public to support investigative enterprises. Many in Nigerian society would be willing to support calls for donations to indigenous language newspapers, especially as the papers are language-​and culture-​centric. Collaboration with local and international non-​ governmental organisations (NGOs) interested in and committed to language development and preservation could be another way of revitalising and sustaining the indigenous language press. Institutionalised arena for subordinate voices What will aid indigenous language newspapers in surviving is their ability to provide a voice to subordinate groups. Indigenous language newspapers provide space for marginalised groups  –​those who cannot communicate in the dominant language  –​to participate in discursive interactions in the public sphere in a language in which they have linguistic competence to express themselves.

150  Kehinde Oyesomi et al. If these newspapers become overly commercialised like the mainstream media, they are likely to become beholden to the bourgeoisie. Although privately owned media outlets provide a voice for a variety of publics, subaltern groups are often shut out and unable to participate in deliberations about their common affairs. Because their mediation of discourses is in mother tongues, indigenous language newspapers not only facilitate grassroots participation but also afford ordinary people the leeway to articulate their ideas in ways that best reflect their opinions and experiences (Chibita and Salawu 2016).

Reimagining the future While improved funding, capacity building (especially in the area of language) and journalistic and digital competence are essential in the continuous operations of indigenous language newspapers, their survival also requires a digital reimagining. Digital technologies have become pervasive, occupying a central place in the way we articulate and experience our beliefs, culture and everyday life. Their application to journalism is increasingly removing barriers to truth discovery, for which traditional methods are ill-​equipped. There is no denying that the indigenous language press must leverage digital technology if they are to thrive in the Digital Age. For instance, South Africa’s IsiZulu language newspaper, Ilanga, has survived amidst political and economic pressure because of its ability to adapt to new technology (Buthelezi 2016). The adoption of the mainstream model of management has also helped Ilanga and Isolezwe in South Africa and Alaroye in Nigeria to remain relevant amidst stiff competition from English language newspapers (Salawu 2015). However, simply migrating online or adopting and adapting to twenty-​first-​ century digital technologies with a twentieth-​century mentality will not suffice. There is a need for a holistic assessment of the future of the indigenous press because of the digital transformation. Technological and scientific innovation is complex and volatile. For instance, digital technology is continuously evolving; sometimes the pace of development is faster than adoption. While some businesses, especially in Africa, are just now adapting to the ‘Internet of Things’, mobile technology is increasingly emerging as the future of business and social life. With an already circumscribed market, the challenge facing indigenous language newspapers is not how to stave off the migration to digital media, but how best to exploit the shift to boost readership and advertising revenue. Social media thrives on interactivity; this is already shaping the future of journalism. Part of the appeal of future indigenous language newspapers would be the ability to offer a feedback mechanism that not only allows meaningful interaction but also engenders a two-​way flow of information  –​where readers can become input-​or content-​providers. To achieve this requires a rich pool of talent, especially in the digital field, which the indigenous language newspapers must endeavour to attract. The reimagined indigenous language newspaper must be one that strikes a balance between commercialisation and its role as a repository and custodian

The future of indigenous language press  151 of linguistic and cultural heritage. As noted by Gumucio-​Dagron and Thomas (2006), excessive commercialisation has the potential to commodify indigenous language newspapers such that they will lose their essence of providing access to ordinary citizens. As noted above, Susen (2011) warns that the ‘invisible hand of the market … is strong enough to neutralize the rational–​critical force of the public’ (58), and this includes consumers of local language newspapers. While indigenous language newspapers seek to attract advertising revenue, this must not detract from their primary function as alternative media that provide information and continuity and mobilize groups who may be precluded from conventional media because of their language. Content also matters. Given their complete dependence on indigenous languages in the construction and sharing of meaning, indigenous language plays a crucial role in identity negotiation. So in embracing digital media, indigenous language newspapers must endeavour to provide reporting or content that reflects the oral tradition and cultural motifs of their readers. While Bamgbose (cited in Mpofu and Salawu 2018, 296) acknowledges that the media can standardise and reinforce language, they can also vitiate it. The reimaging of indigenous language newspapers must factor in its future role in the preservation of local languages. As highlighted earlier, indigenous language newspapers have become the locus of the revitalisation of endangered mother tongues, and this role is bound to intensify in the future. How they can incorporate digital media in realising this role will enhance their sustenance and social relevance. Technology continues to evolve, orchestrating paradigm shifts, but the focus and purpose of indigenous language newspapers must be consistently towards building a cohort of readers that stays with them for the long haul because they provide an arena for debate and discursive interaction on issues that concern them in a language that enables them to express their thoughts more profoundly. A  good example is Ilanga, which has maintained its essence as the institutionalised arena for the discussion of Zulu history, culture and social development (Buthelezi 2016). The indigenous language newspaper that will endure over time will be one that is not confined to satisfying narrow interests or dramatising unimportant community issues, one geared towards preparing people for effective participation in national life. Mpofu and Salawu (2018) argue that indigenous language newspapers must not only focus on addressing the specific needs and aspirations of the people but also be concerned with empowering and galvanising them to participate in national and international socio-​economic programmes. This envisages a development-​oriented indigenous language press that transcends the provision of information to promoting and galvanising the populace for change.

Conclusion Indigenous language newspapers are buffeted by a confluence of factors, such as poor funding, shrinking patronage and competition from traditional and social media. Nevertheless, they have managed to carve a market niche in spite of the enormous challenges. To survive the emerging mobile technology revolution,

152  Kehinde Oyesomi et al. the indigenous language press will need to digitally reimagine their business. Indigenous language operators considering adopting digital technologies, including social media, will have to contend with the huge amount of resources required for digital media infrastructure development as well as the shortage of talent. The digital reimagining of the indigenous language press is premised on a strong, well-​thought-​out strategy that must be driven by visionary leaders who are well primed to incubate change, anticipate the future and take the necessary risks. The indigenous language newspapers in Nigeria need to not only adapt to the digital revolution but also explore a model that combines a futuristic outlook with a practical approach, if they are to thrive in the rapidly changing and technology-​ driven world. The process of repositioning or reinventing must start with a critical appraisal or reimagining of the current modus operandi.

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9  A survey of the management, organisation, structure, content and columns of the contemporary Yorùbá newspaper Olutola Osunnuga Introduction The efforts that culminated in the birth of the contemporary Yorùbá newspaper started with the emergence of Àláròyé in 1985. Àlàó Adédayọ̀, a seasoned broadcaster with Radio Nigeria, retired from the corporation and floated a print media organisation known as World Information Agents. Àláròyé was published four times before it disappeared from newsstands. The premature death of Àláròyé forced the publisher to take further steps to acquire training that would equip him for better performance in the publishing of the newspaper. Adédayọ̀ registered at the institute of journalism where he underwent training in print journalism. At the completion of his studies, he re-​launched Àláròyé in 1994. Osunnuga (2000) affirmed that when Àláròyé came back into circulation in 1994, it was better produced because of two factors: (1) the expertise and experience in journalism the publisher acquired in his course of study, and (2) the availability of trained staff, which resulted in high-​quality production. In spite of its comeback, and after about four editions were published in one month, Àláròyé went out of circulation again. This time, the collapse was largely due to financial constraints. Àláròyé reappeared in 1996. This time, its operation was more organized. There were seasoned members of staff operating all departments of the organisation. A board of directors was put in place with better focus and oversight functions. Though there were problems, the sales volume was encouraging and patronage was increasing. Foremost among the factors that made Àláròyé popular was its use of language, especially in the way it cast its headlines. Short, exclamatory, pungent and heavily loaded headlines and phrases attracted readers and made Àláròyé a reference point inside buses, at marketplaces and in motor parks (Osunnuga 2000). It enjoyed huge acceptance by the local populace. Another factor that made Àláròyé popular upon its return in 1996 was the lingering presidential election crisis of 12 June 1993. That was a period when an average Yorùbá person wanted to know the latest information about the condition of Chief MKO Abiola, who was widely believed to have won the 1993 presidential election that was annulled by Nigeria’s military junta, headed by General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida. Àláròyé reported widely on the condition of the incarcerated presidential candidate, MKO Abiola, until he eventually died in military custody in 1998. During this period, Àláròyé

The contemporary Yorùbá newspaper  157 injected new approaches into Yorùbá newspapering through its thorough analysis of political issues that directly affected the Yorùbá people, in particular, and Nigeria, in general. It was the success of Àláròyé that spurred a few other Yorùbá newspapers to emerge. Notable among them are Àjoró, Alálàyé, Yorùbá Ronú, Atọ́ka Oòduà, Aṣojú-​ Odùduwà, Àsọ yé, Aláwííyé, Alukoro, Bójúrí, Akéde Àgbáyé, Akéde Oòduà, Aláríyá Oòduá, Akéde Africa and Káyémọ̀. Attributing the emergence of the contemporary Yorùbá newspaper to the success of Àláròyé, the publisher of Àjọ̀ro, Duro Adeojo, once said: Realising that Àláròyé, which was being published by an ordinary news broadcaster, was highly welcomed by the Yorùbá community, those of us who were trained journalists felt we could do better and bring our language artistry to bear, and as the last Editor of the Ìṣọ̀kan newspaper, I decided to establish Àjọró. (Osunnuga 2000) Àjọrò was established in 1999 with the sole objective of creating political consciousness in the minds of both literate and illiterate Yorùbá at the grassroots. Furthermore, it was the intention of the publisher to use the newspaper as a platform for the Yorùbá at home and among the diasporas to share their thoughts on the political impasse of the period; this was a time when many Nigerians, especially the Yorùbá, were sceptical about the military’s sincerity about disengaging from Nigeria’s political landscape, and whether a Yorùbá person would be allowed to rule the nation as president. Virtually all the contemporary Yorùbá newspapers have similar objectives, which are to pursue and protect the Yorùbá interests in the areas of language, culture and especially political representation.

Structure of the contemporary Yorùbá newspaper Every Yorùbá newspaper in circulation has a structure that obtains in modern newspaper organisations. Each has a board of directors that formulates and implements policies. The board is often made up of relations, friends and associates of the publishers. Many of the board members are not on fixed salaries or allowances but are sometimes remunerated. Simply put, they serve on the boards based on their relationship with the publishers, and many of them consider serving in such a capacity as their contribution to promoting the newspaper. The publishers all double as the chief executive officers (CEOs). Each newspaper has an Editor-​ in-​ Chief, popularly called Olótùú Àgbà. Although Olótùú Àgbà has many duties, one pivotal responsibility is to ensure that news items and stories are produced in simple and intelligible language. The Olótùú Àgbà is responsible for checking spelling and grammatical errors, inconsistencies, inaccuracies or fabrications. They also oversee and manage the other employees who produce and edit content. The Olótùú Àgbà delegates jobs and decides who writes on which subject. They determine what stories appear in the newspaper. Story leads and news tips from the community are often sent to

158  Olutola Osunnuga the Olótùú Àgbà, who then discerns which leads can produce interesting and informative stories to capture readers’ interest and boost sales. The Olótùú Àgbà, in most cases, cast the headlines to make sure the newspaper is ‘sellable’. When they delegate this important task to a writer or a sub-​editor, they still ensure the headlines are catchy and pungent enough to attract readers. This researcher’s interactions with some of the Olótùú Àgbà of the Yorùbá newspapers show that research is a key part of their duties. This is because all the Olótùú Àgbà confessed to keeping tabs on customer and market response to the content of their newspapers with a view to monitoring their newspaper’s position among competitors. It is observed that strategic planning is also part of their duties. To ensure that the newspaper’s standard of excellence is maintained, the Olótùú Àgbà checks the edited copy for errors that might have escaped the eyes of the previous editors before going to print. Attention to details is a key to maintaining Yorùbá newspapers’ images and objectives. Two of the Olótùú Àgbà from the newspapers under study claimed that they verify all quotes and citations and ensure they are correctly referenced. They affirmed that they serve as the final fact checkers for all references and stories published. The essence of the thorough checking, according to one Editor-​in-​Chief, is to minimise litigation and apologies that might arise if such errors are committed, as they can distract the attention of the newspaper from meeting its objectives, and sometimes can lead to liquidation. The contemporary Yorùbá newspaper has various departments, such as administration, editorial, finance, advertisement, production and distribution, human resources and legal. Each of these departments plays a significant role in the publication of each edition of the newspaper. Maintaining these departments results in huge overhead costs, whereas the available funds are limited. The publishers –​in all cases –​are the sole financiers of the newspapers. They resort to raising funds from personal savings and friends who share their objectives. For example, the initial funds used to publish the first editions of Aláròyé and Àjọrò were the entitlements each publisher received from their retirement. In addition, the little amount occasionally obtained from advertisements (which is still not encouraging) is expended on production. The proliferation of online newspapers is also a big blow to the sale of Yorùbá publications. Contemporary Yorùbá newspapers are widely distributed throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria. They are sold and read in neighbouring African countries, as well as in major cities in Europe and the United States. This is facilitated by the circulation departments of the newspapers, which are aware of the desire of the Yorùbá in the diasporas to read Nigerian news in Yorùbá. It must be stated, however, that the urge was not because the Yorùbá in the diasporas could not source information about the happenings in their homeland through other media, such as electronic news and the Internet. Rather, it was a natural craving to bridge the gap of reading in their mother tongue because the Yorùbá in the diasporas are inundated with reading materials written in foreign languages, such as English, French and Spanish. Yorùbá newspapers are delivered to agents on an agreed-​upon commission. The agents in turn deliver to the vendors, who sell to willing buyers on the street

The contemporary Yorùbá newspaper  159 and sometimes allow people who cannot afford to buy the newspapers to read them free of charge. As the newspapers are weekly productions, the vendors return unsold copies to the agent at the end of the week, and the agent returns them to the publishers. Because of the lack of recycling facilities, the publishers sell the unsold copies as wrappers to people who trade in súyà meat, corn and groundnuts.

Content and columns of the contemporary Yorùbá newspaper This section examines the columns and sections of the newspapers devoted to news coverage, editorials, entertainment, politics, sports, culture, interviews and letters to the editor. The essence of this section is to determine and establish whether the Yorùbá newspapers devote substantial space to worthwhile items, or whether they are propelled by profit motives to devote more space to advertisements. One way by which this was conducted was by listing the major segments that are contained in the newspapers and then counting the frequency with which they occur. For the Yorùbá journalists, finding enough news is not a problem; the difficulty, however, lies in selecting from a vast and unending torrent of news at their disposal, considering that many of them publish weekly. Apart from the news agencies, such as the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) and the Associated Press (AP), Yorùbá newspapers source news from reporters, correspondents, news broadcasts and private individuals who volunteer information. In the process, the editors of the newspapers become inundated with newsworthy material. Two-​thirds of the news in a Yorùbá newspaper consists of information and subjects of local interest –​politics, religion, comics, entertainment, sports and community events. Apart from these, the Yorùbá newspaper contains feature stories, serials, reports from foreign countries, and interviews with prominent members of society and experts on a particular profession, which can be both entertaining and insightful (Osunnuga 2015). In fact, nothing beats the Yorùbá newspaper for in-​ depth coverage and the ability to trigger public discussion among the local populace, especially those with limited or no competence in English. From its corpus, this study notes that, in most of the Yorùbá newspapers, domestic news is predominant, occupying up to 80%–​90% of editorial space. Àjọrò and Ìròyín pay more attention to foreign news (about 40% on average), but even for such papers, domestic news prevails. Topics vary among Yorùbá newspapers, but despite this variation, this study reveals many common topic categories and a nearly universal hierarchy in topical relevance. National, regional and local politics are usually most frequent, followed by social and economic affairs, sports, crime, accidents and human interest stories. Only Aláròyé pays more attention to soft topics, such as history, education or science, mostly in feature articles and special editions. In general, national news gets more attention than regional or local news, especially in Aláròyé, Ìròyín Yorùbá and Àjọrò. The main actors are the political elites,

160  Olutola Osunnuga primarily the president, government ministers and members of the legislatures at the national, state and local levels. The government or political party in power tends to receive more coverage than the opposition, although there may be variation depending on the political stance of the paper. Apart from government functionaries, large national organizations and the various institutions of the state are in focus. These include the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the police and the judiciary. In addition, Yorùbá newspapers give attention to unions or large groups and movements, such as the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), Boko Haram and staff unions, such as the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). Of these various institutions or groups, it is again the leading elites that get the most attention: presidents or chairpersons, secretaries, or spokespersons. Similarly, in matters of social affairs, the professional elites, such as doctors, engineers, lawyers or professors, are the primary focus of the newspaper. The Yorùbá newspaper gives coverage to other nationally well-​known people, such as athletes, artists, musicians, Yorùbá movie stars and writers. Throughout these various layers of social structure, ordinary people usually fall outside the picture and may only collectively be involved as participants in political action, the victims of catastrophes or as victims or perpetrators of crimes. Topics and analysis of domestic news in Yorùbá newspapers often are reproductions of the dominant power structures of the society. The less quoted members of society are those who have less to say; however, this does not mean that they do not have much to tell. The nature of events predominantly covered in Yorùbá newspapers is highly predictable from the topic and categories mentioned above: political actions of government, parliament or the political parties, first, and the activities of organizations and institutions, next. Most of these activities are verbal: decision-​making, new laws, parliamentary debates, speeches and reports, among others. Apart from these routine political, economic and social events and their discursive expression or enactment, negativity is also an important aspect in Yorùbá newspaper reporting. Events related to what is considered and portrayed as social disorder, such as conflict, scandal, problems, opposition, accidents and crimes, typically receive extensive attention and coverage. The primary function of the Yorùbá newspaper is to disseminate information in simple language. The information circulated cuts across various interests; it borders on news, politics, entertainment and business. All the newspapers under consideration devote an average of three pages to news coverage. While they do not separate local news from foreign news –​with the exception of Àjọrò, which has a column for íròyín ilẹ̀ òkèèrè (foreign news) –​the newspapers cover local news (Ìròyín íbílẹ̀), national news (Ìròyín orílẹ̀ èdè) and world news (ĺròyín àgbáyé). It appears as if all the newspapers follow the same paradigm because they all adopt the heading ‘Ìròyín’ for this segment, except for Àjọrò, which in its first ten editions used the caption ‘Ìròyín Ńlá’, but later changed it to ‘Ìròyín’, like its counterparts. However, Alálàyé is unique in its news coverage in that it devotes a page to news items that are specific to the Yorùbá people. It calls the section Ìròyín Oòduà (Oòduà news). Each item relates, and is addressed, to the Yorùbá people. This

The contemporary Yorùbá newspaper  161 again reinforces the fact that Yorùbá newspapers are established to promote and pursue the Yorùbá cause. Apart from news, politics is given wide coverage in the newspapers under several columns, such as:  ‘Òṣèlú Alágbáda’ (Civilian Government) in Àjọrò, ‘Òṣèlú Gbòde’ (Era of Politics) in Ìròyín Yorùbá and ‘Ọ̀rọ̀ Òsèlú’ (Political Discourse) in Àsọyé, Ìṣọkan and Ìṣípayá. Other Yorùbá newspapers also devote substantial articles to politics, however, they do not categorise them under a particular section; they are subsumed in the general news sections of their papers. Those that fall under this category are Aláròye, Akéde Odùduwa, Aláríyá Oòduà, Káyégbọ́ and Káyémọ̀. Entertainment receives a large portion of coverage in the Yorùbá newspapers because one of the most popular columns in any Yorùbá newspaper is the entertainment column. Yorùbá newspapers use this section to provide information about movies, films, songs, radio, television and other entertaining activities. They write about local foods and cultural events. A few of the newspapers write about astrology and horoscopes under this section. For instance, in Aláròyé, various entertainment news pieces are embedded under broad captions, such as: ‘Gbéborùn’ (Gossip), ‘Fàájí famia’ (Unlimited Enjoyment) and ‘Àṣà àti Ìṣe’ (Art and Culture). In Akéde Odúduwà and Iròyín Yorùbá, entertainment is referred to as ‘Fàájí Rẹpẹtẹ’ and ‘Àríyá Rẹpẹtẹ’, respectively, with both meaning ‘Unlimited Enjoyment’. In Yorùbá Ronú and Alálàyé, it is simply tagged ‘Amúlùúdùn’ (Entertainment). In Àjọrò, entertainment comes under two broad captions:  ‘Amúlùúdún’ and ‘Aláyọnusọ’ (Entertainment and Gossips), while Akéde Africa calls its entertainment segment ‘Nífàájí’ (In Enjoyment). Other newspapers under study do not have specific captions for entertainment but they do contain entertainment news. The Yorùbá newspaper employs a good sense of humour while trying to make others laugh (Olúnládé 2005). The newspapers present their entertainment stories with a funny twist, even when such stories might be annoying to readers. Apart from entertainment, Yorùbá newspapers have columns and sections for presenting editorial views. Editorials by Yorùbá newspapers are similar to those of the English papers in that they are always an opinion piece written by a writer or a group of writers at the newspaper. Editorials differ from most news pieces because they advocate a particular point of view, policy or other subjective argument. They may contain assertions that are controversial or opinion-​based and, in some case, they can be biased. The editorial genre in newspapers is defined in contrast to hard news. Instead of claiming objectivity, the act of giving opinions is foregrounded. In doing this, editorials give a voice to the individual newspapers by employing different textual and rhetorical styles to present their opinions. They are often argumentative and persuasive, as they aim to convince readers to see the world from their own perspective. Editorial writing often features modal auxiliaries that carry with them a sense of strong authority, such as ‘ó yẹ’ (It is necessary) and ‘a gbọ́dọ̀’ (We must), as well as generic statements that give the impression of definite knowledge of a topic. Another common strategy employed in editorials is the creation of ‘us versus them’ categories in which the newspaper and its perceived community are contrasted with an opposing force. In all, editorial language aims to give voice to the ideas supported by the newspaper.

162  Olutola Osunnuga In most of the Yorùbá newspapers, editorials are found on the second or third pages under captions, such as: ‘Ọ̀rọ̀ Olóòtú’ in Ìròyín Yorùbá, Akéde Odùduwà, Ìrírí Ayé Aláròyé and K’áyémọ̀. In Alálàyé, the editorial is referred to as ‘Àlàyé Olóòtú’, while it is called ‘Ọ̀rọ̀ Ẹnu Olóòtú’ in Magasííní Àjọrò. Ìṣọ̀kan calls it ‘Àlàyé Tiwa’ (Our Explanation). In these editorial sections, opinions are explicit and dominant, and formulated from the point of view of the newspaper or its editor. An examination of the editorials shows that these opinions are usually defended by a series of arguments, giving the writing an argumentative structure. This argumentation is not only defensive but also persuasive. The editorial, above all other objectives, is intended to influence the opinion formation of the reader about a current news event. In each of the Yorùbá newspapers’ editorials, the content makes it clear that it is an opinion of the editorial board. For example, part of a May 2000 editorial in the Ìṣọ̀kan newspaper dwells on the newspaper’s concerns and worries about the delay in signing the 2000 federal budget into law. Here is an example: (1) Fun apẹẹrẹ, gẹgẹ bí aba tiwa, a rọ Aarẹ Ọ basanjọ lati maa tete fi aba eto iṣuna owo ṣọwọ si ile-​lgbimọ Aṣofin fun ayẹwo. Lorílẹede Amẹríka, gẹgẹ bí apẹẹrẹ, lati inu oṣu kẹ fa ọdun ni Aarẹ tiwọn ti n fi aba eto iṣuna ṣọwọ si ile-​lgbimọ Aṣofin. Ṣiṣe bẹẹ yoo fun awọn aṣofin naa ní anfaani lati fara balẹ ṣe ṣẹ wọn fínnifínni pẹlu suuru. Bo ṣe yẹ ko ri lorilẹede yii naa niyẹn … Ireti tiwa nipe iriri ti ọdun yii ti to ẹkọ fun tọtun-​tosi, fun anfaani ọjọ iwaju. (Ìṣọ̀kan, 1 May 2000, 2) For example, as our own suggestion, we urge President Obasanjo to always send the budget to the National Assembly in good time for consideration. In America, for instance, their president usually sends the bill to the Congress in June. This will afford the Congress plenty of time to scrutinise the bill. That is what should obtain here in this country. … We hope that this year’s experience should serve as a lesson to both parties for the benefit of the future. From the above, the use of the possessive adjective, ‘tiwa’ (Our), and first-​person-​ plural pronoun, ‘a’ (we), are suggestive, and they clearly show that the piece is not a news item but the opinion of the newspaper’s editorial team. The editor wants readers to share the views presented. While editorials are not necessarily news items, Yorùbá newspapers sometimes use them to teach morality, thereby becoming didactic in their opinions. When commenting on the travails of James Ibori, a former governor of Delta State, Nigeria, who was jailed in the United Kingdom in 2012 for corruption and money laundering, the K’áyémọ̀ newspaper, in its editorial titled ‘Orúkọ rere’ (Good Name), says: (2) Arọwa K’ayemọ si awọn tí wọn wa nipo iṣakoso ijọba ni pe ko di igba ti eeyan ba ko gbogbo owo ilu sapo kaye to yẹni, tabi tani wọn sin owo mọ lọjọ to ku. Ko sohun taa feru ko

The contemporary Yorùbá newspaper  163 jọ taa le gbe rọrun. … Ẹ yin tẹẹ wa nipo lonii, ẹ kẹkọọ lara lbori tori ohun a ba feru kojọ kii bani kalẹ. Bọba aye o ri ọ, tọrun nwo gbogbo wa. (K’áyémọ̀, 6 March 2012, 3) Kayemo’s advice to present public officeholders is that they do not need to enrich themselves with public funds because there is no person that will be buried with money. There is nothing we coveted that will be buried with us. … Those of you who hold offices today, learn from Ibori because whatever we acquire fraudulently will not last. If no one sees you, the God of heaven is watching all of  us. The above is intended to convey information and to teach morals, hence, the newspaper resorts to the second-​person point of view when it uses the phrases, ‘Ẹ̀yin tẹ́ẹ wà nípò’ and ‘ẹ kẹ́kọ̀ọ́ lara’. This is a systematic instruction, as if a directive is being given to public officeholders, in particular, and the readers, in general, on how to conduct themselves when public funds are entrusted to them. The message appeals directly to the readers and emphasizes that whoever, among the readers, finds themselves in power should remember this advice. Letters to the editor, popularly referred to as ‘Lẹ́tà òǹkàwé’ in Magasííní Àjọrò and ‘èròǹgbà àwọn òǹkàwé’ in Yorùbá Ronú, are another feature of the Yorùbá newspapers. Typically, these letters take up half a page and include contributions from individuals, political activists, human rights activists, students, workers, public officers and other members of society. Although the letters tend to reflect the concerns of more educated readers, their content is often spiced with local variations of national issues, such as public spending, road maintenance and maintenance of infrastructure. The letter pages sometimes include public expressions of gratitude for individuals and government agencies who responded favourably to the needs of the people. One striking feature of the letter to the editor is rejoinders from individuals and corporate bodies whose names or activities are mentioned or portrayed in negative terms by the newspapers. The aggrieved party uses the ‘Lẹ́tà òǹkàwé’ section to write a rejoinder to disclaim or correct any impression the newspaper might have wrongly reported previously. In one such letter, a concerned person writes the following: (3)  Olootu, Mo ki yin tẹṣọtẹṣọ, wi pe ajinde ara yoo jẹ o (amin). Mo fẹ atunṣe lori ADIGUNJALE ṢỌ ṢẸ́ NI ILU ṢẸ́KỌ ́NA (Iwe Iroyin Ajọro ọ jọ Aje 4 Feb 2002). Mo fẹ mu da yin loju pe, Ṣẹkọna kii ṣe lẹba Oṣogbo rara, Ẹdẹ ni o ni Ṣẹkọna ilu si ni pẹlu. Fun idi eyi mo fẹ atunṣe lori ọrọ wipe Ṣẹkọna kii ṣe ẹba Oṣogbo, agbegbe Ẹdẹ ni o wà. Awọn eniyan kan tabi meji wipe awọn ara Oṣogbo ti gbe owo fun Ajọro lati gba ilu Ṣẹkọna lọwọ awọn ara Ẹdẹ ni. Ẹ ṣe pupọ o. Èmi ni, Yinusa Adejare Akọfẹ. (Magasííní Àjọrò, 28 April 2002, 14)

164  Olutola Osunnuga Editor, I salute you with respect and wish you good health (Amen). I want a correction on the story ARMED ROBBERS WREAK HAVOC IN SEKONA TOWN (Àjọrò newspaper, Monday, 4 Feb 2002). I want to inform you that Sekona is not beside Osogbo at all; it belongs to the Ede region and is a town on its own. For this reason, I want you to correct the story by stating that Sekona is not beside Osogbo, but Ede. A few people have alleged that Àjọrò has been bribed by the Osogbo people for the story in a bid to take away Sekona from Ede. Thanks a lot. I am Yinusa Adejare Akofe. The above is an example of a reader’s letter to the editor that borders on what the letter writer regards as misleading information. While the writer is not objecting to the main story that armed robbers wreaked havoc on Ṣẹ́kọ́nà, his concern is that the town in question does not belong to Òṣogbo but to the Ẹdẹ region. The writer is not only emphatic in his assertion that ‘Ṣẹ́kọ́nà kíí ṣe lẹ́ba Òṣogbo rárá, Ẹdẹ ni ó ni Ṣẹ́kọ́nà’ (‘Sekona is not beside Osogbo at all; it belongs to the Ede region’), he also insinuates that the Òṣogbo people might have bribed the newspaper that published the story. The writer, in arguing his point, employs the negative marker kíí (not), a common strategy often employed to negate an opposing viewpoint with a view to removing misunderstanding. From the corpus, this study observes that some of the Yorùbá newspapers have a ‘life counselling’ column. This is a section where readers send letters about their personal troubles, asking professional consultants for solutions. While the readers who write letters for life counselling are not a valid cross-​ section of the Yorùbá, theirs are voluntary opinions on various problems given in some detail. Sometimes, such letters deal with health, love and other human-​ interest issues for which the writers seek explanations, suggestions or answers. Below is an example: (4a) Mo jẹ ọmọ ọdun mẹẹdọgbọn, mo si ni afẹsọna kan ti o jẹ ọmọọdun mejidinlogbọn. Mo nífẹẹ ọmọkunrin yii pupọ ṣugbọn ohun kan ti o n ba mi lẹru lara rẹ ni wipe o maa n binu, Igba pupọ lo jẹ pe ti o ba binu, o maa n ṣoro pupọ fun mi lati bẹẹ, nitori pe kii tete gba ẹbẹ, igba pupọ ni inu si maa nbi emi funrami nigba ti mo ba bẹ ti ko gba. Ọpọ igba ni awọn ọrẹ rẹ ma nba wa pari ija. Aanti Alabaro ẹ jọwọ ọrọ yii toju su mi, ki ni ki n ṣe? Ayoola., Orita Challenge Ibadan (Àjọrò, 28 April 2002, 13) I am 25 years old and my fiancé is 28. I love this guy a lot, but my only fear is that he is always angry. On many occasions that he was angry, I found him difficult to appease because he doesn’t take apology easily, and this easily upsets me when he does not take my apologies. Several times his friend would have to intervene to settle our rifts. Dear Counsellor, please, I am tired of this issue. What should l do? Ayoola, Orita Challenge, Ibadan

The contemporary Yorùbá newspaper  165 The above is a typical letter in which the writer, Ayọ̀ọlá, seeks advice from a professional counsellor on what to do about her fiancé’s anger which, according to her, makes her fear going further in the relationship. The counsellor, in her response, addresses Ayọ̀ọlá’s query in the following words: (4b) Ayọọla, Ni ka sọ otitọ, iwọ funrarẹ ni lati ni suuru diẹ si, maa ranti nigba gbogbo pe ọkọ lori aya. Ko si ohun ti o wu ki o le maa bi afẹsọna rẹ ninu, o gbọdọ maa fi suuru baa sọrọ, kii ṣe pe ki iwọ naa binu ki ara ita wa maa ba yin pari ija lai tí ko de ile ara yín. Ti ẹ ba wa ko de ile ara yin nkọ? Maa ranti nigba gbogbo pe ‘onisuuru ní fun wara kiniun’ layọ o. (Àjọrò, 28 April 2002, 13) Ayoola, To be honest, you also have to exercise more patience. Always remember that a husband is the head of a wife. Whatever makes your fiancé angry, you need to deal with him with patience, not by being angry at the same time, to the extent that you allow a third party to intervene when you are not even married yet. What if you were married? Always remember that ‘it is a patient person who milks a lion’. Peace to you. The counsellor’s advice contains words and statements that are cohesive and meaningful. While the counsellor does not suggest a particular course of action to be taken, she uses expressions that convey the need for patience by the client. The use of three declarative sentences –​‘Iwọ fúnrarẹ ní láti ní sùùru díẹ̀ sí’, ‘O gbọ́dọ̀ máa fi sùúrù báa sọ̀rọ̀’ and ‘kíí ṣe pé kí íwọ náà bínú’ –​in quick succession, provides a mental–​visual image for the client to envision a way of living a blissful married life. This provides something for the client to ponder, a picture to pull her through the relationship. The counsellor leaves the client with a final piece of advice, ‘Onísùùrù ní fún wàrà kíníún’ (‘It is a patient person who milks a lion’). This is a metaphor because, by stating that milking a lion requires a lot of patience, the counsellor conveys the understanding that patience and endurance are also necessary to sustain a relationship. In essence, the metaphor employed in the above counsel provides the client with a perspective of self-​responsibility in making her relationship succeed. Sometimes, when the letters are not forthcoming from readers, the columnists prod readers with series of questions to determine why there have not been responses from them. The essence of this prodding is to evaluate the columns with a view to determining if they met readers’ expectations and if adjustments are needed. The feedback is essential to the writers if communication and entertainment –​the writers’ objectives –​are to be accomplished. In one instance, a regular columnist begins thus: (5) Ẹyin Ololufẹ ‘Mama Kẹ’, ẹ ku igbadun o, ṣe ko si nnkan o, ẹyin ololufẹ mi gbogbo tori pe o to ọjọ mẹta ti mo ti ri lẹta yin gba o, ṣe ti ile iwe ifiwe ranṣẹ ti o maa n lọ tikọtikọ lo fa

166  Olutola Osunnuga ni? Bi mo ba ti ṣẹ yin lọna kan tabi omiran, ẹ jọwọ ki ẹ fọwọ wọnu. … Ka wa ni ko ri bẹẹ, ẹ fi lẹta yin ṣọwọ si mi, ẹ jẹ ka jọ finukonu, ka jọ foju agba wo o. N o maa reti lẹta yin o. (Yorùbá Ronú, 1 November 1999, 10) Lovers of the ‘Mama ke’ column, hope all is well with my dear fans because it has been a while since I received your letters. Could it be because of the dysfunctional postal delivery system? If I have offended you in any way, please forgive me. … If I did not offend you, kindly send in your letters. Let us come and reason together. I will be expecting your letters. The introduction in (5)  shows that the writer relies on the readers for the relevance and continuity of the column. It also gives credence to the column by suggesting that the letters treated in the column are not fictitious. The words used are interpersonal and show a corresponding relationship between the writer and the readers. The above excerpts are just a few examples of the content and columns of Yorùbá newspapers. Others include poetry, personality profiles, history, interviews, advertisements and sports.

Conclusion This chapter has examined the profile of contemporary Yorùbá newspapers as well as their content and columns. Similarly, the literary structure of the Yorùbá newspapers and how their writers translate their thoughts into various sections of the publication have been explored. Though the sales of the newspapers have declined in recent years due to an economic downturn in Nigeria, Yorùbá newspapers are still establishing themselves and have the potential to blossom if their structure continues to be improved and their content continues to reflect the interests of readers. Above all, this chapter has argued that the structure and organisation of English language newspapers are not completely different from those utilized by Yorùbá newspapers, thus establishing the contemporaneity of the Yorùbá newspaper.

References Olúnládé, T.A. 2005. Ìlo Lítíréṣọ̀ Alohùn Yorùbá Nínú Ìwé Ìròyín Yorùbá Láti 1859 Dé 1960. Ile Ife: Unpublished PhD Thesis, Obafemi Awolowo University. Osunnuga, O. 2000. “Language Style of Yoruba Newspapers: A Case of Alaroye.” MA diss., University of Ibadan, Nigeria. Osunnuga, O. 2015. “Stylistic Techniques in Selected Contemporary Yoruba Newspapers: 1999–​2012.” PhD diss., University of Lagos, Nigeria.

10  The challenges of sustaining African language newspaper businesses The Yorùbá language example from Nigeria Clement Adéníyí Àkángbé

Introduction Language is a very powerful tool that underlies human existence in society. It is an organised system of sounds that convey meaning among speakers with the same language background. Bonvillain (2000) defines language as ‘a communicative system consisting of formal units that are integrated through processes of combination’ (7), while Omojuyigbe (2004, 12; cited in Adedeji 2015) describes language as ‘a series of sounds strung together in groups to convey meaning to listeners’ (35). Language is also a unified system of signs that permit the sharing of meanings. In other words, the primary function of language is communication. Communication is the act of sending information from one person to another. It is therefore the transference of a message from the sender to the receiver through a channel, with the purpose of sharing ideas, opinions, feelings, moods, intentions, wishes, aspirations, etc. Communication enables interaction, promotes relationships, establishes and strengthens friendship, resolves crises and fosters understanding and peace, among others. In modern times, communication has surpassed oracy, which was the mainstay of communal living in the days of yore. Electronic and print, the two principal media of modern communication, have turned the world into a global village through the commoditisation of information. Of the two, print is the older form and it takes the form of periodicals, such as newspapers and magazines, as well as books. According to Esimokha (2011), print media simply ‘refers to channels of communication that present information on paper’ (2). The invention of movable type for printing by Johannes Guttenberg marked a significant turnaround in information dissemination by print, and this, no doubt, was a boost for the evolution of newspapers. The first English newspaper, Courante, was published in 1621 in London, while in America, Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick, created by Benjamin Harris in Boston, was the first newspaper (Esimokha 2011, 3). Much later, in 1846, Nigeria encountered the printing tradition when the Presbyterian Mission in Calabar acquired the first

168  Clement Adéníyí Àkángbé printing press in the country (Omu 1978, 7). The sole purpose for acquiring the printing machine was to print religious materials for the use of the Church and its converts. The efforts in Calabar were followed by the establishment of Iwe Irohin fun awon Ara Egba ati Yoruba (A Newspaper for the Egbas and Yoruba People) by Reverend Henry Townsend in 1859. Townsend was a missionary in Abeokuta with the Church Missionary Society (CMS; Kalejaiye, Atofojomo, and Odunlami 2006, 14; Adebajo 2007, 7). From the foregoing, the continuum from printing religious publications to newspaper printing is clear. At its start, Iwe Irohin was published fortnightly in the Yoruba language, but it became bilingual starting on 8 March 1860, when an English supplement was added. The bilingual publication, in the view of Kalejaiye et al. (2006), is ‘by no means a mean achievement even by today’s standard. There is hardly any bilingual newspaper on the newsstand today’ (14). It is therefore established in history that Iwe Irohin marked the first newspaper published in Yoruba and indeed in Nigeria.

Yoruba language newspapers The Yoruba are one of the largest ethnic groups south of the Sahara Desert. They are one of the three tribes that are dominant in Nigeria. The Yoruba are the main ethnic group in Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Oyo States, and they compose a sizable proportion of Kwara, Kogi and Edo States in Nigeria. The Yoruba people are also found in varying numbers in Ghana, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Benin, Togo, Brazil, Cuba and other locales. The Yoruba language press refers to print media publications, specifically newspapers, that employ the Yoruba language as a medium of expression. Yoruba, a very dynamic and resilient language, was on the forefront of writing and research in indigenous languages in Africa. The drive for establishing Yoruba newspapers since their inception in the nineteenth century was not monetary. Rather, the founders were galvanized by a strong zeal and genuine love for promoting the Yoruba language and culture. They were equally eager to create a platform that would serve as a megaphone for airing and projecting the voice of the Yoruba against the oppression of the colonial government, which was not possible before the advent of Yoruba newspapers. With Iwe Irohin as the pacesetter of Yoruba newspapers in 1859, the foundation was laid for other newspapers to spring up. As noted by Duyile (1987, 21) in Omoloso (2014), Iwe Irohin existed for eight years before it ceased publication on 13 October 1867 during a popular uprising called ‘Ifole’, where libraries and the printing press that published the newspaper were destroyed. Two other famous Yoruba newspapers were also established in the nineteenth century. These were Iwe Irohin Eko (1888), which was published monthly by Andrew M. Thomas, and Iwe Eko (1891), published by Rev J. Vernal. Iwe Eko was established by the Anglican Mission as a replacement for the London-​based monthly, Gleaner. However, it was short lived.

Sustaining African language newspapers  169 At the turn of the twentieth century, a number of indigenous newspapers in Yoruba sprang up. These included Nigbati Owo Ba Dile  –​the brainchild of two female missionaries at the CMS Bookshop in Lagos –​in 1910, and Nigbati Owo Ba Dile –​the Yoruba version of In Leisure Hours, a bilingual published monthly. The latter was initially printed in England, but later its printing was done locally by the Egba Government Press, until June 1913 when the CMS Mission established its own printing press (Omoloso and Abdulrauf-​Salau 2014). As Folarin and Mohammed (1996, 104) submitted in Alabi (2003, 21), Nigbati Owo Ba Dile was a compendium of news, information and entertainment; it was full of lively information that was spiced up by humour. This was a way of living up to its name and fulfilling its promise of providing relaxation during leisure hours. Eko Akete, another notable newspaper by Adeoye Deniga, was established in 1922, while Eleti Ofe (The Eavesdropper), published by EA Akintan, followed in 1923. Two years later, Thomas Horatio Jackson of the Weekly Record established Iwe Iroyin Osose (Weekly Newspaper). The newspaper, however, did not achieve much success due to low patronage and a weak financial base. In 1924, Denrele Adetimikan Obasa (1879–​1945) joined the train of newspaper proprietors by founding a bilingual newspaper, The Yoruba News, which was based in Ibadan, making it the first newspaper published in the city. This was not only strategic but immensely beneficial. As noted by Akinyemi (2017), Obasa’s choice of Ibadan as the location of his printing press was strategic –​ none of the other printing press companies already in existence in Nigeria had an office in Ibadan. They were all based in Lagos and Abeokuta. So, with the opening of Ilare Printing Press in Ibadan, Obasa was able to draw patronage from Ibadan and other cities. (1) Based in Ibadan and published by Ilare Printers, Yoruba News, a bilingual serial in English and Yoruba, remarkably had varying content and wide circulation covering its locale –​most importantly Ibadan; the southern protectorate, particularly Yoruba land; and (marginally) the entire nation. DA Obasa  –​Editor and Proprietor of Yoruba News  –​successfully edited the weekly paper for over two decades (1924–​1945) until his death. Eko Igbein was another Yoruba newspaper. It was established by EM Awoliyi in 1926, and Akede Eko (The Lagos Town-​Crier) was founded the following year by Isaac B. Thomas. As explained by Alabi (2003), Thomas was a popular columnist with Eleti Ofe who brought his experience to bear on the operations of Akede Eko. Salawu (2004) noted that Gbohungbohun, a publication by the Western State Government of Nigeria, began operations on 29 October 1970. It is remarkable that an unparalleled feat in the publication of indigenous newspapers was achieved by the late business mogul and winner of the 1993 Nigerian presidential election  –​Basorun MKO Abiola, the publisher of the Concord Group and founder of newspapers in the three major Nigerian

170  Clement Adéníyí Àkángbé languages: Isokan for Yoruba, Udoka for Igbo and Amana for Hausa. The papers were published weekly by the Concord Group (Alabi 2003). In all the English-​speaking countries of Africa, English language newspapers are dominant while indigenous language ones are few. The same scenario is also observable in the French-​speaking African countries. In Nigeria, for instance, even though Iwe Irohin was the first publication, the English language press dominated the scene right from inception with its seemingly endless list: Anglo African (1863), Lagos Observer (1882), The Eagle (1883), Lagos Critic (1883), The Mirror (1887), Lagos Echo (1890), Lagos Weekly Record (1890), The Weekly Record (1891) and Lagos Standard (1893). Others are The Chronicles (1908), The Pioneer (1914), African Messenger (1921), The Spectator (1923), Lagos Daily News (1925), Nigerian Daily Times (1926), Daily Service (1933), The West African Pilot (1937) and Nigerian Tribune (1949). At post-​ independence, the trend not only continued but widened with The Sunday and Morning Post (1961), Daily Sketch (1964), New Nigerian (1966), Punch (1973), National Concord (1980), The Guardian (1983), Vanguard (1984), Champion (1988), This Day (1995), Daily Independent (2001), The Nation (2011), The Sun (2003) and several others (Adedeji 2015, 39). Meanwhile, there was only a handful of indigenous newspapers and virtually all of them are now out of circulation. The numerical disparity is obvious. It is noteworthy that other indigenous language newspapers existed along with Iwe Iroyin and the other Yoruba language newspapers, which laid the foundation for journalism in Nigeria. Examples of these include Unwana Efik (1885) and Obukpon Efik (1886), both published by the Presbyterian Mission in Calabar (Alabi 2003), and Gaskiya Tafi Kwabo (1939), a prominent Hausa newspaper and a product of the Northern Literature Bureau (NLB), which is still in existence today. Gaskiya Tafi Kwabo, as Alabi (2003, 26) maintained, did not only survive and flourish, it also trained experts who championed the formation of 12 provincial indigenous language newspapers in later years. The newspapers in indigenous languages included: Albashir in Kanuri (1951), Iakadiya in Hausa (1948), Mwanger U Tiv in Tiv (1984), Zaruma in Sakkawatanu (1951), Ardo for Adamawa, Gamzaki in Hausa for Bauchi, Okaki Idoma in Idoma for Benue, Durosi Oto in Yoruba for Ilorin, and Bow and Oka–​Ane in Igbirra and Igala, respectively. The remaining ones were Nne Nyetsu in Nupe for Niger while Himma, Zaruma, Haske, Baza Zzxaga and Iakadiya, all in Hausa, were for Katsina, Sokoto, Plateau, Zaria and Kano provinces, respectively. Igbo language newspapers included Onuora, Ogene and Akuko Uwa (Nnabuihe and Ikwubozo 2006).

Contemporary Yoruba newspapers The time scope for our contemporary Yoruba newspapers is 1970 to present. In the view of Adebajo (1997), as cited in Osunnuga (in press), the motive for establishing what he (Osunnuga) called ‘the contemporary Yoruba newspapers’ is similar to the motive behind the Yoruba newspapers published between 1859 and 1985. The founders were spurred by the quest for emancipation, liberation and enlightenment. While the colonial indigenous newspapers served as potent

Sustaining African language newspapers  171 tools of agitation for independence, the early post-​colonial publications were megaphones for clamouring for tribal relevance, genuine recognition and integration into the Nigeria project, and liberation from military governance. The contemporary Yoruba newspapers address social ills, political imbalance, rot in governance and prevalent moral decadence in society. According to Osunnuga (in press), the efforts that culminated in the birth of many contemporary Yoruba newspapers largely began with the emergence of Alaroye in 1985. Its publisher, Adedayo Alao, was a retired broadcaster who previously worked for Radio Nigeria and who came up with the idea to establish World Information Agents, a print media agency. Alaroye was epileptic at its inception because it was not published regularly. Its ‘on and off’ status later culminated in its demise, albeit temporarily. The sudden death of the newspaper prompted the publisher to seek further professional training in journalism. This proactive move by Alao paid off, as Alaroye has been waxing stronger, gaining popularity and acceptance since its return to the market on 2 July 1996. Osunnuga (in press) opined strongly that it was the success story of Alaroye that spurred the emergence of a number of Yoruba newspapers. According to him, prominent among these are ‘Ajoro, Alalaye, Yoruba Ronu, Atoka Oodua, Asoju-​Oduduwa, Asoye, Alawiiye, Alukoro, Bojuri, Akede Agbaye, Akede Oodua, Alariiya Oodua, Akede Africa and Kayemo’. A  table of the contemporary Yoruba newspapers, showing the columns and content, adapted from Osunnuga (in press) is reproduced below in Table 10.1.

Impacts of Yoruba newspapers The Yoruba newspapers have been of significant impact right from their inception. They have been a veritable source of information, education, entertainment and enlightenment to society. According to Uyo (1987), as cited in Esimokha (2011), newspaper and magazine messages include news stories, in-​depth reporting, news analysis, interpretative reports, investigative reports (also called muckraking), feature stories, editorials, columns, reviews, advertisements, obituaries, letters to the editor, cartoons and comics, editorial cartoons, photoramas, vox pop or public opinion polls, and other types of messages, including the ‘verbatim interview, special news report, personality profile or portrait, advertorial supplement, news sidebar, puzzle, horoscope, the game, etc.’ (40–​44). The content of Yoruba newspapers is not as diverse and varied as listed above, but it effectively covers the key aspects. Many of the Yoruba newspapers feature diverse news categories ranging from politics to the economy, social life, education, crime, arts and leisure, entertainment, family, sports and advertisements. Yoruba newspapers are versatile at creating news. Their primary function is information dissemination, and this is creditably done in simple and accessible Yoruba language. A  lot of information is captured on news, politics, entertainment and business. Their news coverage features local and domestic, national and foreign topics. For the most part, local and domestic news are most prominent in many of these newspapers. This is followed by national news, while international


S/​ N

Year established Newspaper name

Language adopted




1 2 3

1970 1970 1980

Gbohungbohun Ilana Yoruba Isokan

1 1 1

Joe Fadiran Olalekan Onatade Duro Olaoj̣o

-​ -​ MKO Abiola

4 5

1983 1985

Okin Oloja Alaroye

1 1

Lawuyi Ogunniran Tade Dairo

Tubosun Oladapo Alao Adedayo

6 7

1996 1997

Lanre Ganiyu Sikiru Ademola

-​ S. Ademola



Alore Ipinle Oyo 1 Iroyin Adinni/​Muslim 3 News Iwe Alafe 1

-​ -​ Otito ni yoo leke (Truth shall prevail) Otito n bori (Truth is prevailing) Iwe Iroyin ti n soju omo Yoruba nibi gbogbo (Newspaper that represents the Yoruba everywhere) Ile Ise Iroyin Ipinle Oyo Otito ni Islam (Islam is the truth)

Biodun Awogbemi


9 10

1998 1998

Okiki Akede Agbaye

1 1

Agbaje Salami Obalowo Adegbite

Agbaje Salami Alao Adedayo





Titilayo Hazeez






Abdulaziz Olakulehin




Yoruba Ronu


Bayo Oguntade






Duro Olaojo


Agbenuso Oodua (Oodua’s mouthpiece) -​ Iroyin Otito fun gbogbo omo Yoruba (True news reports for the Yoruba people) Ohun Awon Omo Yoruba (The voice of the Yoruba people) Fun Isokan ati itesiwaju omo Yoruba (For unity and progress of the Yoruba) Iwe Idande Yoruba (Newspaper for Yoruba freedom) Ogbon kii se tenikan (Nobody has monopoly of wisdom)

172  Clement Adéníyí Àkángbé

Table 10.1 Contemporary Yorùbá newspapers





Segun Olayinka






Diran Oguntade






Adeyinka Olatunde


18 19

1999 1999

Osele Al-​Islam

1 3

Bayo Oguntade Abdul-​Baqee Yemisi-​Coker

Debo Azeez Abdul-​Baqee Yemisi-​Coker



Atoka Oodua


Abiodun Sosanya




Okele Irole


Oluwajueda Fatoyinbo

AJ Ajala



Magasiini Ajoro


Duro Olaojo

Duro Olaojo

23 24 25

2000 2000 2000

Magasiini Alaroye Iriri Aye Alaroye Asoye

1 1 1

OA Taiwo





Alao Adedayo Alao Adedayo OA Taiwo -​





Ogunniyi Morakinyo Adeyinka Olatunde


Iwa rere leso eniyan (Good character is the beauty of a person) Fun ilosiwaju ogbon, imo ati idaraya omo Yoruba. (For the progress of knowledge, wisdom and entertainment of the Yoruba people) Ayanfe Awon omo Oduduwa (The beloved of Oduduwa’s offspring) -​ Iwe iroyin agbenuso fun janmo musulumi Nigeria (Mouthpiece for Muslims of Nigeria) Fun ogo Yoruba (for Yoruba glory) Ajeyo fun omo kaaro-​oo-​jiire (Satisfaction for all the Yoruba people) Ogbon kii se tenikan (Nobody has monopoly of wisdom) Agbenuso awon omo Naijiria (Mouthpiece of Nigerians) -​ Yoruba gbogbo ara kiki ogbon (Yoruba is full of wisdom) (continued )

Sustaining African language newspapers  173



S/​ N

Year established Newspaper name

Language adopted













Arthur Oriire Iyamore -​

30 31

2000 2001

Obalonile Iwe Iroyin Sinagogu

1 1

A. Olakulehin -​

-​ Synagogue Church



Eleti Ofe


Ade Adebayo




Akede Oduduwa


Olaide Gold

Babatunde Festus



Alariiya Oodua


Oba A. Adegbite

Oba A. Adegbite





Kunle Bamidele

Kunle Bamidele



Akede Africa


Ayo-​Tunde Aremu

Ayo-​Tunde Aremu

Alagbawi fun mekunnu (Spokesperson for the poor) Iwe Iroyin to n soju-​abe-​nikoo (The newspaper that hits the nail on the head) -​ Kristi ni Olutonisona lojoojumo (Christ is our daily guide) Iwe Iroyin fun gbogbo omo Oduduwa (Newspaper for all the offspring of Oduduwa) Fun otito ati isokan Yoruba (For the truth and unity of the Yoruba Ewa ati igbelaruge asa Yoruba ni tiwa (Promotion of Yoruba beauty and culture is ours) Iwe Iroyin ojoojumo akoko nile Yoruba (The first Yoruba daily newspaper) Gbigbe asa ati ise alawodudu laruge (Promoting art and culture of the black race)

Source: Adapted from Osunnuga (in press).


174  Clement Adéníyí Àkángbé

Table 10.1 (Cont.)

Sustaining African language newspapers  175 or foreign topics are last. Through news dissemination, readers are kept abreast of happenings at home and abroad. Political matters have always been given significant attention in Yoruba newspapers. In fact, one of the major drivers of establishing a newspaper outfit is politics, and the topics are given wide coverage under different columns. Various names, such as Oselu Gbode (Political Arena), Oselu Alagbada (Civilian Government) and Oro Oselu (Political Issues), among others, are adopted for political columns. The Yoruba newspapers also give prominence to entertainment news by featuring information on films, music, actors, radio and television broadcasters, editors and publishers, among others. Cultural activities, festivals, traditions, customs and performances are also featured as a way of entertaining and informing readers. Entertainment news comes under different captions, such as Gbeborun (Gossips), Faaji Famia (Enjoyment Galore), Asa ati Ise (Arts and Culture), Amuluudun (Entertainment), Faaji Repete (Entertainment Unlimited), Ariya Repete (Unlimited Enjoyment), etc. Whatever the nomenclature adopted, Yoruba newspapers create rich entertainment for their readers. Editorials also constitute a major aspect of Yoruba newspapers. They occupy the initial pages of the newspapers and are commonly called Oro Olootu, Alaye Olootu or Oro Enu Olootu, which all mean ‘editorial view’ or ‘editorial opinion’. Whatever it is called, editorials in Yoruba newspapers present the point of view of the editor with a persuasive undertone. Yoruba newspapers enhance information dissemination to their target audiences on diverse issues. The publications are potent instruments for informing and enlightening the citizenry. Apart from these roles, they contribute significantly to the reading and writing of the Yoruba language. This, in itself, is an aid for speaking Yoruba, particularly in South-​West, Nigeria. Yoruba newspapers also have a positive influence on Yoruba arts, history and culture through the different write-​ups in their columns and features. These newspapers have made, and are still making, useful contributions to the economy of the nation. They provide jobs for their editorial, production, marketing and administrative staff, they are patrons of paper merchants and printers, and they are an overall boost to the economy in diverse respects.

Challenges facing Yoruba language newspapers and possible solutions There is a plethora of challenges confronting indigenous language newspapers in Africa generally and Yoruba newspapers specifically. These issues are highlighted in this section. Poor attitudes toward indigenous languages is one critical challenge that is threatening the sustenance of Yoruba language newspapers. It is disheartening that many people across Africa are highly disenchanted with anything indigenous. Such qualities are regarded as inferior, repulsive, primitive and backward. With this unfortunate impression, it becomes difficult, if not impossible, for anything indigenous to penetrate the market. Therefore, local languages, culture, traditions, education, healthcare, engineering, jurisprudence, arts and crafts, economics and

176  Clement Adéníyí Àkángbé occupations have been disregarded in favour of their foreign counterparts. With an entrenched bias of this magnitude, Yoruba newspapers will continue to receive poor attention from Yoruba people unless there is a change of orientation. Perhaps at the very base of the superstructure is the language itself. As corroborated by Richard West, Jr in his foreword to Native Language Preservation: A Reference Guide for Establishing Archives and Repositories (2006), Cultural identity has many sources and aspects. Music, dance, literature, art, craftsmanship, clothing, religion and even food, are all ways through which groups of people define who they are. But perhaps no element of cultural identity is as fundamental as language. Our languages and our cultures are inextricably linked; survival of language means survival of culture. (iii) For any hope of a meaningful and sustainable future for African language newspapers, there must be a serious positive disposition towards African languages and culture. There must be a ‘back to the roots’ campaign by which members of society will be persuaded to exhibit regard for what is indigenous. We must prefer our own music, dance, art, crafts, culinary, clothing, names, religion and, of course, our language over foreign alternatives. The government must take the lead in this crusade. It is when we have first adopted a change of attitude that we can be hopeful of sustaining the Yoruba language newspapers. All citizens of the nation should have rejuvenated interest in the use of indigenous languages. Society must encourage children and young adults to speak indigenous languages. A number of the Yoruba people, particularly youths and elites, regard the language as primitive and, as such, find it unfashionable in communication. In most homes, particularly those of the educated, more than 80% speak English. This supports the submission of Littlebear (1999) in Akangbe and Igudia (2013) that, Right now we have children who are mute in our languages, who are migrants to our languages, who are like extra-​terrestrials to our cultures. We have youths who are aliens to us because they do not have the vital linguistic link that identifies them as Cheyenne or whatever tribal group they belong to. (96) How then can the language be adopted by the upcoming generation? It is disheartening that the culture of speaking Yoruba, using proverbs and idioms, greetings, wearing Yoruba dresses, etc. is fading away, particularly among the younger generation. There is no denying that culture is a living and dynamic body of knowledge of a people and it needs to be carefully tended to and nurtured, otherwise it will degenerate and die. There must, therefore, be a concerted change of practice towards the use of indigenous languages in informal settings. Illiteracy in the Yoruba language is another major challenge. The level of literacy in the Yoruba language is on the decline. Apart from a lack of enthusiasm on the part of the learners, there is a dearth of teachers of Yoruba in schools and

Sustaining African language newspapers  177 colleges. There is also a policy crisis on the part of the government in terms of teaching and learning indigenous languages in Nigeria. As Akangbe and Igudia (2013) opined, Nigeria does not have a clear-​cut language policy which would have accorded a pride of place for her indigenous languages; nonetheless, certain epileptic provisions are made in the National Policy on Education [Federal Republic of Nigeria 2004]. These provisions are epileptic because they are not backed up with implementation. (92–​93) The policy, among others, provides for: i. Teaching Mother-​Tongue (MT) and/​or language of the immediate community (LIC) as the language of initial literacy at the pre-​primary and junior primary levels, and of adult and non-​formal education. ii. Identifying the three major (national) languages –​Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba –​ at L2 as the languages of national culture and integration. iii. Treating Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba as potential national languages that are to be developed and used as LO and L2 throughout the formal educational system. iv. Accepting all Nigerian languages as meaningful media of instruction in initial literacy, and in life-​long and informal education. Akangbe and Igudia (2013) observed that, in spite of these provisions, little or no attention is paid to the implementation by the successive governments: ‘Apart from the non-​committal attitude of the governments, the provisions themselves are fraught with inexplicitness and vagueness that underscore seriousness on the part of the government’ (92–​93). In fact, as of today, the Nigeria Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) has relegated the indigenous languages to elective status in secondary schools. This retrogressive policy has the potential to further deplete the number of students offering Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa at West African Senior Certificate Examinations (WASCE) and Senior Schools Certificate Examinations (SSCE). The obvious consequence of this damaging and unpatriotic decision portends doom for these languages in Nigeria. Apart from this, a number of researchers have shown that the performance of students in the Yoruba language is dwindling. One such study is that of Ojetola (2014), who noted that the performance of students in external examinations, particularly Yoruba Language exams, still falls below expectations despite the increase in the quantity and quality of teachers in the schools. Kolawole and Olabode (in press) remarked that the West African Senior Certificate Examinations (WASCE SSCE) Chief Examiner’s Reports corroborated this, with statements such as: Generally, candidates’ performance is poor (2006), candidates’ performance is fair (2007), candidates’ performance fell below expectation (2008),

178  Clement Adéníyí Àkángbé Table 10.2 Students’ enrolment and performance in WAEC May/​June SSCE in the Yorùbá language Year

Total entries

Total candidates

Total credits and distinctions

Ordinary passes (P7 and P8), and outright failures (F9)

2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014

301,511 352,009 370,401 364,042 377,104 388,043 376,240 379,341 316,704

277,026 (91.87%) 345,304 (94.05%) 341,805 (92.28%) 336,220 (92.35%) 351,127 (93.11%) 365,118 (94.09%) 354,122 (94.12%) 362,615 (95.59%) 305,640 (96.51%)

76,314 (27.54%) 69,343 (23.4%) 72,954 (21.34%) 105,503 (31.37%) 141,134 (40.19%) 122,945 (33.67%) 133,431 (37.67%) 166,032 (45.78%) 105,087 (34.38%)

200,712 (72.45%) 275,961 (79.73%) 266,643 (78%) 225,626 (67.1%) 206,802 (58.89%) 242,026 (66.29%) 217,511 (61.41%) 192,822 (53.17%) 198,454 (64.93%)

Source: Language, Literature and Culture (2006–​2014); Statistics Section, West African Examinations Council (WAEC) National Office, Onipaanu, Lagos.

candidates’ performance was just fair (2009), noticeable improvement was observed (2010), no appreciable improvement (2011), performance was fair (2012), and slight improvement (2013). (28, 25, 43, 44, 48 and 46) The enormity of this problem is captured in the analysis of SSCE results (2006–​ 2014), as shown in Table 10.2. From the table above, it is clear that, between 2006 and 2014, the percentage of candidates who passed the subject at credit and distinction grades was less than 40%. The implication of this is that only the candidates who passed at credit and distinction grades are eligible to seek admission to university. Over the nine years, an average of 32.8% earned a qualifying pass mark (QPM). The obvious consequence of this consistent failure rate is likely a paucity of qualified students for university admission. There is an urgent need to reverse this trend, and all hands must be on deck. The following are some plausible measures that can be employed to combat these challenges: i. Government must establish a functional language policy to moderate and drive language matters in Nigeria. A language policy is an official act of government, enacted through legislation or court decisions. It determines the way languages are used and cultivates language skills that are needed to meet national priorities. With a language policy in Nigeria, the place of language in education as well as individuals’ language rights will be clearly defined. It will give clear-​cut directions on language matters for the benefit of society. ii. The federal government of Nigeria, through the NERDC, should reverse the status of indigenous languages in the secondary school curriculum from elective to compulsory. This will give more credibility to the languages

Sustaining African language newspapers  179 and improve on the dearth of students studying these subjects at the tertiary level. iii. The federal government of Nigeria should mandate its ministries and agencies to fully implement the provision of the National Policy on Education as regards indigenous languages (Federal Republic of Nigeria 2004). With this, Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa, and others will not only be taught effectively in schools, but also be the languages of instruction for all subjects at the lower basic education level and be used extensively for teaching at the middle basic education level. This measure, if adequately implemented, will be a compound guarantee for the sustenance of Yoruba language newspapers. iv. Government should employ adequate Yoruba teachers in quantity and quality to drive effective teaching and learning of the language. v. Students should demonstrate seriousness and a willingness to learn so that they can pass well in the Yoruba language. vi. Parents and guardians should also give adequate moral support to their children and wards by paying attention to their educational performance. Poor patronage and low readership is a dual hallmark of indigenous newspapers across Africa. Due to poor acceptance, patronage is poor and readership is very low. As submitted earlier, many people are not lettered in writing and reading Yoruba, while many who are capable, especially the elites, find it unfashionable to purchase and read Yoruba newspapers. Alabi (2011) reported that university students hardly read indigenous language newspapers and remarked that it would not be an overgeneralisation to assume that elites have a poor attitude towards anything indigenous in Nigeria. This authenticates the observation of Salawu (2004) that Nigerian elites demonstrate poor attitudes towards the patronage of indigenous language newspapers in terms of readership and advertisement subscriptions. Omoloso and Abdulrauf-​Salau (2014) also testified that, with the arrival of the mainstream press and of course with more Nigerians getting more educated, the mainstream press seemed to take over from the indigenous press. And over the years, sales and consequently production and circulation of the indigenous press started to dwindle. (9) It is unarguable that poor patronage and low readership result in the short life span of Yoruba newspapers. It must be stated, however, that Yoruba newspapers did not suffer this ill fortune at inception. As a matter of fact, at their beginnings, patronage was high, readership was good and acceptance was impressive, particularly in the days of colonialism until Nigeria obtained independence from Britain. Attesting to this, Omu (1978, 258) reported that Iwe Irohin, in 1889, had an annual circulation of 6,650, while its Lagos Observer counterpart had 7,200. The subsequent Yoruba newspapers that emerged, particularly Akede Eko, competed favourably with their English counterparts, particularly in the 1920s. The trend nosedived,

180  Clement Adéníyí Àkángbé however, as more English papers evolved and were published daily, unlike Yoruba newspapers that were few and were published mostly weekly. Of course, many scholars could not read the indigenous language newspapers, so they did not reckon with their existence. To change this ill trend of poor patronage and low readership, a deliberate attitudinal change is required from all citizens, particularly the elites. Apart from this, a credit pass in Yoruba should be a requirement for admission into any higher education institution in South-​West Nigeria, irrespective of the candidate’s course of study. Lagos State of Nigeria, under the regime of the former state governor, Akinwumi Ambode, has taken the lead in this direction by doing exactly that. There is high optimism that, if this is done across Nigeria, youths and teenagers will be compelled to develop a renewed interest in Yoruba language and culture. With this, editors, writers, publishers and, of course, readers are guaranteed access to Yoruba newspapers for the foreseeable future. The lean and weak capital base also accounts for the poor state of Yoruba newspapers. Many publications have a very weak financial base, as they are run by individuals who self-​finance them. This is unlike many of the English newspapers, which are sustained by private companies. This financial incapacity is compounded by poor advertisement subscriptions. Normally, many newspapers derive their financial strength from advert placements by subscribers, but many do not consider Yoruba newspapers for this purpose. This is, perhaps, understandable when one considers the limited readership and circulation, whereas this was not the case during the colonial era, when a high level of enthusiasm and patronage existed. As Akangbe (2018) stated about Yoruba News, So many products, services and organisations were advertised in the newspaper. In Volume II Number 4 of February 8, 1925, when the newspaper was still barely 13 months old, there were 15 different advertisements. These included those of SB Agbaje & Co. general merchants; S. Abinusawa Motor Mechanic; LL Ricketts Agriculturist; The Ilare Press (itself, the printers of Yoruba News); DW Okusote Tailor and Draper; Oibo Alagbon; Hudson Cole Builder and Contractor; Ibadan Billiard Saloon; Mustafa Adeniran: Onisona Atata ni Opopo Bode Ona Ido; Ise Olodumare Dispensary; ET Solola General Merchant; and Anglo-​ Colonial Trading Corporation Limited. Advertisements were placed by clients in English and Yoruba languages. (13–​19) With independence and deeper entrenchment of civilisation into our society, detestation for Yoruba newspapers was on the rise. To encourage Yoruba language newspaper business, it is strongly recommended that governments of each state offer financial support to the proprietors of Yoruba newspapers. Yoruba-​speaking states should also float their own Yoruba language newspapers, which should be owned and fully sponsored by government. In terms of advertisements, corporate organisations and individuals are enjoined to patronise Yoruba language newspapers to boost the firms’ financial bases.

Sustaining African language newspapers  181 The rising cost of paper and printing consumables is another strong force limiting the fortunes of Yoruba newspapers. The cost of production is ever increasing. Paper alone constitutes about 60% of all production costs, apart from ink, chemicals, blankets and other consumables. The rising cost of printing materials became prominent in the 1980s, when the economy of Nigeria nosedived. This was compounded by importation costs. It is pitiable that none of the papermaking companies at Jebba, Iwopin or Oku-​Iboku in Nigeria are functional. The economy was in crisis and the financial power of the buyers had dropped considerably. Conversely, the costs of production had risen tremendously, leaving the Yoruba newspaper business to be emasculated from both ends: the production end and the consumption end. There are several options to stem the tide of this challenge: i. The government can relieve the burden of publishers and printers by reducing considerably, or removing entirely, the tax and importation tariffs on paper, cardboard and printing consumables. ii. The newspaper mills in Nigeria should also be resuscitated, as this will bring the cost of paper down considerably. It will also generate income for government and provide employment for job seekers. iii. The government should provide financial support to publishers of Yoruba language newspapers. Banks should also grant loans to indigenous language newspaper proprietors at a reduced interest rate. This will improve the indigenous language newspapers’ financial base for better performance. iv. Advertisers are also enjoined to patronise Yoruba newspapers. Those who advertise their business in Alaroye titles, for instance, do not regret it, as they get value for their money. Newspaper review programmes presented on the radio are usually beneficial to listeners as they bring intriguing news to their doorstep. It is, however, a disadvantage and a disservice to newspaper companies. This is because, rather than giving the highlights by reading the headlines, broadcasters read the news in full by going into detail. Having listened to Eleti Ofe, Kalekako, Gbankogbii, Tifuntẹ̀dọ̀, Gbelegbọ́, Nje-​e-​ti-​gbo, etc. on the various FM Stations in Oyo State, for instance, nobody will care to buy even an English newspaper, let alone one printed in Yoruba. It is essential that only highlights of topical news items in the dailies should be read on radio and television so that listeners can be motivated to purchase the dailies to access details of the news. Technological innovations in printing and consumers’ technological incapacities also have negative effects on the fortune of Yoruba newspapers. With the Internet, most English newspapers have online versions. In fact, some companies have reduced their print run significantly, while others only publish online. Yoruba newspapers will perform better if they are published online, but this cannot occur because many of the primary readers do not possess the knowledge to surf the Internet. This is obviously a major challenge. All are enjoined to

182  Clement Adéníyí Àkángbé develop interest in reading and writing Yoruba as a matter of patriotism. If this is cultivated, there will be a surge in the growth and development of Yoruba, generally, and in Yoruba newspapers, specifically. Parents, in particular, are strongly advised to instruct their children and wards using the Yoruba language because change begins at home. Social media has also made the dissemination of information easier and prompt. The ubiquitous nature of social media and its easy-​to-​use setup have also made the service of printed Yoruba newspapers less desired. In fact, electronic media generally is putting print media into relegation. Many people prefer to read news online on their smart phones, tablets, or other devices. In his study on Yoruba photoplay magazines with Atọ́ka as a case study, Akangbe (2014) submitted that ‘perhaps the very last straw that broke the camel’s back was the home video that became a rave at the turn of the decade of the ‘90s. It was a novel medium which removed the stress of reading and finally nailed the coffin of Atoka photoplay magazine which ceased production in 1991’. The home video media suffocated not only Yoruba photoplay magazines, but all the Yoruba print media, including Yoruba newspapers and books. As part of the quest for growth, Yoruba language newspapers should also employ social media channels for reaching readers. This is essential because electronic media is exceptionally popular for information dissemination. For continued relevance, Yoruba language newspapers must flow with the technological tide. Apart from this, the newspapers should also adopt online versions. This will enable willing readers to access their choice publications via electronic devices. For old Yoruba newspapers, such as Iwe Irohin, Yoruba News, and Eleti Ofe, digitisation will preserve them and make them available for consultation by students, scholars, researchers, libraries and other interested individuals. Digitisation involves the conversion of printed documents to electronic files, thus sustaining and preserving them. For effective performance and productivity, training and retraining of staff and the workforce are essential. Regular training is a tonic for organisational growth, performance and productivity. It is highly recommended that Yoruba newspaper houses should emphasise the training of their editors, writers, graphic artists, photographers, compositors and other staff. It is also strongly recommended that state governments, through ministries of education, publishers and professional associations  –​like the Yoruba Studies Association of Nigeria, the Association of the Teachers of Yoruba Language and Culture of Nigeria, the Association of Yoruba Lecturers in Colleges of Education in Nigeria, the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), and the Linguistics Association of Nigeria (LAN)  –​ organise a series of creative and writing competitions for students in secondary schools. Through such competitions, new talents will be discovered, budding writers will be raised and new writings will spring up. Such talents so discovered will lead students to become publishers, editors, authors, artists and designers in the near future. Some of these professionals will be of tremendous benefit to the Yoruba language newspaper industry.

Sustaining African language newspapers  183

Conclusion It is obvious that the Yoruba newspaper industry is sick, but it is equally clear that it may never recover from its endemic ailment unless Yoruba speakers decide to actively engage their language in speaking and writing. It is pertinent, therefore, that government, schools, homes, institutions and individuals have a positive change of attitude toward the language by beginning to use it in a wide range of domains. Once this is done, Yoruba newspapers will recover and the entirety of Yoruba language and culture will regain its vitality since culture and language complement each other: language is a vehicle for culture, while culture is the tonic for language.

References Adebajo, O. 1997. “Ilo Yoruba Fun Ibanisoro ninu Iwe Iroyin Akoko Nile Naijiria:  Iwe Iroyin Fun Awon Ara Ẹ̀gba ati Yoruba.” Yoruba Gbode 2(1): 1–​22. Adebajo, O. 2007. “The Literary Works of Early Yoruba Writers (1848–​1938). 43rd Inaugural Lecture.” Ago-​Iwoye, Nigeria: Olabisi Onabanjo University. Adedeji, A.O. 2015. “Analysis of Use of English and Indigenous Languages by the Press in Selected African Countries.” Arabian Journal of Business and Management Review 4(8): 35–​45. Akangbe, C.A. 2014. “History, Production and Content of Atọ́ka Photoplay Magazine.” PhD diss., University of Ibadan, Nigeria. Akangbe, C.A. 2018. “The Form and Content of Obasa’s Weekly Newspaper:  Yoruba News.” Paper presented at the Toyin Falola @65 International Conference, Ibadan, Nigeria. Akangbe, C.A., and O.E. Igudia. 2013. “Inclusive Education and the Challenges of Publishing in Indigenous Languages in Nigeria.” Journal of Special Education 11(1): 105–​116. Akinyemi, A. 2017. “D.A. Obasa (1879 –​1945): A Yoruba Poet, Culture Activist and Local Intellectual in Colonial Nigeria.” Africa 87(1): 1–​15. Alabi, S. 2003. “The Development of Indigenous Language Publications.” In Issues in Nigerian Media History: 1900–​2000 A.D., edited by R. Akinfeleye and I. Okoye, 18–​30. Lagos, Nigeria: Malthouse Press Limited. Alabi, O.F. 2011. “Readership Pattern of Indigenous Language Newspapers Among Selected Nigerian.” Cross-​Cultural Communication 7(4): 121–​126. Bonvillain, N. 2000. Language, Culture and Communication:  The Meaning of Messages. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. Duyile, D. 1987. Makers of Nigerian Press. Lagos: Gong Communication (Nig.) Limited. Esimokha, G.A. 2011. Newspaper and Magazine: Editing, Production and Marketing. Lagos: Greater Achievers Communications. Federal Republic of Nigeria. 2004. National Policy on Education. Lagos: Federal Government Printers. Folarin, B., and J.B. Mohammed. 1996. “The Indigenous Language Press in Nigeria.” In Journalism in Nigeria:  Issues and Perspectives, edited by O. Dare and A. Uyo, 99–​112. Lagos: NUJ. Kalejaiye, O.J., O.A. Atofojomo, and A.T. Odunlami. 2006. History of Nigerian Mass Media. Lagos: Lagos State University.

184  Clement Adéníyí Àkángbé Kolawole, C.O., and E.O. Olabọ̀de. In press. “Curriculum Content as Panacea for the New Trends of Senior Secondary School Students in Yoruba Culture.” In New Trends in Yoruba Language, Literature and Culture: Festschrift in Honour of Professor Philip Adedotun Ogundeji @ 60, edited by O.C. Orimoogunje and C.A. Akangbe, 455–​458. Ibadan:  Ibadan Cultural Studies Group. Littlebear, R. 1999. “Some Rare and Radical Ideas for Keeping Indigenous Languages Alive.” In Revitalizing Indigenous Languages, edited by J. Reyhner, 1–​5. Flagstaff, AZ: Northern Arizona University Press. Nnabuihe, C., and I. Ikwubuzo. 2006. “A Peep into News Publications and Reading Culture in Igbo Language.” In Indigenous Language Media in Africa, edited by A. Salawu, 42–​60. Lagos: Concept Publications. Ojetola, O.O. 2014. “Effects of Two ICT Based strategies on Academic achievement and attitude of NCE Distance Learning Students in Yoruba Orthography.” Paper presented at the Joint Staff/​Higher Degree Students Seminar, Department of Teacher Education, Faculty of Education, University of Ibadan. Omojuyigbe, D. 2004. The Press and Language Usage. Lagos: New Deo Communications. Omoloso, A.I., and A. Abdulrauf-​Salau. 2014. “Indigenous Language Newspapers in Nigeria from 1914–​2013: A Review.” Paper presented at the Amalgamation National Conference of the Department of Political Science & Department of History and International Studies, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University, Lapai, Niger State, Nigeria. Omu, F.I.A. 1978. Press and Politics in Nigeria, 1880–​1937. London: Longman. Osunnuga, O. In press. “A Survey of the Content and Column of Contemporary Yoruba Newspapers.“ In New Trends in Yoruba Language, Literature and Culture: Festschrift in Honour of Professor Philip Adedotun Ogundeji @ 60, edited by O. C. Orimoogunje and C. A. Akangbe. Ibadan: Ibadan Cultural Studies Group. Salawu, A.S. 2004. “The Yoruba and their Language Newspapers:  Origin, Nature, Problems and Prospects.” Kamla-​Raj Stud. Tribes Tribals 2(2): 97–​104. Uyo, O.A. 1987. Mass Communication Media: Clarifications and Characteristics. New York: Civiletis International. West, Richard, Jr. 2006. Native Language Preservation: A Reference Guide for Establishing Archives and Repositories. Washington, DC:  Administration for Native Americans. http://​www.​our-​stories/​docs/​NativeLanguagePreservationReferenceGuide.pdf

Part IV

Towards quality African language journalism development  

11  The significance of African storytelling in journalism Wendpanga Eric Segueda and David Anderson Hooker

Introduction It has been said that ‘journalism is the first rough draft of history’.1 If so, not only the content but also the models of storytelling within journalistic communities matter. Certain models of storytelling that have become central to the genre of news writing, and that are characterized as universal and globally appropriate, are more accurately understood as models aligned with Western approaches to storytelling. African languages and cultural practices, on the other hand, have been suppressed by Western influence and pressures, eventually leading to their neglect in contemporary African education. Dealing especially with journalism, Murphy and Scotton (1987) write: ‘dependency theorists have argued about the inappropriateness of Western models of professional standards for Third World journalism’. Similarly, Shaw (2009) argues that the Western journalistic model has hindered ‘the theorization of journalistic precepts that have evolved locally in most countries of the developing world’ (491). While African societies had their own structures of information diffusion long before the influence of the Western model, African media in general, and African language media especially, do not attribute much importance to African storytelling features. In this contribution, we argue that every attempt should be made to continue in the African post-​colonial turn by having African journalists tell African stories in the various African culturally specific ways. Citing a translated version of an argument from Mikhail Bakhtin, Narayan (1997) states: Language becomes ‘one’s own’ only when the speaker populates it with her own intention, her own accent, when she appropriates the world, adopting it to her own semantic and expressive intention. Prior to this moment of appropriation, the word does not exist in a neutral and impersonal language … but rather it exists in other people’s mouths, in other peoples’ contexts, serving other peoples’ intentions. … Expropriating, forcing it to submit to one’s own intentions and accents, is a difficult and complicated process. (2)

188  Wendpanga Eric Segueda et al. It is exactly the undertaking of this ‘difficult and complicated process’ that is needed by, and on behalf of, African journalists for the news and all future ‘drafts of history’ to give life to the multifaceted experiences of present-​day Africans in ways that contribute to the full flourishing of Africans within a framework of values that are of benefit to Africa and its people. We present this case in three parts. In the first section, we offer a brief summary of some of the many theories that demonstrate the interconnections between stories, narratives and the formation, stability and evolution or transformation of culture. In section 2, using the Moore culture of Burkina Faso as an example, we highlight the ways of knowing and meaning-​making embedded in culturally-​specific modes of storytelling. In the final section, we discuss the centrality of journalism and media to the decolonial process and again argue for a more concerted effort  –​among modern African journalists and news outlets  –​to adopt and embrace more culturally specific models of journalism.

Knowledge is cultural Due to its obviousness and the ubiquitous nature of its implications, an important fact is often overlooked:  all knowledge is cultural. Knowledge, the results of the process of meaning-​making, occurs within a context often shaped by commonly shared ontologies and epistemologies (Kommers and Venbrux 2008). The thinking and meaning-​making patterns that result from a commonly held set of ontologies and epistemologies is what is often described as ‘common sense’. Common sense and aesthetic assessment of what is considered beautiful, moral and good are best understood as cultural systems that shape moral imagination (Geertz 2000). Even mathematics can be understood as a cultural system (Smorynski 1983). Following Vygotsky (1966), we make the point that, in normal cognitive and developmental processes, children acquire knowledge and identity through practical experiences and the adoption of pre-​existing concepts. The bounds of the pre-​existing concepts define the child’s culture. Cultural knowledge systems are constructed and transmitted with locally intelligible symbols, each of which are shot through with the power regimes of that cultural context. Culture, then, ultimately can be understood as the ways that one group organizes its significative world and power arrangements as compared to other groups (Geertz 2000, 151). One important practice that is popular in many cultures for transmitting pre-​existing concepts is through the use of proverbs, folklore, rituals, traditional stories, myths and wisdom sayings. Proverbs A proverb is the horse that can carry one swiftly to the discovery of  ideas.

(Yoruba proverb) In most African countries there exist a series of proverbs and folk sayings that carry the values and wisdom of that people. While some wisdom sayings

African storytelling in journalism  189 are widely understood, other expressions are specifically intended to convey a local worldview. The proverbs are most often spoken, yet they can also be represented in drumming and music and symbolized in woven textile patterns and other material forms (Asiming-​Boahene 2010). In every sphere of African life, culture is preserved, reproduced and sustained through the repetition of proverbs, folktales, myths, wisdom sayings and other such forms. Proverbs often serve as morals to stories and constitute the types of master narratives that provide form to cultures. African proverbs serve as a foundation and repository of social knowledge and are the foundation of social and cultural wisdom (Asimeng-​Boahene 2009). There are ways that journals reproduce dominance hierarchies (Asimeng-​Boahene 2013) and ways that they expand global learning and commitments to social justice (Asiming-​Boahene 2010). We argue here that proverbs and other models of knowledge-​sharing and culture-​making can be significant contributors to the process of African post-​colonial identity formation and, therefore, should be regarded as central to African journalistic endeavours. The role of language in creating and representing culture Cultural structures are embedded with implicit and explicit lines of force and power. The lines of power often amount to modes of social dominance in which one social group experiences privileged access to important societal resources, such as income, status, wealth, group significance and knowledge. Van Dijk (1993) has observed that, special access to various genres, forms or contexts of discourse and communication is also an important power resource. Power involves control, namely by (members of) one group over (those of) other groups. Such control may pertain to action and cognition: that is, a powerful group may limit the freedom of action of others, but also influence their minds. (254–​255) In this chapter, we are particularly interested in how certain models of storytelling in written news media potentially control, or even manipulate, the minds of readers. It is important to recognize that power does not always occur in the form of coercion or force and will be imposed on one group by another: On the contrary, in many situations, and sometimes paradoxically, power and even power abuse may seem ‘jointly produced’, e.g. when dominated groups are persuaded, by whatever means, that dominance is ‘natural’ or otherwise legitimate. Thus, although an analysis of strategies of resistance and challenge is crucial for our understanding of actual power and dominance relations in society, and although such an analysis needs to be included in a broader theory of power, counter-​power and discourse, [a critical discourse

190  Wendpanga Eric Segueda et al. analysis] approach prefers to focus on the elites and their discursive strategies for the maintenance of inequality. (van Dijk 2006) Our primary concern is the ways in which the normalization of European modes of storytelling serves as an unwitting mechanism through which African journalists reproduce and, at the same time, conceal the ongoing dominance of Eurocentric modes of thought in the production and distribution of knowledge. Although no effort is made in this chapter to specifically conduct a formal critical discourse analysis of any particular news story, our approach to analysing African journalism is directly informed by critical discourse analysis theory, especially van Dijk’s (1998) ideological square, a multidisciplinary approach that views ideologies as cognitive mappings that compose social beliefs used by individuals and groups to understand themselves and other social groups. As we argue herein, the mode of storytelling formed by and for Eurocentric audiences contains mental models that do not fully support decoloniality or, ultimately, African liberation. Proverbs and art forms make recognizable efforts at conveying values, but it is also the case that language and syntax are deeply embedded with cultural significance. It is important to recognize the roles of language in the creation and maintenance of culture. In the next section, we discuss specific aspects of language  –​syntax, story, narrative, master narrative and narrative habitus  –​with special focus on how journalists rely on these in their work. Lotman’s theory states that ‘no language can exist unless it is steeped in the context of culture; and no culture can exist which does not have at its centre, the structure of natural language’ (Lotman and Uspensky 1978). In the same way, de Saussure (1959) presents two principles of language in relation to the production and reproduction of culture: a. ‘[L]‌anguage is a system of interdependent terms in which the value of each term results solely from the simultaneous presence of others’. b. ‘Contrary to all appearances, language never exists apart from the social facts, for it is a semiological phenomenon. Its social nature is one of its inner characteristics’. (112–​114) Language and syntax are the building blocks for stories, narratives and master narratives, which are the primary mechanisms for the transmission of cultural knowledge. Therefore, the appropriation of particular narrative strategies will shape personal and group identification. To further refine this point, it is important to make a distinction between the stories people tell, the narrative forms that contain those stories and the master narratives that embed themselves in, and in certain ways form, specific cultures. The terms ‘story’ and ‘narrative’ are often used interchangeably, but we see an important distinction that highlights their significance.

African storytelling in journalism  191 Distinctions –​stories, narratives, master narratives and narrative habitus Although the concepts of story and narrative are often used interchangeably, it is important to understand the distinctions between them to highlight the impacts that journalists have on societal formation. Here, we briefly consider those distinctions and introduce the concepts of master narrative and narrative habitus to demonstrate the ways that journalism can contribute to identity formation, as well as how and whether the stories told will resonate with the potential audience. Halverson, Goodall and Corman (2011) offer what we believe are important and vital distinctions between the concepts of story, narrative and master narrative: A story is a particular ‘sequence of related events situated in the past that is recounted for a rhetorical or ideological reason’ (14). Regardless of genre –​ news, fairy tale, fiction  –​all share similar structural integrity. Story forms include desired endings; when these endings don’t materialize, people are often driven to act in extreme ways to bring about the desired ending. A narrative is ‘a coherent system of interrelated and sequentially organized stories that share a common rhetorical desire to resolve conflict by establishing audience expectations according to known trajectories of its literary and rhetorical form’ (14, emphasis in original). Not all conflicts are resolved, but the desire to do so drives the narrative trajectory. A master narrative is ‘deeply embedded in a culture, provides a pattern for cultural life and social structure, and creates a framework for communication about what people are expected to do in certain situations’ (7). It is a ‘transhistorical narrative that is deeply embedded in a particular culture’ (15). It is master narratives that allow people to make sense and organize their understanding of events in the present and to connect information in the present to information from the past. Master narratives serve as the basis for understanding appropriate action to take in each circumstance and to project towards a specific future. (7, 13–​14, emphasis added) Journalists do their work in spoken and written form by telling stories. For audiences to make sense of the stories, the stories themselves conform to well-​ known narrative and master narrative forms. When the narrative forms for news sharing are drawn from the Westernized cannon of acceptable forms, it is almost inevitable that the forms will also draw on Westernized, or at least non-​African, master narratives. It is the collection and interrelation of master narratives, characterized by Arthur Frank (2010) as the narrative habitus, that undergird culture and establish cultural context. One place where modern authentic representation is needed and should be possible is in the representation of the current African experience and condition as articulated in various news media. The forms of storytelling are not

192  Wendpanga Eric Segueda et al. inconsequential. The argument is not simply that stories told in an African way are somehow more authentic or relatable; rather, there is a power of a story, when resting on foundations of culturally affirming narratives and master narratives, to create space for the full flourishing of capabilities in ways that honour the values and possibilities of African people. The collective narratives and master narratives that act as the foundation and containers of particular cultures are what might be called its narrative habitus. Narrative habitus In Language and Symbolic Power, Pierre Bourdieu (1991) presents the concept of the habitus as a set of symbols and ideas that incline people to think and act in specific ways. It is habitus, according to Bourdieu, that shapes class distinctions, including aesthetics, fashions, desires, morals and political discourses, which are sometimes also described as ‘ideologies’. Particular logics, values and norms are embedded in particular ways of speaking, which are indicative of the occupation of certain stations in society. Class distinctions are often marked in a society by the capacity to proficiently produce the discourse associated with each class. In this way, Bourdieu (1991) notes, the dominated classes often seek to imitate the dominating classes (83). While Bourdieu’s analysis was focused on class distinctions in Europe, the same patterns attain among the colonized peoples of Africa. The successful articulation of the discourses of the dominating forces (colonisers) would make, at least one often hoped, the integration into the society of the dominator more possible  –​and if not integration into, then at least manoeuvring through. The adoption of speaking forms and storytelling modes would become important for material and symbolic success within conditions of domination. Habitus is internalized to establish one’s ‘position in the field’ or identity. Creativity is possible within the limits prescribed by the habitus. Following Bourdieu, Frank (2010) describes a narrative habitus as having certain core elements: knowing a corpus of stories, feeling comfortable telling and hearing certain stories (and not others), and sharing with others a sense of where the story is likely to lead. The issue is not only expectations for how plots develop in stories, but also expectations for how people ought to emplot their lives (Frank 2010, 195). The narrative habitus structures individuals’ narratives and narrative identities. It sustains and motivates action in two ways: narratives may be habitual, as ongoing rationalizations for behaviours, or evaluations may take place through narrative. Finally, narrative doxa pertaining to fields structure how stories are received, including notions of truth (Frank 2010). For journalists, adopting the narratives and discursive forms of a dominating class is not an inconsequential choice. Narratives are powerful, and their power is tricky. They can illuminate, manipulate, inspire, entertain, blame, seduce or provide an alibi. Narratives are never neutral; their very nature is strategic. There is no narrative that is devoid of strategy. Narrative is a rendering of events, actions and characters in a certain way for a certain purpose. The purpose is persuasion, and the method is identification (Maan 2015).

African storytelling in journalism  193 ‘He who is bitten by a snake fears the lizard’ (Ugandan proverb) Language and syntax never exist apart from social facts. The ways that language and syntax are utilized to tell stories represent expressions of specific cultural values. The values are drawn from and representative of culturally embedded, transhistorical master narratives. The narrative habitus in which news is presented and received shapes the sense of belonging by connecting historical patterns of knowing and being to the present, and by connecting the present representations to the body of knowledge. To do so in ways that create space for the full post-​ colonial flourishing of Africans, news forms should adopt narratives, syntax and story forms that draw from the specific wells of cultural resources of the people for whom and to whom those representations are made (i.e. consumers of news). While this seems to be a logical conclusion, these ideas are strongly contested. The contestation occurs not so much in Western spaces, which utilize traditional Western models of storytelling, but more so in African journalistic environments where the debate rages between the adaptation of Western modes and the insertion of story models based on Africa-​affirming master narratives. In the next section, we discuss a particular African storytelling form of the Moaaga people of Burkina Faso to identify the ways that Western story forms fail to convey culturally significant information vital to people’s understanding of current conditions.

African cultural storytelling from the perspective of journalism in the Moaaga society The strength of the elderly is in the ears and on the lips.

(Burkinabè proverb) In suggesting that African approaches to journalism need to be strengthened, it is important to understand African ways of diffusing information. We take the example of the Moaaga society in Burkina Faso to first show how information structures were organised, and then demonstrate the typical method of storytelling in this society. Methodology The findings of this paper are based on qualitative research. For the purposes of this research, in-​depth personal interviews were conducted with participants in Burkina Faso, comprising cultural persons and practitioners of journalism in Burkinabè languages. These interviews were interpreted in the socio-​cultural context of the society with which this study is concerned. Furthermore, a literature review complements the results of the interviews. Aside from academic literature, we also reviewed African literature to understand the ways that African proverbs, myths, wisdom sayings and traditional stories can

194  Wendpanga Eric Segueda et al. be integrated in more conventional ways of literary storytelling. This helps to gain perspectives on how African ways of storytelling can be used in journalistic productions. ‘Kibaya’ or ‘koɛɛse’: news or information in Moore Moore is a language spoken in Burkina Faso. It was originally the language of the population group, the ‘Moose’.2 The profession of ‘journalist’ in Moaaga society was related to musical instruments and was the duty of the yυυma,3 called griots. There are two categories of yυυma, as the bɛnd naaba in Gounghin explained in an interview. This participant is the ‘information minister’ of the Moog Naaba, the emperor of the Moose. ‘General news about city life was the responsibility of the “yυυma”, who used instruments such as “gãngãogo” and “lυnga”. But if the griot diffuses information using the instrument, “bɛndre”, it means that he is giving information from the royal court’ (see Figure 11.1).4 As bɛnda, or bɛnd, is the plural form of bɛndre, the bɛnd naaba in Gounghin means the head of the information system in the royal court. Both categories of staff took their profession seriously. ‘In general, before the “yυυma” diffuse any information, they first discuss whether it should be spread. If yes, they determine together the aspects to give out and the appropriate narrative form depending on the type of information’, the bɛnd naaba in Gounghin explained. However, he noted a difference between the processes of distributing information from the royal court and general information. The former enjoyed greater seriousness in its treatment and diffusion. It went through a strict official process within a limited circle that decided whether information should be issued or not: ‘This involved news about private affairs of the royal family, public issues of the kingdom, as well as inter-​kingdom issues, such as trade and conflicts’, explained the bɛnd naaba in Gounghin. Even the relay of this information between the yυυma, who were responsible for dispensing information from the royal court, did not lead to their distortion. By contrast, announcing general information was the purview of the second category of yυυma, who issued notices about things happening in the city:  feasts, burglaries, lightning injuries, conflicts between herders and farmers, etc.




Figure 11.1 Photographs of Gãngãogo, lυnga and bɛndre instruments.

African storytelling in journalism  195 The notions of koɛɛse and kibaya emerged from the difference between these information processes. The most used terminology by newspapers and broadcasting in Moore is ‘kibaya’. It is common to hear on the radio phrases like ‘tond tenga, la zamaan zens kibaya’, which means ‘national and international news’. Kibaya is the plural form of ‘kibare’, which means ‘news’ and can be used in relation to a person (the news about someone) or in relation to occurrences or events. This second usage takes us to the activity of journalism in the sense that the yυυma were gathering and diffusing information about events and occurrences. Kibaya therefore refers to the retrieval, the constitution of and the relay of information. Information conveyed by the second category of yυυma, however, is prone to distortion: the first griot giving information might report it correctly. But when other griots relay that information in public places, such as markets and taverns, it eventually gets distorted. The message is no longer the same; the names change and little authenticity remains.5 ‘Koɛɛse’ also means news or information. In contrast to kibaya, it refers to the kind of information from a given person or authority to be issued without comments and generally using the wording agreed upon with the person or authority. Koɛɛse mostly came from an authority, especially the royal court. It also came from private entities or individuals who could contact a yυυma for an announcement. The difference is that koɛɛse issued from authority were diffused by a yυυma using a ‘bɛndre’, and due to the rigor and threat of sanctions in this information system category, the news from authorities were transmitted exactly as agreed. By contrast, the announcements from private entities or individuals were diffused by ordinary yυυma, using any percussion instrument except the bɛndre. Koɛɛse is the plural form of ‘koɛɛga’, meaning ‘the voice’ in both literal and figurative senses. Here again, the notion of information is based on the second sense. The reflection on these concepts highlights their etymology and their connotation in the profession of the yυυma in Moaaga society. But it also shows some similarities with contemporary universal journalism. In fact, it distinguishes neutral and factual formats, such as news and reports, from judgmental ones where the personal speculations and perspectives of the journalist –​such as commentaries, columns or features –​are allowed. Making the parallel with contemporary journalistic rules, Jimas Sanwidi noted in an interview that koɛɛse tries to address the ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘where’ and ‘when’ questions in a neutral way with reference mostly to official sources, whereas kibaya go beyond these aspects and touch upon the ‘how’ and ‘why’. Storytelling The categories of information described above require a certain narrative strategy in their diffusion, and this leads us to deal with storytelling. Storytelling in the Moaaga society is similar to most African ways of telling stories. This is why

196  Wendpanga Eric Segueda et al. many authors who dealt with the topic generally speak about ‘African Storytelling’ (Achebe 1958; Thiong’o 1964; Soyinka 1978; Kouyate 1989; Mandela 2002; Alidou 2002). Like the yυυma in the Moaaga society, storytellers in African societies were highly educated people, especially in the history of their region and beyond. It was a culturally transmitted activity, thus they had been initiated since their childhood and trained in the verbal use of proverbs and riddles as well as musical and memory performances (Achebe 1958; Chinyowa 2000; Vambe 2001). Setting out the typical characteristics of storytelling, whether for koɛɛse or kibaya, the bɛnd naaba in Gounghin points out that a story always has a head, a body and a cue, formally expressed as the introduction, body and conclusion. The musical aspect is reflected throughout all three parts of the story: ‘Before starting to speak, the yυυma plays the instrument. Besides catching the attention of people, the sound of the instrument also makes the origin of the information clear’, the bɛnd naaba in Gounghin stresses. The instrument’s sound and songs were also used from time to time in between the narration of the yυυma. Doing so, he gave a signal to people, who had not been there at the beginning, so that they could join the audience. Depending on the mood of the information, the audience sang or clapped their hands to accompany the storyteller’s service. Repetition was also part of a rhetorical style of Moose storytellers. Classified in the contemporary classical literature studies as ‘figure of amplification’ (Burton 2015), this was observed mainly in the body of the story. It contributed to draw the audience’s attention on important details. The yυυma sometimes even brought listeners to repeat with him some words, expressions or phrases as participants in the storytelling. This dynamic and dialectic interaction was not only a strategy to ensure concentration, but also enabled the yυυma to maintain the central theme as the story unfolded. Another characteristic that was found throughout the whole story is the use of formulaic means, such as proverbs, myths, parables, images, symbols, humour, excerpts from tales and even historical occurrences. In fact, the typical storytelling does not go straight to the point; rather, it uses some of these elements to introduce the topic or the subject line. Depending on the type of information, the yυυma uses one or another element: ‘You do not start a story just like that’, the bɛnd naaba in Gounghin says ironically, explaining that, in the introduction, these formulaic elements give an idea of the expected type of information and prepare the audience to receive the information. In the body of the story, they enhance the weight of the subject, enrich its content and make it more relevant to their listeners. Used in the conclusion, these elements constitute a neat end, reminding the audience of the collective wisdom and responsibility or proposing a life lesson.

The importance of African modes of storytelling in journalism One hundred slides do not prevent the tortoise from entering the pond.

(Burkinabè Proverb)

African storytelling in journalism  197 Based on the example of information diffusion in the Moore society, it is clear that African societies have a long history of what today is called ‘journalism’. If modern journalism in African countries does not consider their own historical experiences, this is partly due to colonisation and to the assertion of a one-​way world system. The evolution of African ways of knowing and doing have been interrupted, even punished, giving place to externally driven systems, including African information strategies that could not evolve freely and contemporarily. On the other hand, the fact that journalism in African countries does not tap into their own peoples’ experiences and heritage is also a lack of will. Ndung’u Ndegwa regrets that, like most African cultures, storytelling has died a gradual and natural death (British Broadcasting Corporation 2004). After many years of independence, should African countries not rethink their paths? The dire situation of African language media today In discussing the relevance of African storytelling in contemporary journalism, the aim is not to negate the conventional or universal form of storytelling in journalism. Rather, the purpose is to argue for adopting peoples’ own narrative techniques as a way to make African language journalism more attractive. In fact, it is difficult for journalistic production in African languages, especially newspapers, to emerge, and many of them have disappeared. Salawu (2006a, 2006b) explains that only a few newspapers in African languages in South Africa have survived, and in Ghana, none of them exist anymore. In Burkina Faso, according to the Publisher’s Association in National Languages (AEPJLN), there are still seventeen newspapers that publish in Burkinabè languages.6 But their situation is dire. During a recent meeting, the AEPJLN explained that the newspapers experience difficulties publishing regularly (LeFaso Net 2018). While the costs of production and transport and the payment of employees is a challenge for profitability, the operators, who were interviewed for this article, point out that the real challenge is that people do not have enough interest to buy these newspapers and are not interested in their online offers. None of these seventeen newspapers tells stories based on the model of storytelling of their local language. In the opinion of Sibidi Dianou, Editor-​in-​Chief of Tin Tua,7 this is the main reason why they are not experiencing good results. He argues that the lack of interest in newspapers in Burkinabè languages is largely due to the products. ‘There is nothing new or different from the newspapers in the French language’, he says, criticising that the reading of an African language article feels strange if it is written in French rhetorical style. However, every culture has its own way of storytelling, the methods and modes of which are informed by cultural particularities. The telling of stories in narrative structures that do not align with the cultures of the stories’ intended audience is subversively disruptive. In such cases, one prefers reading the newspaper in French right away, as some readers of newspapers in Burkinabè languages confess.8 Indeed, the Western mode of storytelling, which is simply transferred into African languages, does not match the ‘African ears and feelings’;

198  Wendpanga Eric Segueda et al. the local cultural spirit is not there, and the resulting journalistic output feels artificial to them. Sibidi Dianou confirms that readers have these kinds of expectations when reading a newspaper in their own language, hence, the necessity to adapt the storytelling to the predisposition of its audience. In doing so, the readers, listeners and viewers would realize that the narrative is not amiss, but a creative one that is inspired from their culture and history. This could instigate people, even if just for the emotional attachment to their culture, to get interested in the product. It is just like the pleasure that someone gets from reading a well-​written book. Shaping contemporary journalism in the ‘African mode’ of storytelling The mother is there, so is the child. Now all we need is the rain.

(Burkinabè Proverb) In every kind of publication, storytelling plays an important role. This is especially so in contemporary journalism. Scott Rensberger, a highly awarded journalist, points out that –​regardless of new technologies or new forms of production available to reporters nowadays  –​journalists must remember that the story ‘is still everything’ (Scott 2016). While this is certainly true, much more impressive and important is when the story is conceived using cultural narrative methods. As Mark Turner (1996) argues, humans did not start telling stories to enhance the language; it is, rather, language that was developed accordingly for storytelling. This means that the cultural way of telling a story is intrinsically embedded in the language. And yet, professional (i.e. journalistic) storytelling is taken to be universal. Criteria for structuring articles have been set and taught as conventional around the world. Even journalism in African languages is practiced in these conventional storytelling methods. However, there are differences in the ways a story is structured and narrated. The technique of drafting a story in conventional journalism is different from African storytelling methods. The rule stipulates that the journalist should, in the lede, get quickly and directly to the substance of the topic (Dorn 2015). The lede is the first sentence, usually written as one paragraph and enunciating the most important information of the story. This rule especially concerns journalistic formats, such as ‘news’ and ‘reports’, and aims to quickly sum up what happened. In other words, the lede should answer the four ‘W’s:  Who, What, When and Where. The ‘Why’ is sometimes included, but there is no place for the ‘How’ or other ‘W’ questions. This approach is different from Moose storytelling, which feels no hurry to jump quickly or directly into the core of the information. The drawback of the Moose way of storytelling is that the audience does not get the central information quickly. It may guess the issue, depending on the music and formulaic means used in the introduction, but the precise information will not be given in the first

African storytelling in journalism  199 sentence, nor even in the second or third. The audience must be patient. By contrast, this is the point where the conventional rule can be considered more practical and fair with the audience, who can quickly get to the substantial part of the information and decide to keep on reading or listening, or to give up. However, a major drawback of conventional storytelling is that the so-​called ‘most important information’ in the lede is incomplete. The four or five Ws do not circumscribe a context enough to provide the full picture of the information. Consumers, who therefore confine themselves to this sequence of the information, do not get the background, which is essential for a broader understanding. A survey from the US news website Slate (Manjoo 2016) shows that online readers do not even scroll through the page but settle for the first lines of articles. Thus, most readers rashly form their own opinion just from the information provided in the lede. This can lead to misinformation, as readers know only half-​stories and half-​truths. Moose storytelling cares about describing a context from the very beginning of the story, through an instrument’s sound, a song or formulaic means, like proverbs, myths and riddles. In contemporary journalism, the use of instruments and song would be possible in African language audio-​visual media. While one might argue that, if print media is a dying medium, audio-​visual media –​like podcasts and radio –​are still in high demand. In oral performance, which is the reference in African languages’ storytelling, the formulaic methods are embedded throughout the story in an appropriate and logical way. So the African model of storytelling is, without any doubt, well suited to radio. Formulaic means, however, match all types of media, and newspapers especially can harken back to them. For example, it is common practice in African languages to introduce a story with a proverb, a riddle or an anecdote. They are usually articulated in an unfinished way so that listeners are enticed to remain attentive to the end. Such a procedure could be a feasible approach in African language print and online media. This style corresponds to the African linguistic customs and helps journalistic products gain more authenticity, and therefore more attractiveness, in the written language. These have already been successfully exploited in Anglophone and Francophone African literature. Some famous references are the Nigerian, Chinua Achebe (Ogede 2001), and the Ivorian, Ahmadou Kourouma (Tijani 2004). Why not in African language journalism? Doing so, newspapers in African languages would even more efficiently fulfil their functions of information, education and entertainment. This is also what the bɛnd naaba de Gounghin says. Interestingly, these functions are common to both African modes of storytelling and conventional practice of journalism. The 2016 revised BBC Royal Charter, for instance, clearly points out their mission to ‘inform, educate and entertain’ (Department for Culture, Media and Sport 2006). Some sources even stress another function –​transmitting cultural heritage (Ohiagu and Okorie 2014). To successfully accomplish these functions, it is more effective for media to use the respective cultural particularities. There is another reason why the African way of storytelling should be promoted in African journalism. Mainstream media in African countries, especially

200  Wendpanga Eric Segueda et al. newspapers, are delivered in the languages inherited from colonization: English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. They provide easy access to all current information. Newspapers in African languages, in contrast, are few. This means that, if someone searches and consumes African language media, they must have a particular interest in that very publication; they are looking for something that the mainstream media cannot give. The first and banal thing is that readers seek to encounter cultural traits in publications with which they can identify. Most people feel emotion when encountering books or articles, real-​life experiences or places that they know. To find one’s own cultural profile in journalism makes a person feel appreciated –​and makes African culture more valued. The cultural features can be formulaic means, such as proverbs, myths, symbols, humour and excerpts from tales that are integrated in the journalistic text. The cultural aspects can also be life-​lessons at the end of the story: no matter the kind of information, African storytellers always end up on a moral. The call for the consideration of African modes of storytelling, beyond the sustainability of the media in African languages, aims at revisiting people’s own culture. It gives the possibility to always find a way for contextualising the information. Moreover, it allows information of good quality to be presented in the proper spirit of the language. This is why Sibidi Dianou, from the Gulimancema newspaper, Tin Tua, is convinced that ‘it is high time to get inspired from our own cultural storytelling’. From a practical perspective, to let African journalism speak to an African audience, and to allow an African journalist narrative to evolve, journalistic training in Africa needs to be reformed. It needs to look more towards linguistic and stylistic devices in African languages. Training modules must include the cultural background of the attended audience, and teach students how this background can and should be integrated into journalistic practice.

Conclusion Not Everyone Who Chased the Zebra Caught it, but he Who Caught it, Chased it.

(South African Proverb) To make a society one’s own, it is important to make the language itself one’s own, and the modes of storytelling should be drawn from the wellspring of culturally affirming master narratives and a narrative habitus that has at its centre the full flourishing of modern African societies. Among the most important locales to begin the difficult and complex task is in the process of writing and telling today’s first draft of tomorrow’s African history. In this chapter, we show that we need African ways of storytelling to do just that. From a practical perspective, we have used the example of the Moose’s ways of storytelling to demonstrate concretely what this means for journalistic practice. In his classic study, A Dying Colonialism, Frantz Fanon (1965) dedicates an extended section to the discussion of the role that radio news, particularly Radio

African storytelling in journalism  201 France, played in the subjugation of the Algerian mind and the equally vital role that a newly constituted Radio Algeria could play in the decolonisation of the mind and liberation of the people. It was important, argued Fanon, for Algerians to hear the happenings not only in a language, but also in forms, that comported with their understanding of themselves as liberated agents. In the same way that news forms were used for domination, they would need to be appropriated for national and personal development. Although several generations have been born since the original African Liberation movements of the 1960s, there is a continuing need to untether the evolving African narrative from its colonial past as a way of supporting full and more culturally authentic representations. ‘Cultures are collections of key stories that are passed along to each new generation to which each subsequent generation adds on new material’ (Halverson, Goodall, and Corman 2011, 16). If narrative, the ‘power of telling,’ is intimately intertwined with language, with the capacity and possibility to speak, representation can be called ‘the power of looking’ and can be associated with the capacity to see and the possibility to make visible. The questions of who can speak to whom, as well as the issue of who can make visible, is thus central. (Alexander et al. 2004, 69) At this juncture in the continuing push for full decolonization, there is an urgent need for African journalism to be conducted in African languages when possible and feasible but, at the very least, in African modes of storytelling. African journalism exists as a major enterprise in the decolonial project in which African people can claim and reclaim their authority as agents central to the definition of their own past and their own destiny. Journalism is both the first rough draft of history and a model for telling the future. The visibility of the African as agent of their own self-​determination, both to themselves and to the world, may first be experienced in the reporting of today’s news.

Notes 1 Although it is unclear who was the first to say or write this phrase, several sources have been identified. 2 It is the plural form of ‘Moaaga’. The Moose people constitute the largest ethnic group in Burkina Faso. 3 Yυυma refers to people who diffuse information using a musical instrument. They are storytellers, oral historians and singers. In the past, this was a familial profession. Yυυma is mostly referred to as ‘griot’ in English and in French. 4 Gãngãogo, lυnga and bɛndre are musical instruments. Since there are no equivalent names in English, the pictures give an idea of what they look like. 5 Interview with Jul Martin Sanwidi (alias Jimas Sanwidi), a cultural scientist and popular artist from Burkina Faso. 6 They are mostly in Moore, Diula, Sissala, Gulimancema and Fulfulde and are all published every three or four months, as there is not enough demand to publish them more frequently.

202  Wendpanga Eric Segueda et al. 7 Meaning ‘Let’s develop ourselves’ in Gulimancema, Tin Tua is a non-​governmental development organization working in the region of Gulmu in eastern Burkina Faso. One of its activities is the publishing of a newspaper in Gulimancema. 8 Interviews with readers of newspapers in Burkinabè languages.

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12  African language journalism in Ghana and the quest for quality and sustainable broadcast journalism An investigation of Peace FM Ufuoma Akpojivi and Modestus Fosu

Introduction The broadcasting system of Ghana, particularly radio, falls within the general broadcast media trends in Sub-​Saharan Africa (Myers 2008). From its inception in Africa in the early 1900s, radio, as an agency for broadcasting news, has been acknowledged as the most accessible and cost-​effective medium of mass communication (Blankson 2005; Karikari 1994). As a matter of fact, radio has remained one of the most powerful and influential tools for mobilising people and galvanising actions towards various purposes and interests, and scholars such as Salawu (2006) and Karikari (1994) have espoused its indispensable role in African societies. Karikari (1994) argued that radio holds the key to the cohesion and development of our society. This observation could not be truer than now. It is within this understanding that we discuss indigenous language broadcasting in Ghana, focusing on radio. We frame the topic in relation to issues of quality journalism, professionalism and sustainability, and we conceptualise ‘indigenous media/​journalism’ in terms of language use and content or message. Thus, in this study, ‘indigenous media/​journalism’ refers to the use of a language the indigenous people speak, understand and can relate to socio-​culturally to share content that reflects and impacts their immediate circumstances. In Ghana, modern technology-​ driven broadcasting began with the radio in 1935. As extensively documented, radio was introduced by the British colonialists to partner with their printed press to continue and entrench their imperialist agenda of control over the colonised territory of present-​day Ghana. Broadcasting, then, was thus a politically controlled medium to push propaganda that satisfied established authority and order. With independence in 1957, the same trend persisted. The indigenous government, led by Dr Kwame Nkrumah, strongly controlled Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), which happened to be the only broadcasting outlet in the country, and exploited it as the mouthpiece of the government. Until the early 1990s, successive governments, mostly military and pseudo-​military, monopolised broadcasting, implying that there was little

African language journalism in Ghana  205 freedom for the broadcast media, as was the case with the printed press. Although the 1992 Constitution of the Fourth Republic of Ghana provided for freedom of the media and of expression, it was not until the mid-​2000s that the liberalization and deregulation of the media was largely operationalised to free the airwaves for private participation. The deregulation of the media in Ghana and other parts of the continent from the early 1990s engendered popular positive effusions about how, especially, radio could contribute to socio-​political participation. The relatively low cost and ubiquitous nature of radio positions it more than any other media form to provide public spaces for media consumption and dialogue. Radio allows more voices to be heard on pertinent issues affecting ordinary people, and through that, it enables people’s participation in decision-​making regarding common interests and destinies. Consequently, there have been various studies on radio in Africa written from different perspectives. Many of these works investigated the real or potential developmental role radio can play in African societies (Salawu and Chibita 2016; Karikari 1994). In fact, Salawu and Chibita’s edited book provides an in-​depth analysis of indigenous language broadcasting and its political and democratic ramifications across many African countries. Fosu and Akpojivi (2015) discuss how radio serves as a convergence point of newspapers, panellists and audiences through phone-​ins to enhance participation in the socio-​political public space. Blankson (2005) lamented that, although the emerging private radio had brought programme and channel diversity, radio was expressing itself predominantly in English, the colonialists’ language –​a language that many inhabitants could not speak and that does not carry their culture. Ansah (n.d.) discusses how phone-​ ins on radio talk shows granted creative and interactive opportunities for people to share information about issues of interest. These studies have celebrated the accessibility of radio, the burgeoning radio industry (particularly indigenous language radio) and associated democratic implications of  radio. Yet, little research has focused on crucial issues of quality practice, professionalism and sustainability, which, we argue, are the main pillars that can give meaning to journalism and lead to development. Therefore, it is very crucial to interrogate the understanding of journalists and other stakeholders about the practice of indigenous language media with a view to finding out the relationship between professionalism and sustainability in contemporary journalism in Ghana, and in Africa in general. In doing so, the chapter will benchmark the discussion on Peace FM, a private commercial radio station, to identify and examine factors that could lead to media sustainability in Ghana. An assumption underpinning the study comes from Malatji (2014) and Salawu (2006), who argue that indigenous language media in Africa have not thrived or even survived over the years since colonialism. Thus, using data from in-​depth interviews of broadcasters, a media regulator and communication and media scholars, the critical questions this chapter addresses are: (i) What constitutes quality and professional journalism of indigenous language radio? and (ii) To what extent is indigenous language radio sustainable in Ghana?

206  Ufuoma Akpojivi and Modestus Fosu Table 12.1 Profile of the study participants Name



Akwasi Agyemang Isaac Kwame Owusu Emmanuel Akorli Kojo Dickson Affail Monney

Editor Senior Reporter/​Producer Senior Correspondent Senior Newscaster Regulator

Amin Alhassan


Peace FM Peace FM Peace FM Peace FM President, Ghana Journalists’ Association, Ghana University for Development Studies

This qualitative study drew data from six purposively sampled professionals. For indigenous language broadcasters, we employed professionals from Peace FM. As we show later in the chapter, the gathering and packaging of news on indigenous language radio stations and other outlets follow an almost homogeneous pattern in the country. The majority of local language radio stations in Ghana adopt Akan, specifically the Twi dialect, as either the main medium of transmission or during some popular programmes. The Akan language is the most widely spoken indigenous language in the country (Ansah 2008). It has some mutually intelligible dialects –​with Twi as dominant among others, such as Fanti and Brong –​and is spoken by about 90% of the population, as either their first or second indigenous language (see Agyekum 2006). Thus, because of the similarities across the news making and delivery patterns, we selected Peace FM, which has consistently emerged as the most-​listened-​to station in Ghana in recent years. A news editor, news producer, reporter and newscaster, all of them senior officers, were interviewed on issues concerning the use of local languages in broadcasting in relation to participation, quality, professionalism and sustainability, among others within the Ghanaian context. The same questions were asked to the president of the Ghana Journalists Association, Affail Monney, as a media regulator, and a professor of media and communication. These participants provided rich data for the analysis presented in this chapter. Table 12.1 summarizes the characteristics of the participants. The interviews were conducted in December 2018 and January 2019. The data were coded using the themes of the current understanding of journalism, importance of language in journalism, indigenous language and journalism, quality/​ professional journalism, and sustainability of indigenous language journalism.

Overview of Peace FM Peace FM is a privately owned commercial radio station established in 1999 by Osei Kwame and is now part of a business conglomerate called the Despite Group of Companies (DGC). The DGC owns a number of media and non-​media companies. Peace FM began operations at a time when the country was gradually

African language journalism in Ghana  207 waking up to the reality of media liberalisation. By then, the existing FM radio stations, such as Joy FM and GBC’s Uniiq FM, were broadcasting exclusively in English. Peace FM became a novelty by broadcasting almost all its programmes in Twi, although it was (and still is) not uncommon to hear other Akan dialects on the station. It did not take long for the station to become a household name in Ghana, as it attracted both formally educated and uneducated listeners. Since then, despite the establishment of many other radio stations, Peace FM has remained the most-​ listened-​to radio station in the country (GeoPoll 2018). The success of Peace FM encouraged Kwame to expand his media network by establishing three additional radio stations –​Okay FM, Neat FM and Hello FM. In 2015, Kwame teamed up with a partner to start a television station called United TV (UTV), which also broadcasts exclusively in Akan and currently commands a large viewership. In terms of programming, Peace FM runs a very popular daily morning news show called ‘Kokrokoo’, which runs between 6 am and 11 am, Monday through Friday. This socio-​politically inclined programme is hosted by Kwame Sefa Kayi and has won countless news programme awards in Ghana. Fosu and Akpojivi (2015) and Ansah (n.d.) have described the nature of the programme, especially its convergence news flow model. The practice is for the host to assemble a panel representing various political and social ideologies and interests, with the audience linking up through social media and telephone. Newspaper stories usually provide topical issues for discussions and debates in the news creation and dissemination process. The popularity of this programme, as well as Peace FM’s daily news bulletins and other social programmes on health, sports, etc., have resulted in the station affiliating with many radio stations all over Ghana. Thus, these programmes are aired concurrently whenever they run on Peace FM, implying that Peace FM’s programmes, ideologies and interests are reproduced via affiliated radio stations to almost every part of the country. In fact, the station’s accessibility goes beyond the shores of Ghana through affiliations with some radio stations in the United Kingdom and United States of America. It is remarkable that a majority of radio stations in Ghana have replicated Peace FM’s style of political and social news programming. Thus, socio-​political news making and broadcasting and the nature of news analysis on almost all other indigenous radio networks in Ghana and elsewhere are not different from what obtains on Peace FM. Consequently, it makes sense to use Peace FM as a reference in a discussion focusing on indigenous language broadcasting in Ghana. It is also reasonable to include the key persons in Peace FM’s broadcasting chain as data sources. This is because broadening the data sources to include personnel from other indigenous radio stations may replicate the information without enriching the data. In addition, Peace FM connects opportunely with other non-​media companies of DGC (the parent company), which provides a financial support base for the media networks. Some of the associated companies deal in the processing and distribution of food and beverages within and outside Ghana, while others also offer micro financial services to small-​scale enterprises, and mining services. Therefore, the DGC seems to have a solid economic base to support its media empire, which in turn publicises

208  Ufuoma Akpojivi and Modestus Fosu and advertises the company’s non-​media products. The company also seems to command a competitive market share in the respective businesses in the country. Affail Monney, while attesting to this, submitted that Peace FM charges the highest rates for advertisements and other media products (January 2019). Therefore, the financial situation of the DGC could have positive implications for programming and other practices of its media networks.

Indigenous languages, radio and broadcast journalism in Ghana That language and culture are intricately linked is now beyond debate. There is a long tradition of sociolinguistic studies that have established this fact (Wardhaugh 2012; Stern 2009; Kasper 1997). The established understanding is that language reflects and projects the culture of a people. This connection is succinctly expressed by Wardhaugh (2012): Cultural values determine the way we use language. … The culture of a people finds reflection in the language they employ: because they value certain things and do them in a certain way, they come to use their language in ways that reflect what they value and what they do. (219–​220) Thus, it is not surprising that scholars, even of the Global North and Asia, have devoted countless studies to the centrality of language and culture in broadcasting systems (Blankson 2005). In Africa, language use in various communication contexts has been a thorny issue because of the continent’s historical past and the fact that almost all the countries are using a colonial language as their official and most respected language. Consequently, scholars have argued for African media systems to use native languages because that is what can best represent the cultural needs and aspirations of the people and speed up development (Ansah 1979, 1985, 1986; Karikari 1994; Ansu-​Kyeremeh 1995; Blankson 2005). This chapter does not delve extensively into issues relating to language, culture and broadcasting since there is extensive literature on them, as indicated earlier. Suffice it to say that the role of indigenous language media in Africa cannot be overemphasised. The democratic process is strengthened through the participation of citizens based on information from the media, and societal values and customs are preserved through the use of indigenous languages in communication or broadcasting. According to Leepile: Language encapsulates a people’s culture, social morals, values, and knowledge. When a language dies, a people’s knowledge dies with it. Language is about economic and social empowerment. More people can be brought into public and productive life by wider and productive use of (indigenous) languages. (cited in Malatji 2014, 4)

African language journalism in Ghana  209 The importance of language to the cultural sustenance and development of society has led Ngugi (1986) to posit that one way of decolonizing and empowering African society is through the use of indigenous languages in public spaces. As such, the use of a language will promote the cultural values associated with language and society, and so will be the case with indigenous language media in Africa. McQuail (1993) argued in his theoretical postulation that languages and cultures are both valuable collective properties of nations. For this reason, we agree with Ugboajah (1985) that the structure, language and content of broadcasting systems should reflect the cultural character of the societies within which they operate. The media, as a national institution, have a role to play in protecting and developing African native languages by continuously (re)producing content in those languages. In the next paragraphs, we focus on indigenous language broadcasting in Ghana, beginning with its development and continuing to the current proliferation of local language radio stations. After the first radio signals had been received in English in Ghana, a linguistically diverse country (Ansah 2008), it did not take long for the colonial administrators to realise that radio could add more impetus to their imperialist agenda if it was broadcast in the languages that many people understood. Thus, in 1939, Radio Ghana, as the broadcasting station (originally ZOY) was then called, began broadcasting in Ghanaian languages, beginning with Ewe, Twi, Ga, Dagbani and Hausa (Blankson 2005). By 1943, a group of full-​time staff had been appointed to begin local programmes in Twi, Ewe, Ga and Fanti (Adjetey 2015). By 1960, the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), as it later came to be known, was broadcasting in fifteen native languages, airing national and regional programmes (Ansah 1979). Until the deregulation of the media industry in the early 1990s, the use of local languages on radio occurred only on GBC Radio 1 on a shortwave bandwidth. Deregulation came with Frequency Modulation (FM) radio broadcasting, and since then, the use of local languages has been a typical feature of many of the stations that operated this bandwidth in Ghana. But what makes a broadcasting system indigenous? We emphasise that merely producing content in a local language is not sufficient. Thus, we cannot say that the use of local languages to broadcast news during the colonial days amounted to localising or indigenising broadcasting. The same applies to the eras of Ghana’s first president, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, and the promulgation of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, periods that saw governments largely controlling the press and criminalising free speech. Broadcasting during such periods was not independent; it carried content that the powers-​that-​be wanted people to hear and was largely meant to control the people. In other words, broadcasting did not have content that reflected the real circumstances of the people, so it may not be seen as indigenising broadcasting, although local languages were used. Chapter  12 of the 1992 Constitution set the groundwork for the liberalisation of Ghana’s media system. The provisions of this chapter enabled private people to enter the media industry and own media outlets. It also provided for freedom of expression as a fundamental human right. Consequently, Ghana has witnessed an increase in indigenous language outlets following the deregulation

210  Ufuoma Akpojivi and Modestus Fosu of the media. Thus, although there is largely no indigenous language press in Africa (Salawu 2006), the broadcasting sector has seen the growth and use of indigenous languages in broadcasting in Ghana and other parts of Africa. For example, by the end of 2018, there were seventy-​one operational community radio stations scattered across Ghana (see the Appendix), all of which use local languages. Within the same timeframe, there were 358 commercial stations, most of which also used Ghanaian languages. Akpojivi and Fosu (2016) argue that the implementation of guidelines for local language broadcasting in Ghana by the National Media Commission (NMC) has facilitated such developments. According to Salawu (2015), the use of indigenous languages by the media is an effective way to communicate and reach the vast majority of Africans excluded from the communication process due to the use of the English language. According to him, ‘people would understand information better in their indigenous language than in a foreign language’ (Salawu 2015, 4).1 In terms of content, these stations largely focus on political and socio-​cultural issues concerning politics, economics, sports, entertainment, etc., which are of immediate relevance to the people. Studies have indicated that, since the emergence of indigenous language broadcasting in Ghana, citizens’ engagement and participation in the media and societal discourse has expanded, and the once neglected people are now empowered to contribute (Akpojivi and Fosu 2016; Ansah n.d.). Based on this, Akpojivi (2012) has posited that this trend needs to be effectively regulated so as not to endanger Ghana’s democracy due to the unabated, and sometimes controversial and trivial, conversations that occur in public spaces. Despite this growing trend of indigenous language broadcasting in Ghana, little research attention has focused on the quality of journalism practised by the indigenous language media, or the sustainability of the indigenous language media in Ghana. It is thus germane to examine these issues because Voltmer (2008) has argued that the market structure in most post-​independent African states is too weak to support independent media and quality programming. Likewise, Moehler and Singh (2011) posited that the media environment on the continent is very competitive. This competition is between state and private media as well as between English and indigenous language media, and this could influence the sustainability of indigenous language media. According to Salawu (2006), the problem confronting indigenous language media is centred on the preference for the English language, which has contributed significantly to the demise of the indigenous language press. In addition, the economic and cultural elements attributed to language (Ngugi 1986) do not favour indigenous language media due to language politics (Malatji 2014). For example, it is alleged that the vast majority of the current African population consists of the youth, and most of these youths have lost touch with their cultural background and embraced foreign cultures and languages. This is largely because they cannot read or write in their indigenous languages (Malatji 2014). In addition, most media houses have embraced the ‘Americanization’ of media in terms of content, style and structure as a way of meeting the needs of this emerging youthful audience (Akpojivi and Fosu 2016). These points raise serious

African language journalism in Ghana  211 questions about the sustainability and professionalism of indigenous language media. The indigenous media’s quests to reach and please the target audience will certainly influence their programming structure and style, which may render them synonymous with the mainstream English language media. Differing views on the relationship between media professionalism and sustainability imply the need for a focused investigative approach on the matter. For example, while Ogola and Rodney-​Gumede (2013) argue that professionalism plays a significant role in media sustainability, Moehler and Singh (2011) differ, stating that media perception and sustainability across the continent differ from country to country based on the needs of the audience. Therefore, the assertion that, in conceptualising and contextualising media sustainability, the inherent background and uniqueness of a case study will determine their sustainability is not a generalised factor. Consequently, the discussions that follow from some stakeholders in the media will examine Peace FM’s approach to quality journalism and sustainability and, by extension, the quest for quality journalism, professionalism and sustainable indigenous language broadcasting in Ghana.

Findings African language journalism and quality journalism: the paradox The call by scholars and policymakers for the use of indigenous languages and content in the media has materialised in Ghana, leading to a burgeoning indigenous radio industry. While this is good, it has also raised fundamental questions about what quality journalism is in the Ghanaian context, and about the quality of productions from such indigenous language media outlets. Amin Alhassan, while contextualizing quality journalism in Ghana, stated that: Quality journalism is the idea that there are certain ethical boundaries that define the profession, and those are respected no matter the debate on what ethics is. Quality journalism is also defined as certain obligations towards sources, towards the audience and bearing in mind that there is a certain role that journalists play. (Interview with the author, 2019) The above definition emphasises the ethics of the profession and activities of the media organization as central factors in meeting the social responsibility of the media to the audience, hence the need to ascertain how key stakeholders (media and regulators) perceive quality journalism. From the collected data, both the media practitioners and the regulators conceptualize quality journalism from the perspective of professionalism, as they see both concepts as related. For instance, Akwasi Agyeman, the editor at Peace FM, argued that: Quality journalism is about adhering to the principle of journalism or the ethics. Going by the ethics and the kind of information that you bring out will

212  Ufuoma Akpojivi and Modestus Fosu have an impact on lives of people in our society … You must speak to issues about language that your target audience understands. (Interview with the author, December 2018) Thus, a strong correlation is established between professionalism and quality journalism, and this position is not different from that of the media regulator. According to Monney, president of the Ghana Journalists Association, I will equate quality journalism with ethical discipline because ethics is the canon of our profession. A lack of ethics gives room for recklessness, waywardness and wickedness and all kinds of negatives. Ethics will tell you what to do and what not to do –​not to offend people’s sensibilities, not to take them for granted, give them another side. (Interview with the author, January 2019) Thus, broadcasters, regulators and academics agree that quality defines professionalism, which is understood as the application of ethical standards of journalism. Interestingly, the broadcasters regard professional training in journalism, applying social responsibility and using accessible language (i.e. language that a majority of the audience speaks) –​here, native languages –​as ethical obligations when defining professionalism. Consequently, a lack of ethics will lead to unprofessional productions. Such an understanding contradicts some extant arguments that both concepts  –​‘quality journalism’ and ‘professionalism’  –​are intricately different, although one leads to another (Lacy and Rosenstiel 2015). Nevertheless, it is clear that the two concepts are essentially related, no matter how they are conceptualised individually. There is also a general consensus among the participants that the quality of indigenous language broadcasting has not always lived up to expectations. They attribute this largely to the programming structure and content of the indigenous language media. Monney observed that ‘the greatest challenge to media practice now is ethical misconduct … excessive ingestion of jokes and proverbs … which is un-​ journalistic’ (Interview with the author, January 2019). While Monney’s assertion speaks to professionalism, his observation also alludes to the wider operationalisation of indigenous language broadcasting in Ghana and how that has affected quality journalism. There is no doubt most indigenous language broadcasts in Ghana are embedded with excessive jokes, proverbs and exaggerations, thereby raising questions about whether such practices enhance or promote quality journalism. Fosu and Akpojivi (2015) have argued that this type of news model by indigenous language broadcasting ‘could harm democracy if not “controlled” ’ (289). Besides creating a platform for incitement to violence and hate speech, the practice is also not very different from mainstream media, as most often programmes are written in English and rendered in the local language at the point of news dissemination (Akpojivi and Fosu 2016). These tendencies occur as a strategy to attract and impress audiences and to beat off competition in the highly proliferated media

African language journalism in Ghana  213 environment in Ghana. This may explain why Salawu (2015) has questioned the ‘authenticity of what passes as African languages media on our airwaves today’ (7). This reinforces the notion of viewing quality journalism from the perspective of professionalism. Journalists who adhere to the ethical codes, or media houses that adhere to high professional standards, are believed to have engaged in quality journalism. The data indicate that members of the media in Ghana still believe in this correlation. We have argued that the issue of quality journalism gained prominence following the deregulation of the media sector that has subsequently led to competition among the various media players. According to Lacy and Rosenstiel (2015), ‘the question of what constitutes quality journalism has taken on a new urgency as the news industry undergoes its most profound disruption, probably since the advent of commercial journalism’, and this is a result of ‘loose values, training and shared norms’, which are influenced by the economic model and structure of the media (5). The next question is, does quality journalism plays any role in media sustainability in Ghana? The concept is contentious, as it has been approached differently by scholars and media practitioners. Quality journalism has been conceptualised as the interaction between the requirements and desires of news consumers (Lacy and Rosenstiel 2015) and it is measured by the ability of the media to meet the needs of the audiences. Obviously, the measurement might differ amongst the audience, and from country to country, but to media professionals, quality journalism revolves around the excellence of media content (i.e. objectivity, fairness and abiding by the ethos of the profession; Lacy and Rosenstiel 2015). While these were largely revealed in the data for this study, it was also noted that language use also features in quality journalism. Irrespective of the different perspectives on this topic, the audience is at the heart of determining what constitutes quality journalism. Purvis (2006) argues that the existence of the media is tied to the audience because the audience consumes media products to (re)construct their everyday lives. Therefore, the need to seek audience satisfaction and the general good –​socially, politically and economically –​is central to the media’s raison d’être, especially in a democracy. One way the media can satisfy the audience is by using indigenous languages. Kojo Dickson, a senior newscaster at Peace FM, argued that: There are so many people who may not be very comfortable with the official language of the country, that is, the English language. … So, the fact that a listener or the reader is able to understand whatever is being put on radio or television in his or her local dialect also helps the people to participate in other democratic activities. (Interview with the author, December 2018) This study did not involve the audience as a data source, but the place of the audience in considerations leading to the gathering and packaging of news information and use of language is strongly implied in the data from the study’s participants.

214  Ufuoma Akpojivi and Modestus Fosu Peace FM and professionalism The discussion of Peace FM’s news production and dissemination processes in relation to the issues under focus occurs with the understanding that the views on the radio station may be the same on indigenous radio stations within the Ghanaian media sphere. As explained earlier, beyond ownership and ideological leanings, indigenous language radio stations in Ghana are similar in terms of personnel, modus operandi and targeted audience. In terms of news gathering, packaging and dissemination, the practice reflects a hybrid between universal journalistic norms and peculiar local tendencies. Journalists or reporters use the established processes to gather news stories and then engage in the necessary newsroom activities. As the editor, Akwasi Agyeman, puts: [We observe] the same principles: we meet every morning at editorial conference. We select our stories for the midday news. We do brainstorming exercises. We find angles to it. We crosscheck our facts. We ensure there’s balance of the information for the news. We are mindful of the language that is being used, its relevance, the impact, the background to the story  –​you know, the ethics. (Interview with the author, January 2019) However, the news is written not in Twi but in English and then translated or rendered in Twi at the time of broadcasting. According to Agyeman, We, the journalists here, write the stories basically in English, not Twi, because a lot of the reporters cannot write in Twi, so we write in English. Then, we give it to news readers to go and translate it, or the one to read will go and read it in Twi. (Interview with the author, January 2019) This means that many broadcasters cannot write in the local language, although they speak it very well. This also suggests that the broadcasters ought to be strong in writing English and speaking Twi. The process of translating instantaneously from English to Twi creates room for significant exaggerations, humour, proverbs and other linguistic tendencies that could distort the news (Akpojivi and Fosu 2016). But there is an ambivalent attitude to this tendency. While some regard this as inappropriate, a habit that the regulator, Monney, branded as ‘excessive’ and ‘un-​journalistic’, others see it as innovative and reflecting the contextual reality of the culture and nature of the language and its setting. For instance, Agyeman, the editor of Peace FM, argued that, the Twi, or the Akan, language is itself full of colour. It involves wise sayings and it is drama in nature. That is the language. The beauty of that language is

African language journalism in Ghana  215 if you want to communicate in Twi for your listeners to understand, then you must add those things to it to signify the beauty of the language. If you want to compare it with that of the English language, then you have a problem. (Interview with the author, January 2019) While both assertions reveal a contestation between the broadcaster and the regulator over what quality journalism in relation to professionalism should entail in indigenous language broadcasting, such a contestation brings to mind the programming structure of indigenous language media and how such a structure is pivotal to their sustainability strategy. This strategy of using jokes and colourful language could be seen as innovative and reflective of the oral culture of the society and should not be confused with a presentation in the English language, which is instinctively different. Professor Amin Alhassan, while elaborating on the above, submitted that: I have been impressed about the innovations, I … understand properly why our local language journalism doesn’t reflect the structure of our formal language journalism like in English. We have to bear in mind that any language [e.g. English] that is predominantly learnt through reading and writing has different structures. … When you now bring the local to write news, you are going to have that dominantly emotive character showing in the news. We can see it in our local language where colour is one of the features of news. They embellish, we say it in English, but in fact, in the local language, they are not embellishing. They are adding colour to the story. … There is bound to be an emerging conflict between those who subscribe to formal language journalism and local language, but I don’t see it as a conflict. I see it as an innovation in journalism and we should welcome it. (Interview with the author, January 2019) Nevertheless, regulators have called for caution in applying such an innovation, observing that the overuse of embellishments might distort the content. News is a serious thing, and excessive jokes and exaggerations could help in constructing a trivialised meaning of the news which is mainly done for economic reasons. For instance, Monney states that, I’ll trace the cause to the ownership structures. Ownership confers power or control. … Some of them [journalists] have been well-​trained –​master’s level, some are even doing their doctorate degrees. And when you confront them, they tell you that their owners like it, so fundamentally it is an ownership issue, it is an ownership structure, which is impacting dangerously and negatively. (Interview with the author, January 2019) In fact, issues of power relations, journalistic autonomy and economic factors are embedded in the above observation. Thus, Monney’s opinion cannot be

216  Ufuoma Akpojivi and Modestus Fosu ignored; the place of Peace FM and the other media platforms within the DGC structure calls for a nuanced understanding of the occurrence of embellishments and jokes in the news. This practice carries economic capital, the idea being to appeal to the audience and, through that, contribute to the viability and sustainability of the DGC, as further elaborated in the next sections.

Sustainability of indigenous language broadcasting in Ghana This section concerns the sustainability of indigenous media broadcasting with reference to Peace FM. Malatji (2014) argued that the indigenous language press in Africa has not done well, or even survived, through the years since colonialism. Therefore, there is a need to examine Peace FM’s approach to its sustainability. The data yielded three major angles that relate to sustainability: content, financial power and professionalism or quality journalism. Media content A number of content-​related factors were suggested as a panacea for media sustainability. The discourse of media sustainability is often approached from the normative angle pertaining to the survival of media organisations. Quality content, audience satisfaction with the content or message, and language use were found to have the potential to influence sustainability in a saturated media environment like Ghana. Monney stated that media content is a product that should be packaged in an appealing manner to attract an audience that will eventually lead to sustainability (Interview with the author, January 2019). Language has a key role to play in ensuring this attraction and sustainability. A senior reporter and producer at Peace FM, Isaac Kwame Owusu, stated that, for us, our target is to bring radio to the ordinary Ghanaian, and the ordinary Ghanaian –​between you and me [i.e. informally] –​is somebody who is able to understand the kind of information we are putting across and the language we are putting the information in. (Interview with the author, December 2018) This belief implies that sustainability is tied to the audience and their ability to understand and engage with media content. Thus, one can understand the need for Peace FM to use an indigenous language and embellish the presentations using oral attributes and culture of the language as a strategy to attract and maintain the audience. Yet, Paterson (1998) has argued that the quality of media content in emerging societies is low, which is not good for media sustainability. This is the case despite the proliferation of media organisations that are saturating audiences with information. Hence, Dal-​Zotto (2015) proposed that boosting the quality of media content and diversification is key to media sustainability in this era of information saturation. It appears that the ability of Peace FM to command its listeners

African language journalism in Ghana  217 is suggestive of its sustainability potential. As Abramson (2010) argued, media organisations have adopted different strategies, like audience participation and collaboration, to meet audience needs and remain competitive. Thus, Peace FM’s strategy has included the use of an indigenous language in its broadcasts, and the application of embellishments and jokes in an orality framework should be seen as a way of ensuring sustainability. Financial power Financial implications for sustainable journalism is another key issue. Media organisations are also businesses. They require funds to develop programmes and maintain their workforce and infrastructure. According to Monney, ‘media outlets are businesses and they need to fend for themselves in order to stay alive, and this requires financial oxygen’ (Interview with the author, January 2019). Most media organisations in Africa have financial challenges, which reflects the harsh economic conditions facing most African countries due to weak economic structures (Voltmer 2008). Furthermore, most indigenous language media organisations often do not have the resources to develop quality media content (Salawu 2015). For example, in Ghana, as in many other African countries, most media organisations are unable to pay living wages or salaries to their journalists. Therefore, developing good programmes is a challenge. Hollifield (see Matschke 2015) has identified three financial factors that are germane to media sustainability: technology, economics and public policy. According to Hollifield, media functions at an intersection of these three resources and ‘media sustainability really necessitates a functioning framework involving all three areas’. Technology is central to media production and distribution. Without it, technology-​driven content cannot be produced and transmitted to reach the audience. The process of acquiring technology and producing and distributing content involves economic resources (Dal-​Zotto 2015), and the availability of the economic resources will determine the technology or infrastructure available to the media organisation, as well as the quality of such programming. Often, because indigenous language media lack economic resources due to a poor advertising base (Malatji 2014; Salawu 2015), their content is of low quality, and this poses a threat to their sustainability. There is no doubt that content production is expensive (Abramson 2010), especially for indigenous language media. This is partly because their programming content is unique from mainstream English language media. For instance, the additional costs for translations and attracting and equipping newscasters or presenters with language skills in both English and the local language adds to the financial burden of the organisations. Meanwhile, these people should also possess journalistic skills. However, most often, people who train formally in journalism schools lack the linguistic versatility required in indigenous language radio broadcasting. Therefore, to save costs, indigenous language media organisations employ those who are untrained professionally but who can speak the local language fluently. But this invariably has implications for quality content and professionalism.

218  Ufuoma Akpojivi and Modestus Fosu Emmanuel Akorli, a Senior Correspondent with Peace FM, argued that, because many lack formal training, sometimes their work is found wanting and I  feel that training should be emphasized so that those who are doing work in the local language can also benefit from training to help them improve on their output. (Interview with the author, December 2018) Akorli’s opinion implies that the economic resources needed to recruit the appropriate staff could be lacking. This normally results in some stations recruiting ‘unqualified’ personnel who then end up over-​dramatising the news and damaging its quality. Professionalism and quality journalism Professionalism and quality journalism can be regarded as the central nervous system to indigenous language journalism. This is because professionalism –​that is, adhering to the ethos of the profession and producing quality content that resonates with the needs of the audience  –​is pivotal in the competitive media landscape in Ghana. According to Agyeman, quality journalism is an important pillar in our everyday media practice because if you don’t bring out what the public are looking for, if the news that you churn out is not of substance, is not quality, you do a very great disservice to your audience. (Interview with the author, January 2019) In addition, Emmanuel Akorli was of the opinion that quality journalism contributes immensely to the sustainability of a media house because, if the product of a particular media house is of high standards or quality, the public knows about that and they like to listen to that media house, and that will help sustain the media house. (Interview with the author, December 2018) Therefore, journalists with Peace FM understand that quality productions are one of the major determinants of sustainability of indigenous language broadcasting. From the angle of content, most of Peace FM’s news and other programmes are on issues involving politics, education, culture, the economy, health and so on (Fosu and Akpojivi 2015), which directly concerns the everyday lives of the people. The station encourages audience participation in productions through phone-​ins and social media. Thus, indigenous language broadcasting enhances accessibility of information, inclusiveness and a sense of belonging in the democratic environment of the country.

African language journalism in Ghana  219 However, there are also challenges in production that negate quality journalism. According to Kwame Owusu, because of the need to be the first to broadcast a news item, ‘indigenous language media are drifting and becoming something else that has impacted the kind of journalism being practiced’ (Interview with the author, December 2018). Fosu and Akpojivi (2015) have argued that such practices, if left unchecked, could pose a danger to the democratic sustenance of the country and hinder the growth of the media. In addition, the issue raised by Owusu also concerns the impact of technological advancements on indigenous language media. Technology has radically improved the flow of information, and journalists from indigenous language media are equally caught up in the process of using technology to advance the functions and usefulness of the media in society. Nevertheless, they are also embroiled in negative technology-​driven practices like publishing fake news and using social media and blog sites as sources of news. In such cases, sustainability may suffer. Hooper (1998) argues that the national communication policy frameworks and laws of a country provide the guidelines under which the media should operate. Following the deregulation of the media and communication sectors, media policies in Ghana have been structured along ‘neo-​liberal’ lines, leading to what Hesmondhalgh (2002) regards as marketisation in which media products largely serve profit purposes. Consequently, these policies have encouraged media organisations to focus on media products or programmes that are cheap but that appeal to audiences. For instance, Fosu and Akpojivi (2015) argued that most media organisations’ programmes are now less structured and embrace heavy technological usage, such as the phone-​in phenomenon, as a way of appealing to the audiences and encouraging their participation. Although this is a good phenomenon, it has the potential of exposing indigenous language media to the dangers of mainstream media, such as fake news, if not properly managed. It has to be emphasised that the law and policy frameworks for indigenous language media in Ghana have not insulated them from active competition; neither have the frameworks adequately provided a structure that will guarantee the sustenance of these media. According to Akpojivi and Fosu (2016), the only policy from the regulatory body (the National Media Commission) is the guidelines for local language broadcasting. Although the policy sees the use of local language in the media as central to human development and promoting Ghanaian indigenous cultures, it does not address issues of sustainability. The policy focuses more on professionalism and the ethos that journalists and media houses should adhere to as a way of improving the quality of the content. Thus, the policy leaves out other pertinent issues that can influence sustainability, such as the country’s dire economic situation, and how technology can effectively be used to promote sustainability.

Conclusion: the quest for quality and sustainable indigenous language journalism This chapter concerns local language journalism in Ghana and issues of quality journalism, professionalism and the quest for media sustainability within a

220  Ufuoma Akpojivi and Modestus Fosu democratising liberal market context. The findings have implications for sub-​ Saharan Africa because of the economic, cultural, political and multilingual similarities of many of the countries. However, before offering our conclusions, we should indicate some weaknesses of the study. While a reasonable argument was advanced for benchmarking a study purported to cover indigenous language broadcasting in Ghana, and possibly beyond, on one organisation, we acknowledge that replicating the study using other similar organisations within and outside Ghana will provide more insight into this very important topic. The study has identified financial considerations as a major influence on quality broadcasting and sustainability. Yet, a thorough financial analysis of the indigenous media scene, which can add impetus to understanding the issues discussed, was beyond the scope of this chapter. This, and a comprehensive analysis of the political economy of indigenous language broadcasting, could be the objective of future research endeavours. Additionally, the ambivalent views on the unique language inclinations of local language news renditions need to be reconciled. This must include an audience study for a comprehensive understanding of the phenomenon. To conclude, this chapter has revealed that Peace FM practices a hybrid news production and dissemination model that uses language uniquely to resonate with its socio-​cultural milieu. This has generated different attitudes among media stakeholders regarding some aspects of the station’s practices, dealing with using embellished and exaggerated language in broadcasting. What is important is that the radio station broadcasts in a local language that a majority of the people in the area speak. This study has reaffirmed that such a broadcasting model plays a crucial role in socio-​political participation. The chapter also indicates that indigenous language broadcasters appreciate the role of quality content and professionalism in media sustainability, although they may not always be professional in practice. Thus, this section advances various suggestions to ensure the sustainability of indigenous language journalism. There is the need to strengthen the professional base of indigenous language broadcasters through education and training. This, it is believed, could make them professionals and guarantee quality content that can contribute to the sustainability of the media organisations. In addition, while using cultural nuances that appeal to audiences, there is the need to have boundaries that are clearly defined. We think the idea is to start a conversation towards achieving ethical journalistic codes that speak to indigenous language media contexts so that the codes of the metropolis will not be used to regulate such practices. One of the major stumbling blocks of quality content, professionalism and sustainability in indigenous language broadcasting is financial in nature. According to Hooper (1998, 10), indigenous language media must understand who their audience is, the kind of programming the audience prefers, how to meet their audience’s needs, how to identify underserved audiences, and what can be done to accommodate the audience in their broadcasts. Hooper (1998), however, urges indigenous language media to ‘develop a niche market’ for themselves based on their available resources, which will contribute to their sustainability. This position highlights that, within the political, economic and cultural framework in which

African language journalism in Ghana  221 indigenous language media exist, their sustainability strategy should be aligned to a specific valuable targeted audience, as it will be practically impossible to meet all the needs of all audiences in society.

Note 1 For a detailed explication of the historical development of the Ghanaian media, see Akpojivi and Fosu (2016).

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African language journalism in Ghana  223

Appendix No. Region

1. Ashanti 2. Brong Ahafo 3. Central 4. Eastern 5. Greater Accra 6. Northern 7. Upper East 8. Upper West 9. Volta 10. Western TOTAL

Total no. Public Public Community Campus Commercial Total Total no. authorised (foreign) no. in not in operation operation 64 73

2 3

1 -​

6 6

3 3

52 61

56 59

8 14

34 37 52

2 2 2

-​ -​ 3

8 4 5

3 1 4

21 30 38

29 33 51

5 4 1

48 23

7 2

-​ -​

15 8

2 1

24 12

34 17

14 6









52 80 487

4 5 31

-​ 1 5

8 4 71

1 2 22

39 68 358

37 65 398

15 15 89

Source: National Communication Authority, Ghana (​industry-​data-​2/​authorisations-​ 2/​fm-​authorisation-​2/​)

13  Editorial policies and the isiXhosa language newspapers at Caxton Media and Independent Media Mbuyekezo Njeje and Albert Chibuwe

Introduction This chapter interrogates the editorial policies of Caxton Media and Independent Media, the publishers of BONA and Isolezwe lesiXhosa, respectively, in relation to the indigenous isiXhosa language. The intention is to unravel the predominantly English language media houses’ policies towards their isiXhosa publications. The chapter explores whether these editorial policies address the presence of isiXhosa language publications under their stable. Because editorial policy guides the conduct of a media organisation and its employees and determines its operations and products (i.e. content), this analysis exposes the extent to which such policies are geared towards the development of the isiXhosa language. Whereas indigenous language media in South Africa and elsewhere have been studied, none of the research has, to the best of our knowledge, interrogated their editorial policies to establish how they contribute to indigenous language development. Indeed, the relationship between indigenous language newspapers and their audiences has been examined (Wasserman and Ndlovu 2015), along with the content of these newspapers and their implications for development (Salawu and Mpofu 2018), and their political economy and survival strategies (see Salawu 2015; Chibuwe Chapter 6, this volume). Although mainstream English language journalists’ perceptions towards indigenous language newspapers (Chibuwe and Salawu 2020) and the need for the incorporation of indigenous languages in journalism education (Salawu 2006a; 2008) have been identified, what is glaringly missing in these studies is an interrogation of their editorial policies to unravel how these guidelines affect the indigenous language newspapers’ operations. This chapter fills that void by interrogating the editorial policies of indigenous language newspapers under the Caxton Media and Independent Media banners. Whereas indigenous Zulu language and isiXhosa language newspapers, such as Isolezwe and I’solezwe lesiXhosa, have been the subject of research (see Wasserman and Ndlovu 2015; Gwala 2019) their editorial policies have not been analysed to gauge their impact on the newspapers’ operations. Wasserman and Ndlvou (2015) studied the relationship between Isolezwe and its readers; they investigated the popularity of Isolezwe in a context where readership of newspapers was

isiXhosa language newspapers  225 generally in decline. It is also a context in which most of the indigenous language newspapers had collapsed. As Salawu (2006b) observes, In 1930 in South Africa, there were 19 registered, African-​ language newspapers. Today, most of these newspapers are non-​existent. The multilingual (isiXhosa, isiZulu, seSotho and English) newspaper, Inkundla ya Bantu, edited by President Thabo Mbeki’s father, Govan Mbeki, only existed for six years (1939 to 1944). (55) The same is true of countries such as Ghana and Nigeria –​the majority of the indigenous language newspapers have since collapsed. For example, ‘there used to be newspapers in 15 Ghanaian languages as recently as [the] 1990s. Today, none of them is in existence’, whilst during the colonial era, the Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) had about 150 periodicals in indigenous languages, but today they have all either collapsed or are ‘comatose’ (Salawu 2006b, 55; see also Salawu 2015). Similarly, Gwala (2019) studied Isolezwe lesiXhosa’s interactions with its online audiences. In this context of high attrition, it is crucial to interrogate the editorial policies of the parent companies, such as Caxton Media and Independent Media, to establish their impact on indigenous language newspapers under their stable, and their contributions to the development of indigenous languages.

Indigenous language newspapers in South Africa and Africa The press in South Africa was created by the colonial establishment in 1800 whilst the first commercial newspaper was established in 1824 (Adedeji 2015). The first Dutch newspaper began publication in 1830, ‘the first African language newspaper, Umshumayeli Wendaba, was established in 1837 and the first Afrikaans language newspaper, Die Afrikaanse Patriot, was published in 1876’ (Adedeji 2015, 41). However, the indigenous language newspapers in South Africa, including isiXhosa language newspapers, have their origins in the missionary press (see Adedeji 2015), just like outlets across the rest of Africa (see Salawu 2006b; Dombo 2014). For example, IsiGidimi SamaXhosa was owned by Lovedale missionary press. The earliest non-​missionary isiXhosa press, Imvo Zabantsundu, was funded by a white liberal who was a good friend of John Tengo Jabavu. Imvo Zabanstundu (1884), together with the Zulu-​language Ilanga lase Natal (1903) and Koranta ea Becoana –​the Tswana and English language newspaper (1901) –​were the most important African newspapers that voiced the aspirations of local people (Teer-​ Tomaselli and Tomaselli 1987). The political turn in the indigenous language press was a reaction to the blatant racist bigotry of the time (see Kaschula 2006; Salawu 2015). These early indigenous language newspapers, the first-​generation African publications, did not last long due to political or economic challenges. As Teer-​Tomaselli and Tomaselli (1987) note, most of the African language newspapers that started prior to 1930 were the creation of non-​white political

226  Mbuyekezo Njeje and Albert Chibuwe organisations, and all collapsed because of either economic challenges or political repression (or both). The second generation of indigenous language newspapers emerged in the 1940s and 1950s, and amongst them were the African National Congress’s Inkundla ya Bantu, set up in 1946 (Teer-​Tomaselli and Tomaselli 1987). This outlet, together with others, was banned following the Sharpeville massacre of 1960 (Teer-​Tomaselli and Tomaselli 1987). Bantu Press, publishers of Bantu World, was established by two white South Africans (Teer-​Tomaselli and Tomaselli 1987). It acquired some African-​owned newspapers, such as Imvo Zabantsundu and Ilanga lase Natal, and was itself completely acquired by the Argus Company in 1963 after the latter had initially purchased a dominant stake by 1950 (Teer-​Tomaselli and Tomaselli 1987). Bantu Press played a crucial role in the establishment of the African Press in Northern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe; Dombo 2014). The newspapers under the publisher’s umbrella, though targeted to Africans, were owned by white capital, making it difficult for the independent African press to survive whilst competing against them (Potter, as cited by Teer-​Tomaselli and Tomaselli 1987). The African press under the Bantu Press, such as Bantu World and Ilanga, avoided politics; they were sensationalist and focused on crime, sex and violence (Teer-​ Tomaselli and Tomaselli 1987; Khuzwayo 2010). In later years, the white-​owned African press was virulently anti-​apartheid but pro-​capital (Teer-​Tomaselli and Tomaselli 1987). However, just like their contemporaries in then Northern Rhodesia (see Dombo 2014), the African editors and journalists, though equally disillusioned with the editorial policies, became the subject of criticism from the radical proponents of black consciousness (see Teer-​Tomaselli and Tomaselli 1987). This is because, though these newspapers were edited by blacks, they were controlled by whites whose views almost always carried the day. The editors were subject not only to state intervention but also ‘subject in varying degrees to white editorial policies’ (Teer-​Tomaselli and Tomaselli 1987, 52). However, in some cases, editors and journalists ignored instructions from the publishers (see Teer-​Tomaselli and Tomaselli 1987). In light of these observations, it is crucial to interrogate the editorial policies of the largely English language Caxton Media and Independent Media to unravel their influence on isiXhosa newspapers under their stable. The African newspapers, with the exception of DRUM, were sensationalist. DRUM exposed some of the ills of apartheid and the appalling conditions of the blacks (Teer-​Tomaselli and Tomaselli 1987). It was published in English and targeted the Africans. To counter it, Bona –​an educational magazine published in Zulu, Xhosa and Sotho –​was established by Afrikaanse Pers and distributed free of charge in schools (Teer-​Tomaselli and Tomaselli 1987). The organization ‘also bought Imvo and Zonk from Bantu Press in 1964’ (Teer-​Tomaselli and Tomaselli 1987, 48). The regime, through the Department of Information, tried to buy DRUM in 1977 but when it failed, it established Hit to rival it (Teer-​Tomaselli and Tomaselli 1987). Khuzwayo (2010) argues that the only difference between BONA and DRUM was that, BONA was initially published in IsiZulu and later

isiXhosa language newspapers  227 isiXhosa, while DRUM was published in English. However, in terms of content, both magazines focused on music, sex and drugs. There were several African-​owned newspapers that were published in vernacular languages in the homeland areas (Teer-​Tomaselli and Tomaselli 1987). However, they did not criticise ‘homeland policies or leaders. Those deviating from a bland and non-​critical stance are soon forced out of business’; for example, Isasizo was banned in 1977 and reappeared in 1978 as Isaziwe but was banned again after six months (Teer-​Tomaselli and Tomaselli 1987, 51). It is thus apparent that the ‘African newspapers’ were only ‘African’ in terms of their ‘target audience’ and not their ownership and funding. They were owned, controlled and funded by whites; consequently, their editorial policies were equally white. These were policies that assumed that the African had no interest in political news (see Teer-​Tomaselli and Tomaselli 1987). In this regard, where white capital and white editorial policies controlled indigenous language newspapers, it is crucial to interrogate these editorial policies’ impact on the development of the indigenous languages, specifically isiXhosa. This is even more important given that most, if not all, of these newspapers have since collapsed. Whereas economic and political factors (see Teer-​Tomaselli and Tomaselli 1987) have been cited as the causes of their collapse in apartheid South Africa, it is crucial to explore (in the post-​apartheid era) how the editorial policies’ contributions to language development, or lack thereof, possibly led to these newspapers’ demise. Interrogating the editorial policies’ impact on indigenous language development is also necessary given Wasserman’s (2008) observation that, ‘despite far-​reaching changes in ownership structures and editorial changes to bring about racial transformation in the media industry after apartheid, [mainstream media] are still beholden to those sections of the public conventionally thought to be favoured by advertisers’ (786). The changes in ownership structure and editorial policies in mainstream media post-​apartheid have not resulted in a broadening of readership to include the previously marginalised groups (Wasserman 2008). Given how editorial policies impact media operations, this chapter lays bare the selected media houses’ editorial policies’ effects on the operations of isiXhosa language newspapers under their stable. The editorial policies of these institutions, and their implementation, reveal the character of the institutions and their intentions as businesses (Andersen and Ragnhild 1997). The policies also give us an idea of the agendas an institution prioritises in the everyday operations of their business. The following section discusses the theoretical lens through which the issues under study are interrogated. It specifically discusses the concepts of coloniality and political economy of the media.

Theoretical framework The chapter borrows insights from Salawu’s (2015) subsidiary model of indigenous language media management, the propaganda model, critical political economy of the media and the concept of coloniality. Specifically, coloniality of

228  Mbuyekezo Njeje and Albert Chibuwe power and being is deployed to understand the link between the selected media organisations’ editorial policies and isiXhosa language development at Caxton Media and Independent Media. This is crucial given that coloniality is a consequence of Western modernity that outlives colonialism (Mignolo 2007, 2011; Moyo and Mutsvairo 2018). One way to unravel it is through an historical and hermeneutical analysis of phenomena, including the media, in post-​colonial Africa (see Karam 2018). The chapter explores whether or not the selected editorial policies’ take on indigenous isiXhosa language media are reflective of coloniality of power and being. It also determines whether or not the relationship between the editorial policies and the selected newspapers is a perpetuation of the apartheid policies of marginalizing indigenous languages in favour of the colonial languages. The chapter argues that, the presence of Africans in these indigenous language newspapers notwithstanding, coloniality has to be unravelled through an analysis of the editorial policies’ impact on indigenous language development. This is crucial considering that whites and colonialism gave access to some blacks whilst denying others, with those granted access reinforcing white dominance and coloniality whilst keeping their fellow blacks in a disadvantaged position (Quijano 2000). In other words, they became the wardens who ensured that their peers did not break free from the epistemic prisons to which colonialism and coloniality condemned them (see Nakata et al. 2012). In this way, coloniality controls all forms of production, including knowledge production (see Quijano 2000). It also defines what development and progress are (see Quijano 2000; Mignolo 2007, 2011), and Western modernity defines what development is for the Global South. It is a system that has been passed from generation to generation and has taken on a life of its own. Unravelling whether the editorial policies of Caxton Media and Independent Media specifically address the issue of indigenous languages helps us to expose the subsistence of coloniality in post-​apartheid South African media. It assists in unmasking the presence or absence of coloniality of power and being in the isiXhosa language publications, BONA and Isolezwe. The chapter also borrows insights from critical political economy and Herman and Chomsky’s (1988) propaganda model to interrogate the editorial policies of the selected media organizations’ impacts on isiXhosa language development in newspapers under their stable. Specifically, the chapter applies the concepts of ownership, advertising and structure to assess how these, as espoused in the editorial policies, shaped isiXhosa language development in BONA magazine and Isolezwe lesiXhosa newspaper. As Golding and Murdock (1991) argue, the signification and content of a media organisation are products of an array of forces, including market forces, that exert pressure on the media (Golding and Murdock 1991). The hunt for profit or media commercialism has led to media concentration and conglomeration, which in turn leads to plurality without diversity (see Herman and Chomsky 1988; Golding and Murdock 1991). It has also resulted in media sticking to tried and tested formats (see Herman and Chomsky 1988; Golding and Murdock 1991). Outlets also avoid controversial content that interferes with the buying mood (Herman and Chomsky 1988). In this light, by frowning upon

isiXhosa language newspapers  229 reporting that is not compatible with their goals, advertisers exert influence on media content (see Herman and Chomsky 1988). Indeed, advertisers do not fund media organisations whose content is not compatible with their goals (Herman and Chomsky 1988). They thus selectively fund some media organisations whilst ignoring others. Consequently, they have become a latter-​day licensing authority (Golding Murdock 1991), which forces the media to conform to the dictates of advertisers. In addition to the above forces, owners exert enormous influence on media content through the hiring and firing of editors and journalists (see Herman and Chomsky 1988; Golding and Murdock 1991). As Herman and Chomsky (1988) argue, It is our view that, among their other functions, the media serve, and propagandize on behalf of, the powerful societal interests that control and finance them. The representatives of these interests have important agendas and principles that they want to advance, and they are well positioned to shape and constrain media policy. This is normally not accomplished by crude intervention, but by the selection of right-​thinking personnel and by the editors’ and working journalists’ internalization of priorities and definitions of newsworthiness that conform to the institution’s policy. (xi) In light of the foregoing, structural factors –​such as ownership, control and advertising –​exert considerable influence on media content. In this context, language use and type of content (i.e. signification) are influenced by ownership, control and funding mechanisms. However, Herman and Chomsky (1988) argue that journalistic professionalism grants editors and journalists some autonomy. This is given credence by Teer-​Tomaselli and Tomaselli’s (1987) observation that an analysis of City Press articles indicates that editors and journalists ignored the owners’ directive to reduce unrest reporting by 50%. However, given the considerable influence that owners, controllers and media advertisers wield on content, analysing the editorial policies of the selected media houses and the content of Isolezwe lesiXhosa is a viable way of understanding the importance placed on isiXhosa language and publications by the selected media organisations, Caxton Media and Independent Media. Finally, Salawu’s (2015) models (the mainstream and the subsidiary) of media management are deployed to understand how Caxton Media and Independent Media ‘manage’ their indigenous language newspapers. This is because an editorial policy guides the conduct of a media organisation and its employees. In the mainstream model, as Salawu (2015) argues, indigenous language newspapers are the main or sole product of the organization whilst ‘the subsidiary model consists of local language newspapers that exist as subsidiary products of a foreign (but dominant) language media organisation’ (304). In the mainstream model, local language newspapers enjoy greater attention, focus and priority and get the lion’s share of resources (staff, equipment, marketing, etc.). However, the opposite is true

230  Mbuyekezo Njeje and Albert Chibuwe in the subsidiary model –​indigenous language newspapers get less of everything. The chapter seeks to establish the significance placed on the isiXhosa publications in the editorial policies of Caxton Media and Independent Media. Methods of data collection Archival research was used to gather the editorial policies of Caxton Media and Independent Media. It was also used to gather news articles from Independent Media’s Isolezwe lesiXhosa. Specifically, articles that focused on language and cultural issues were selected for analysis with the intention of establishing the role played by the newspaper in isiXhosa language development. We initially intended to also analyse stories from BONA magazine but dropped the idea during data gathering when we discovered that the stories are conceptualised and written in English and then translated to isiXhosa. However, to make up for this handicap, interviews were conducted with translators at BONA magazine to understand the technicalities of translating the English language stories to isiXhosa. The editorial policies were subject to document analysis whilst the stories were subjected to thematic analysis. The intention was to establish the link, if any, between the editorial policies and content and isiXhosa. This research centres on whether the editorial policy documents of Independent Media and Caxton Media address the development of isiXhosa. The findings, to which we now turn, are presented thematically.

IsiXhosa publications treated as an afterthought The study established that Isolezwe lesiXhosa conceptualises its stories and writes them in isiXhosa, whereas BONA stories are first conceptualised and written in English before being translated to isiXhosa. Further, at both newspapers the indigenous isiXhosa language has been characterised as unprofitable and, as a result, the distribution of resources between, on one hand, the English and Afrikaans publications and, on the other hand, the isiXhosa publications is skewed in favour of the former. There are more investments in the English publications as opposed to isiXhosa language newspapers, which they treat as disposable. For example, at Independent Media, the English and Afrikaans publications are allocated more resources than the IsiXhosa publication –​Isolezwe lesiXhosa. The STAR newspaper, an English language outlet, is the face of the organisation; the IsiXhosa or isiZulu newspapers are not. In the grand scheme of things, English language newspapers are viewed as indispensable to the organisations’ success whilst the opposite is true for isiXhosa language press. The same is true for Caxton Media, the publishers of BONA magazine. The organisation’s magazines and one newspaper –​The Citizen –​ are mostly published in English, and it is essentially an English language organisation. This perhaps explains why, at BONA, the stories are conceptualised and written in English before being translated to IsiXhosa. In light of the above, it is arguable that, since Isolezwe lesiXhosa conceptualises stories and writes them in isiXhosa, the newspaper does more for the language’s development than BONA. This is because translation has its own problems, as

isiXhosa language newspapers  231 sometimes there are no direct translations from English to isiXhosa and vice versa such that some meanings are lost in the process. Despite this, translation could be a way of cutting costs of gathering news whereby, instead of hiring some journalists fluent in isiXhosa and others fluent in English, Caxton Media uses only English to gather, conceptualise and write news, then translates it into indigenous languages. This is definitely cheaper than hiring journalists to gather and write news in each language. This arrangement exposes the conglomerated nature of Caxton Media and testifies to its lack of content diversity. The same journalists produce the same content in English for its various publications  –​content that is then translated to isiXhosa; it is the same content, just presented in different languages. Thus, it seems likely that the commercial considerations  –​the bottom line   –​did not only lead to plurality without diversity but also resulted in the relegation of indigenous languages to a place of insignificance at Caxton Media. This demonstrates that English is the language of the institution whilst indigenous languages, such as isiXhosa, are reduced to secondary languages. However, isolezwe lesiXhosa, established in 2015, has been steadily improving despite Independent Media giving preference to English and Afrikaans publications. This could be because the stories are conceptualised and written in isiXhosa, or because readers are able to relate with its stories since the stories are conceptualised in the language of the target audience. The foregoing findings confirm Salawu’s (2015) subsidiary model of indigenous language media in Africa. Both Caxton Media and Independent Media view indigenous language publications as less important than the English and Afrikaans products. This explains why BONA allocates no resources (staff, money, equipment, etc.) to gather news in isiXhosa, instead opting to allocate resources for the translation of English stories into isiXhosa. This, as shall be elaborated later, is a cheaper way of ‘producing’ isiXhosa news. Similarly, at Independent Media, the English and Afrikaans newspapers are more dominant than indigenous newspapers, including Isolezwe lesiXhosa, and they are allocated more resources. This occurs despite the fact that some indigenous language newspapers, such as Independent Media’s isiZulu newspaper, Isolezwe, are performing well (see Wasserman and Ndlovu 2015). The Star, an English language newspaper, is Independent Media’s flagship publication. The two media organisations’ apparent preference for the English and Afrikaans publications, regardless of the successes of indigenous language newspapers, demonstrates the dominance of the English language. It is evidence, as discussed in detail below, of coloniality of  power. The findings also confirm the assertions of political economists that market considerations, or media commercialism, shapes the content produced (see Herman and Chomsky 1988; Golding and Murdock 1991). This study adds that it is not only the content that is determined by structural issues, such as ownership, control and advertising, but also the language of the media. In a context where a language may be deemed unprofitable, it may be relegated to a place of insignificance or be abandoned. The demise of isiXhosa language publications is thus no surprise given these organizational constraints placed on them due to bottom-​line

232  Mbuyekezo Njeje and Albert Chibuwe considerations. The relegation of isiXhosa to a secondary language should thus be understood in the context of Wasserman’s (2008) observation that, ‘despite far-​reaching changes in ownership structures and editorial changes to bring about racial transformation in the media industry after apartheid, [mainstream media] are still beholden to those sections of the public conventionally thought to be favoured by advertisers’ (786). The changes in ownership structure and editorial policies in mainstream media post-​apartheid has not resulted in a broadening of readership to include the previously marginalised groups (Wasserman 2008). In other words, despite the change in the racial composition of ownership and editorial policies, the previously marginalised readers and languages remain side-​ lined. The commercial imperative has endured, thus the outlets continue to be beholden to the readers in whom advertisers target, and these readers, arguably, prefer the foreign language. In light of this, the colonial languages’ –​in this case, English and Afrikaans –​ continued dominance in post-​apartheid South Africa is reflective of coloniality of power and being. It also reflects the constancy of commercialism in media and the pervasiveness of capitalism, even in post-​apartheid South Africa. Indeed, Teer-​ Tomaselli and Tomaselli (1987) observe that, during the colonial era, the African press, funded by whites but edited by blacks, was virulently anti-​apartheid but not necessarily anti-​capitalism. It is thus arguable that language and capitalism are some of the avenues through which the former colonisers continue to wield power. In effect, the English language is not only the language of dominance but also the language of capitalism, and the European ownership of the institutions under study perpetuates the dominance of English over isiXhosa. Furthermore, Caxton Media’s policy (though not written) does not promote the development of isiXhosa. This is because it involves knowledge transfer, not knowledge production. The knowledge that is being transferred or translated has been in existence for a certain time. BONA magazine does not necessarily produce knowledge in isiXhosa, it only transfers knowledge and information to isiXhosa from English. This, in a way, perpetuates the long-​held notion that the south is not a place of knowledge production. It also extends, and is reflective of, Eurocentric notions that development in the Global South can only happen through knowledge and technology transfer from the Global North. However, even though English is dominant at Independent Media, Isolezwe lesiXhosa is arguably involved in knowledge production since the stories are conceived and written in isiXhosa. In so far as the production of stories in isiXhosa is concerned, the two publications are using different approaches, though at face value they might be viewed as serving the same purpose. Meanwhile, the audience, as noted by the translators at BONA, is hoodwinked into thinking that the magazine is not a translated text. Nevertheless, despite the fact that, unlike BONA magazine, Isolezwe lesiXhosa conceptualises and writes stories in IsiXhosa, the situations at Caxton Media and Independent Media are not very different. Firstly, even though news is conceptualised and written in isiXhosa at Isolezwe lesiXhosa, the publication is given less prominence than the English language publications under Independent Media. It is marginalized, and that, in turn, marginalises the language in the

isiXhosa language newspapers  233 institution. This is despite the fact that the newspaper has been steadily improving since its establishment in 2015. Secondly, neither company’s editorial policies (written or unwritten) have been adjusted to accommodate isiXhosa. Indigenous language publications are thus expected to fit into a predominantly English language culture at both Caxton Media and Independent Media. For example, Caxton Media does not have a written editorial policy, but they use the South African Press Code, which is derived from section 16 of the South African Constitution. This section provides for freedom of expression, freedom of the press and freedom to impart and to receive information, among others. It forbids incitement of racial, religious, ethnic and gender hatred. On the other hand, Independent Media does have a code of conduct. This, however, commits the company to upholding the laws of South Africa and the Constitution. It emphasises legality and frowns upon ‘discrimination, racism and hate speech’. It is, however, silent on the issue of indigenous languages. Both Caxton Media and Independent Media commit to uphold the laws and constitution of South Africa. It is apparent from the foregoing that both institutions’ editorial policies are in tandem with section 16 of the South African Constitution. The net effect of this is that section 16 is sewn into the cultural fibre of Caxton Media and Independent Media, and it is a cultural fibre that is white and neo-​liberal. In other words, both Caxton Media and Independent Media are white institutions with a white –​specifically English –​organisational culture. It is a culture that views indigenous languages as the ‘other’, therefore, it is unsurprising that the languages are marginalised. There is a perpetuation of the colonial assumptions of indigenous languages as less important than the colonial languages. This perpetuation is made more glaring by the fact that Independent Media’s Zulu newspaper, Isolezwe, is a commercial success (see Wasserman 2008; Wasserman and Ndlovu 2015) and has been steadily improving.

The paradox of the relegation of isiXhosa to a secondary position The findings demonstrate that indigenous language publications and the isiXhosa language were relegated to a secondary position at both Caxton Media and Independent Media. This was mainly because they are not considered profitable whilst the English language is considered the language of the institutions into which isiXhosa had to fit. Moreover, the languages are marginalised by inclusion since their presence does not necessarily entail the full involvement of the previously marginalised readers. These readers, as demonstrated by Wasserman (2008), remain marginalised by the post-​apartheid press, which remains beholden to the readers that interest advertisers. In this case, isiXhosa has been included, paradoxically, to increase profits. It is a paradox because the language is deemed too unimportant to deserve to be used in conceptualising and writing stories, but at the same, it is needed to mop up the little money they can from isiXhosa, IsiZulu and seSotho readers without incurring extra costs to produce an isiXhosa, isiZulu or seSotho publication. Most

234  Mbuyekezo Njeje and Albert Chibuwe likely, Caxton Media realised that translation is the only way to make money from indigenous language newspaper readers without incurring extra costs. Translation of English into isiXhosa, isiZulu and seSotho was thus a way of increasing revenue streams in an era where commercial considerations take precedence over public interest issues, such as language development. Translating English stories into African language print media thus provides a profit-​raising alternative for the media conglomerates. Since privately owned media are, unlike the publicly-​ owned South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), under no obligation to serve the public interest, they are equally not required to aid in the development of the previously marginalised indigenous languages, such as isiXhosa. It is therefore arguable that the treatment of indigenous languages as secondary by both BONA and Independent Media could be because they believe that indigenous language newspapers are unsustainable. Privately owned media’s obligation is to their shareholders, consequently, profit maximization takes precedence over everything else (see Herman and Chomsky 1988; Golding and Murdock 1991). However, the success of the KwaZulu-​Natal Zulu newspaper, Isolezwe (see Wasserman and Ndlovu 2015), owned –​ironically –​by Independent Media, casts doubt on the assumption that indigenous languages are not profitable. In light of this, the use of isiXhosa was likely not meant to aid in the development and sustenance of the language but to exploit it and its speakers for commercial gain. The policies at both Caxton Media and Independent Media reduced indigenous languages to artificial minorities within the institutions, yet the print texts serve a larger audience than English and Afrikaans readers. This could be because isiXhosa speakers, many as they are, are considered less lucrative customer bases than the Afrikaans-​and English-​speaking pools, few as they are. This is because advertisers are not necessarily interested in the general number of readers but in the number of successfully targeted readers, or readers with disposable income (see Herman and Chomsky 1988; Golding and Murdock 1991). In this respect, a publication that is able to deliver, for example, 10,000 of the wealthiest readers generates more revenue than one that delivers 100,000 low-​income readers. Given that the end of apartheid did not result in widespread economic transformation, the economic marginalization of black South Africans translates to the marginalization of their languages and indigenous language newspapers by media proprietors and advertisers. The reality that media are, first and foremost, businesses in search of profit (see Golding and Murdock 1991) explains the marginalization of the isiXhosa language and publications at Caxton Media and Independent Media. This marginalization could also be a manifestation of the subsistence of coloniality in post-​apartheid South Africa. Apart from the above, the condition of indigenous language newspapers, including isiXhosa language press, has not been helped by its abandonment by the black elites created by the Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) program. As black elites were co-​opted into white companies, such as Caxton Media and Independent Media, instead of starting their own indigenous language newspapers, the language and the potential for establishing indigenous language outlets were abandoned. In this context, these new black elites simply fit into white spaces and

isiXhosa language newspapers  235 adopted the shapes of these spaces. This is plausible given Quijano’s (2000) observation that European culture is seductive and gives access to power that has always been yearned for by black people; this power, according to Quijano, also grants access to participation and material benefits enjoyed by Europeans (Quijano 2000). The co-​optation of the Africans impedes the cultural production of the dominated (Quijano 2000). Consequently, the presence of black shareholders, editors and journalists in white-​dominated media organisations does not necessarily change the state of affairs. For example, Cyril Ramaphosa and Tokyo Sexwale, both ruling African National Congress (ANC) party politicians, have at different times had significant interest in media –​through Johnnic Communications and Avusa Media, respectively –​but they never attempted to establish indigenous language newspapers. The enduring nature of coloniality could be the reason why changes in ownership and editorial structures of post-​apartheid South African media did not, as observed by Wasserman (2008), result in a broadening of readers to include the previously marginalised groups. This could be because the indigenous language newspapers’ editors and journalists are, just like their apartheid-​era forerunners, ‘subject in varying degrees to white editorial policies’ (Teer-​Tomaselli and Tomaselli 1987, 52). This arguably explains why the isiXhosa language and publications have not attained the prominence they deserve in the studied media organisations. The paradox occurs also at an inter-​organizational level, where both Caxton Media and Independent Media appear, at face value, as if they are serving the same purpose in so far as isiXhosa is concerned. However, the fact that one translates English stories to isiXhosa whilst the other conceives and writes its stories in isiXhosa demonstrates that the two are different. However, the silence on language issues by both media houses demonstrates that language equity and development are not on their agenda. In effect, the policies (both written and unwritten) imply that the media houses’ goal is profit maximization, even as they give the impression of being legal, objective and socially responsible. Stated differently, the editorial policies demonstrate that the media houses do not intend to gather and distribute controversial news that interferes with the buying mood (Herman and Chomsky 1988). The implied definition of newsworthiness in the editorial policy of Independent Media and Caxton Media (as inferred from the South African Press Code) is within the limits of what is acceptable to the powerful interests that own, control and finance the media. Furthermore, Independent Media’s commitment that ‘articles published on companies, investment products or shares in which the journalist or publisher has an interest should disclose the journalist’s or publisher’s financial interest’ is an attempt to convince potential advertisers or funders that they will be treated equally. It is a commitment to transparency designed to maximise profit. No such commitment is made to promote the indigenous isiXhosa language. As Herman and Chomsky (1988) argue, It is our view that, among their other functions, the media serve, and propagandize on behalf of, the powerful societal interests that control and finance

236  Mbuyekezo Njeje and Albert Chibuwe them. The representatives of these interests have important agendas and principles that they want to advance, and they are well positioned to shape and constrain media policy. This is normally not accomplished by crude intervention, but by the selection of right-​thinking personnel and by the editors’ and working journalists’ internalization of priorities and definitions of newsworthiness that conform to the institution’s policy. (xi) The editorial policies of both media institutions under study require editors and journalists to internalise the South African Press Code and the editorial policies of the two companies. Indeed, they are expected to understand that writing and publishing articles for companies that a journalist, an editor or a publisher has an interest in, without revealing it, is bad for business. It taints the newsworthiness of the story and, to avoid such cases, Independent Media’s Press Code unequivocally states that ‘conflicts of interest must be avoided’. This is arguably because it threatens the bottom line. In light of the foregoing, the editorial policies of both Caxton Media and Independent Media are geared towards advancing media commercialism and are not meant to promote the indigenous isiXhosa language. In this context, the incorporation of the language is for the purpose of widening the revenue bases of the two organisations as opposed to language development. BONA’s simple translation of English stories into isiXhosa is a forceful testimony of this. In other words, the institutional culture of these Eurocentric institutions is such that they ‘assimilate’ or integrate local languages like isiXhosa just for appearances; the indigenous language is nothing but a commodity that is disposable if it is not making a profit for the company. The disposability of isiXhosa can best be elaborated by the silence of the editorial policies of the two organisations on the language. Neither company has a language policy  –​they are silent, as opposed to the SABC, which does outline a language policy. As noted above, the Caxton Media and Independent Media are privately owned, whilst SABC is publicly owned. This also demonstrates the disposability of isiXhosa at the two media houses even though the silence creates the illusion of equity between foreign and indigenous languages. It is an illusion that tries to mask the subsidiary position of the indigenous language newspapers. However, the silence itself lays bare the disadvantaged position of indigenous languages  –​a position they have occupied from the time they came into contact with European languages. The neo-​liberal nature of the editorial policies means that issues of colonial language imbalances are ignored largely because liberalism is ahistorical. By creating the illusion of responsible journalism, Caxton Media’s and Independent Media’s editorial policies perpetuate European colonial assumptions of the black African (language) as the ‘other’. Thus, the media are one of the institutions through which coloniality is perpetuated in post-​apartheid South Africa.

isiXhosa language newspapers  237

Conclusion The study concludes that, since the editorial policy of a private print media company cannot be discussed and analysed separately from the economic objectives that drive the company, the policies of the selected media organisations are reflective of the agendas of the forces that shape Caxton Media’s and Independent Media’s operations. These forces include the profit motive, but underlying them is coloniality of power. The institutions’ editorial policies are influenced by the white culture of the organisations and, as such, isiXhosa is not given the same prominence as the English language. The indigenous language publications are viewed as subsidiaries and are given less attention and resources whilst major focus is put on the English and Afrikaans publications. This is arguably because the organisations are beholden to the same audiences that are perceived by advertisers as profitable (see Wasserman 2008). Similarly, the underlying colonial attitudes that informed them at their foundation did not die with apartheid, and the same attitudes shape the editorial policies and cultures of the institutions. The predominance of the commercial imperative is evidenced by Independent Media’s policy that assures its corporate clients of transparency. The two media organisations’ adherence to the South African Press Code’s neo-​liberal code of ethics demonstrates their desire to stick to acceptable journalistic practices. This confirms Herman and Chomsky’s (1988) observation that newsworthiness is determined by powerful interests who ensure adherence to their goals by employing like-​minded journalists and editors. In the context of post-​ apartheid South Africa the presence of African journalists, editors and shareholders in white media institutions does not necessarily transform how indigenous language publications and indigenous languages are viewed. These are co-​opted into white capitalistic spaces and are used to advance white agendas. Consequently, the use of the indigenous language media, whether through translation of English stories to isiXhosa or through the creation of stories in indigenous languages, is designed to increase revenue streams at the lowest possible cost. Translation arguably cuts the cost of news gathering for Caxton Media whilst increasing revenue. However, the secondary position to which the indigenous language publications are relegated in these predominantly English media institutions demonstrates, despite the success of Zulu newspapers, such as Isolezwe, a lack of faith in the viability of indigenous language newspapers. The lack of commitment to these outlets –​and the fact that private media are under no obligation to make such a commitment notwithstanding –​is evidence that the languages are viewed as secondary to English (and Afrikaans) in terms of profitability. It is therefore arguable that, apart from content, the language of the news media is also influenced by economic (profit motive) and political (racial dominance) considerations. The domain of media and language is one area in which coloniality is perpetuated. Given Caxton Media and Independent Media’s embeddedness in

238  Mbuyekezo Njeje and Albert Chibuwe capitalism and colonialism at the level of ownership and funding, it is inconceivable that these can be able to appreciate and articulate the development of isiXhosa. The two institutions were clearly not made for isiXhosa, and to expect the language to flourish under institutions with a white cultural identity is unrealistic. It is therefore not surprising that, at Independent Media, Isolezwe lesiXhosa is marginalised whilst Caxton Media’s BONA simply translates English stories into isiXhosa. Translation of English stories to isiXhosa does not, in any way, aid in the development of isiXhosa. If anything, it demonstrates the lack of diversity of Caxton Media content, thus lending credence to Golding and Murdock’s (1991) observation that media commercialism has led to plurality without diversity. There is simply production of more of the same. Overall, the chapter concludes that indigenous isiXhosa language newspapers and indigenous languages are treated as secondary or subsidiary in mainly white-​owned media organisations because of economic considerations and enduring colonial attitudes.

Reference Adedeji, A.O. 2015. “Analysis of Use of English and Indigenous Languages by the Press in Selected African Countries.” Arabian Journal of Business and Management Review (OMAN Chapter) 4(8): 35–​45. Andersen, W.E., and K.O. Ragnhild. 1997. Press Freedom and Democracy in Zimbabwe. Oslo: University of  Oslo. Chibuwe, A. forthcoming. “Indigenous Language Newspapers in Zimbabwe –​Kwayedza and Umthunywa –​and the Struggle for Survival.” In African Language Media: Development, Economics and Management, edited by A. Salawu. London: Routledge. Chibuwe, A., and A. Salawu. 2020. “Mainstream English Language Press Journalists’ Perceptions towards the Indigenous Language Press in Zimbabwe.” African Journalism Studies. doi: 10.1080/​23743670.2020.1751227 Dombo, S. 2014. “Daily Struggles:  Private Print Media, the State, and Democratic Governance in Zimbabwe in the Case of the African Daily News (1956–​64) and the Daily News (1999–​2003).” PhD diss., University of Kwazulu-​Natal, South Africa. Golding, P., and G. Murdock. 1991. Culture, Communication and Political Economy. From Mass Media and Society. London: Edward Arnold. Gwala, N. 2019. “Audience Interaction on Isolezwe lesiXhosa Facebook Page.” Honours research project, North-​West University, South Africa. Herman, E.S., and N. Chomsky. 1988. Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media. New York: Pantheon Books. Karam, B. 2018. “Theorising Political Communication in Africa.” In Perspectives on Political Communication in Africa, edited by B. Mutsvairo and B. Karam, 27–​44. Cham: Palgrave MacMillan. Kaschula, R. 2006. “Indigenous Languages and the Media in South Africa.” Acta Academica Supplementum 2006(2): 141–​159. Khuzwayo, T. 2010. “Bona, Barometer of the Decades.” Current Writing, Text and Reception in Southern Africa 22(1): 146–​154. Mignolo, W. 2007. “Coloniality and Modernity/​Rationality.” Cultural Studies 21 (2–​3): 155–​167.

isiXhosa language newspapers  239 Mignolo, W. 2011. The Darker Side of Modernity: Global Futures, Decolonial Options. London: Duke University Press. Moyo, L., and B. Mutsvairo. 2018. “Can the Subaltern Think? The Decolonial Turn in Communication Research in Africa.” In Perspectives on Political Communication in Africa, edited by B. Mutsvairo and B. Karam, 3–​26. Cham: Palgrave MacMillan. Nakata, N.M., V. Nakata, S. Keech, and R. Bolt. 2012. “Decolonial Goals and Pedagogies for Indigenous Studies.” Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education and Society 1(1): 120–​140. Quijano, A. 2000. “Coloniality of Power and Eurocentrism in Latin America.” International Sociology 15(2): 215–​232. Salawu, A. 2006a. “Indigenous Language Media: A Veritable Tool for African Language Learning.” Journal of Multicultural Discourses 1(1):  86–​95. doi:  10.1080/​10382040 608668533 Salawu, A. 2006b. “Rich History, Uncertain Future.” Rhodes Journalism Review 26: 55–​56. Salawu, A. 2008. “Essentials of Indigenous Languages to Journalism Education in Nigeria.” Global Media Journal African Edition 2(1): 1–​14. Salawu, A. 2015. “A Political Economy of sub-​Saharan African Language Press: The Case of Nigeria and South Africa.” Review of African Political Economy 42(144): 299–​313. Teer-​Tomaselli, R., and K. Tomaselli. 1987. “The Political Economy of the South Africa Press.” In Narrating the Crisis: Hegemony and the South African Press, Volume 2, edited by K. Tomaselli, R. Teer-​Tomaselli, and J. Muller, 39–​117. London: James Curray. Wasserman, H. 2008. “Attack of the Killer Newspapers!” Journalism Studies 9(5): 786–​797. doi: 10.1080/​14616700802207797 Wasserman, H. and M. Ndlovu. 2015. “Reading Tabloids in Zulu: A Case of Isolezwe.” Communitas 20: 140–​158.

Part V

Focus on the broadcast media

14  News syndication and local language broadcasting in South Africa Hegemonic infiltration or hybridity? Tendai Chari Introduction The role of public service broadcasters in reflecting and enhancing national identity, culture and heritage in its diversity is widely acknowledged (Nicoli 2014; Iosifidis 2007). Against this backdrop, the promotion and development of indigenous minority languages is still considered a critical function of public broadcasters globally, not least in developing societies facing the onslaught of globalization. In South Africa, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) is constitutionally mandated to ensure that minority languages are protected from extinction. Informed by the imperative to redress historical colonial effects of apartheid, the SABC has an obligation to promote and develop the country’s eleven official languages, particularly the historically marginalized minority African languages. This policy is deeply entrenched in various pieces of legislation, regulations and policies that underpin the constitutional requirement of equitable treatment of all languages (Obijiofor 2011, 5). To this extent, the constitution stipulates that SABC must ensure that all the official languages in the country enjoy ‘equitable treatment’ and ‘parity of esteem’ (Government of South Africa 1996). The SABC thus commits itself to providing a ‘range of distinctive, creative and top quality programmes in all the eleven official languages’ across its radio and television portfolio as well as maintaining distinct and separate radio services in each of the official languages. SABC agreed to produce programming accessible to all the audiences, and ‘in that regard language is fundamental to meaningful communication’ (SABC n.d.). While the goal of promoting and developing minority languages is plausible, it has not always been achievable for different reasons. Historically marginalized indigenous languages, for instance, continue to play second fiddle to colonial languages, which dominate SABC programming. It appears that English language content intrusions into indigenous language radio broadcasts are increasing. A more worrisome, but under-​researched, practice is the increase in syndicated news on indigenous language news bulletins. While the main news bulletins on SABC provincial radio stations are in indigenous languages, it is common to have news items outsourced from English language SABC radio and television stations being aired without being translated for the African language radio

244  Tendai Chari station’s audience. This is problematic because some of the elderly who reside in rural areas do not understand English and may miss important information. It is also possible that these indigenous language radio stations may lose their cultural and linguistic authenticity. This chapter examines the use of syndicated news audio clips on Phalaphala FM, an SABC indigenous language radio station that broadcasts in Tshivenda.1 In particular, the chapter addresses three questions: How are syndicated audio clips used on Phalaphala FM news bulletins? Why does Phalaphala FM use English audio clips and soundbites on its news bulletins? What are the implications of using English audio clips on an African language radio station? The chapter further reflects on the future prospects of indigenous language broadcasting in the context of neo-​liberalism and globalization. The investigation was triggered by the author’s observation that, during discussion programs, Phalaphala FM presenters discouraged callers from using English or mixing it with indigenous languages. The author assumed that presenters insisted on Tshivenda to benefit listeners who do not understand English. It was intriguing to realize that, while radio presenters insisted on Tshivenda only during other programmes, this was not the case during news bulletins. If anything, the use of English audio clips appeared to be increasing. Against this backdrop, the study sought to understand how these syndicated news clips were used, why they were used, and their possible impact on the radio station’s identity, as well as its audience. The ultimate objective was to gain deeper insights into the practice of news syndication in the context of public service broadcasting. The rest of this chapter is divided into four parts. The first part surveys literature on news syndication and provides a conceptual context to the phenomenon of news syndication. Conceptions of syndication, its manifestations, and its impact on radio broadcasting are examined here. The second part is a methodological discussion that outlines and justifies the methods employed in the study. The third part discusses the three main themes that relate to the three research questions identified, namely, how syndicated material is used, why it is used and the implications of its use. The fourth and final section of the chapter gives conclusive remarks and critically reflects on the findings of the study and its contribution to the body of knowledge.

African language radio broadcasting and syndication There is little formal literature on news syndication. Much of the existing commentary is found in online opinion articles on blogs and Wikipedia (Halbrooks 2018; Furtado 2014; Prato 1992). Existing writings mainly foreground syndication as a revenue-​boosting strategy in competitive media markets (Prato 1992; Furtado 2014). There are also some snippets of literature on the efficacy of syndication as a media content marketing strategy in the context of digital technologies, such as Web 2.0 (Clarke 2007), or lamentations of its potential to debase journalistic values (Edo et  al. 2019). None of the available studies clearly focus on the ramifications of news syndication in local language radio broadcasting, particularly in contexts where indigenous languages are historically marginalized.

News syndication in South Africa  245 Therein lies the focus of this chapter. In considering the ramifications of news syndication, the assumption is that syndication can either result in the erosion of indigenous language radio stations’ identity or in cultural hybridity emanating from the mixing of languages in a single news bulletin. The term syndication has been used differently in different contexts. The English Oxford dictionary defines a ‘syndicate’ as an agency that supplies materials simultaneously to several newspapers, while the verb ‘to syndicate’ means ‘to publish or broadcast (material) simultaneously in a number of newspapers [or] television stations’ (Louw 2016). Rouse (2005) conceives of syndication as ‘the supply of material for reuse and integration with other material, often through a paid service subscription’. Meanwhile, Randall’s (1993) definition of syndication as ‘the selling of programs produced at one station or production house to other radio stations’ (26) is more relevant to the present study as it relates to radio broadcasting. At the core of these definitions is the commercial motive of syndication, what Prato (1992) refers to as ‘the syndication bonanza’ (1). The concept of syndication has a long history, dating as far back as the 1800s when Moses Y. Beach, publisher of the New York Sun, covered the cost of paying a messenger, who brought a copy of President John Tyler’s annual message to New York from Washington, by selling extra copies of the news sheet that contained this message to several other newspapers (McDougall 1942). However, Samuel Clure is credited for setting up the first permanent syndicate in 1884 before the concept flourished and was adopted by news services, such as the Associated Press (AP), United Press (UP) and International News Service (McDougall 1942, 76). For a very long time, before the technological explosion in the 1990s, syndication was associated with the newspaper publishing industry and newswire services, which provided ‘identical material to thousands of clients’ (McDougall 1942, 76). Randall (1993, 26) notes that in Australia, syndication dates to the 1930s when stations such as 2UE and 2GB started selling their news services through the distribution of tapes. It is instructive to note how the central tenets of syndication revolve around the circulation of identical newspaper content. Over the years, the concept of syndication has evolved and now encompasses radio, television and web-​based content made available to multiple platforms. Rouse (2005) notes that the most common forms of syndicated content are found in newspapers in which content, such as wire service news, comics, columns, horoscopes and crossword puzzles, is published in different newspapers at the same time. A newspaper or broadcast station may sign a contract with a syndicator who supplies them with different types of content that are deemed of interest to the purchasing company (Halbrooks 2018). The syndicated content can either be published as it is or repurposed to fit the interests, desires and tastes of a particular station. Repurposing of syndicated content is a clear indication that each medium has its own unique focus and audience with equally unique cultural values. Syndication takes different forms, such as affiliate syndicates, whereby content is produced by a parent company and aired in subsidiary stations. In Australia, Austereo, one of the major radio networks, ‘produces syndicated programming for its own stations’ (Randall 1993, 26). Other syndicates employ a barter system

246  Tendai Chari in which the syndicator guarantees exposure in identified metropolitan and regional radio stations. The accruing advertising revenue is channelled directly to the syndicator, who provides the programme to the stations free of charge or for an amount equivalent to the cost of adverts used by the syndicated programme (Randall 1993, 26). Syndicated programmes are delivered to client stations with spaces in which the client stations insert their own station identities, advertisements, local news and weather. Thus, syndicated news may undergo ‘repurposing’ to conform with the unique identity of client stations, as well as their local or regional needs (Randall 1993).

Ramifications of syndication Dominant literature on syndication accentuates its benefits at the expense of its detrimental impacts, particularly to the audience. There is more emphasis on the benefits of content syndication to media owners and less on its benefits to the audience. McDougall (1942) notes how, in the 1940s, syndicates made huge sums of money by selling content in the United States. In India, news networks, such as ZEEL, Multi-​Screen Media (MSM) and other broadcasters, have boosted their revenues through content syndication (Furtado 2014). MSM realises big business from English shows and other content, which they syndicate to countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh and other Southern Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries (Furtado 2014). Prato (1992) notes how broadcasters in the United States were cashing in on syndicated news inserts in the 1990s, as they sought to exploit an existing market to fill airtime by stations that had a shortage of breaking news. In India, content syndication took a global dimension with the country’s television networks targeting the Indian diaspora by partnering with international players. Some of their TV shows have been syndicated in Hindi and have been dubbed in more than sixteen languages (Furtado 2014). The flow of Indian cultural products into global markets is an indication that content syndication should be viewed not just as a vehicle for financial capital, but also as a powerful conduit for intercultural communication and cultural syncretism and a platform for cultural diplomacy. The digital revolution has significantly transformed the way in which media content is distributed, with the Web becoming the major vehicle through which media content is produced, retrieved, filtered and distributed. Studies have noted how news organizations are leveraging the Internet to distribute text, audio, video and graphics through social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds. This strand of literature has amplified the benefits of the Internet as a content marketing tool (du Plessis 2017; Dessart et al. 2015; Clarke 2007), while some scholars have alluded to the democratising potential of Web content syndication (Elghoul et  al. 2012; Wegrzyn-​Wolska 2005). Elghoul et al. (2012) note that web content syndication offers benefits to content producers, publishers, advertisers and users. Although dominant literature foregrounds the benefits of content syndication, there are some snippets of literature that focus on its negative impacts (Elghoul et al. 2012; Edo et al. 2019). Elghoul et al. (2012) note how Web content syndication

News syndication in South Africa  247 may exclude some segments of the population, such as the illiterate and deaf, who cannot access certain syndicated material because it is produced in textual format. They point out that, unlike oral languages which have sequential phonemic systems, ‘sign languages are characterized by their visual aspect, meaning that they do not have a recognized written form’ (Elghoul et al. 2012, 2). This means that non-​hearing people cannot access most of the syndicated content on the Web. This is anachronistic to the democratising potential of content syndication and demonstrates the tendency for syndication to exclude certain members of society, particularly if content is not repurposed to meet the unique needs of an audience. Edo et al. (2019) lamented the devaluation of ‘professional journalism criterion’ (2) through news aggregation, whereby digital news is selected based on search engine algorithms, the votes of users and the preferences of users’ algorithms, while journalists are eliminated from the process of determining the newsworthiness of events. For these scholars, debasement in journalistic standards manifests itself through the fact that ‘this unmediated surfeit of news can quickly devolve into a dearth of information’ whereby users must spend a lot of time learning how to organize their feeds and sources so that they do not get overwhelmed (Edo et al. 2019, 2). While this study sheds important light on the detrimental effects of syndication on the Web, there is little literature that focuses on the same in radio broadcasting, which is the focus of this study. Randall’s opinion article, titled ‘Syndication Steadily Erodes Radio’2 and published in the February 1993 issue of Communications Update, echoes the concerns of this study. Randall (1993) notes how, for instance, syndication was significantly transforming radio broadcasting in Australia in that programs, such as music, talk shows, sport and talkback shows, ‘were widely creeping from the mid-​night to dawn slots’ to evening and weekend slots, thereby ‘posing a serious threat to localism’ (26). The low cost of syndicated material, compared to producing either in-​house news and talk programmes or musical programmes hosted by DJs, was the main reason for the popularity of syndicated content. Randall (1993) explains thus: For the most simple night time DJ-​only music program, the cost of an announcer may be $25,000 per year in a country station. For $5,000–​$6,000 a year, that station can buy a satellite service to fill overnight time slots. Some of the satellite delivered services cost as little as $2–​$3 an hour. For news programs, the cost differential is more startling. It is estimated that to buy a syndicated national news service costs roughly one per cent of the cost of producing the same service per year, even less in a smaller market. (26) The foregoing statement illustrates how financial benefits may supersede the detrimental effects of content syndication, such as the erosion of the local identity of radio stations. Randall (1993) sums up this view thus: It is the cost of syndicated programming which represents the real threat to localism. Regional radio revenues are already under pressure from aggregation of regional TV, and competition for advertising revenue will increase

248  Tendai Chari once pay TV and other new commercial services are introduced. The radio share of the advertising revenue pie is almost certain to decrease. Stations will almost certainly have to cut expenditure on programming, and syndication will increasingly be seen as the cheaper option. (26) The above quotation illustrates that dwindling revenues among broadcasters, owing to increased competition for the advertising revenues and fragmentation of audiences, coupled with the cheaper price of syndicated content, are the key factors undermining the quest for regional radio stations to preserve their identities. While Randall’s essay contributes critical insights into the detrimental effects of content syndication in radio broadcasting, the focus was on commercial radio stations rather than public service radio broadcasting contexts, the latter of which is the subject of the present chapter. The assumption is that public service broadcasters, such as Phalaphala FM, which are publicly funded, are cushioned by the vagaries of market competition and would therefore try to stick to their mandates, one of which is the promotion and development of indigenous minority languages. Public service broadcasters are not precluded from economic pressures in the era of neo-​liberalism. It could be argued that, despite the financial benefits of content syndication and the great potential of cutting costs, the one-​size-​fits-​all approach to syndicated content may be detrimental rather than beneficial to the defined target audience of indigenous language broadcasting.

Syndication as hegemonic infiltration: a conceptual framework There are different ways of interpreting the impact of syndicated content on the identity of indigenous language radio stations, such as Phalaphala FM. On the one hand, the use of English audio clips on indigenous language stations reflects the subtle but hegemonic infiltration in local language broadcasting. On the other hand, it could be interpreted as an indication of a positive cultural syncretism in a globalizing world, a celebration of hybridity and a tacit acceptance of the inevitability of change underwritten by the forces of globalization (Kraidy 2002). As more syndicated material ‘colonises’ air-​time reserved for African languages, the difference between an indigenous language radio station and its English counterpart becomes blurred. The hegemonic argument captures the negative articulations of content syndication while hybridization mirrors its positive justifications, including the economic arguments. The concept of hegemony, attributable to Italian intellectual Antonio Gramsci, illustrates the way in which dominant cultures propagate their own beliefs to the extent that they become common sense (Fiske 1990, 176). In this study, such domination is reflected in the way media managers and listeners of Phalaphala FM justify the inclusion of English audios and sound bites in news bulletins, thereby affirming the supremacy of the English language. Citing Nodenstreng, Lull (1995) asserts that the mass media, as powerful institutions of

News syndication in South Africa  249 dispensing ideas, ‘introduce elements that would not otherwise appear there but will not be rejected by consciousness because they are commonly shared in the cultural community’ (33). The views expressed by the various respondents in this study in relation to the mixing of English soundbites and Tshivenda language in Phalaphala FM news bulletins hark back to this view, suggesting that the use of English is inevitable. Lull (1995, 33) argues that the mass media, as a cultural institution, are effective in propagating hegemonic views by producing and reproducing content, inflections and ideas that mirror the dominant class’s universe because they manage these powerful institutions, thereby guaranteeing that their points of view are ventilated in the public arena. Hall adds that the powerful class sets the limits of social reality through mental and structural framing of issues, thereby regulating the actions and thoughts of the subordinated groups. This way the dominant class can sustain its dominance (cited in Lull 1995, 34). This is because ideological assertions must be self-​evident, and their effectiveness depends on the subordinated groups accepting the views of the powerful –​a view which dovetails with Lears’s (1985, 574)  assertion that hegemony entails subordinate groups validating their own marginalization. Lears (1985) argues that ‘subordinate groups may participate in maintaining a symbolic universe, even if it serves to legitimate their domination. In other words, they can share a kind of half-​conscious complicity in their own victimization’ (574). The argument advanced by some listeners of Phalaphala FM, that there is nothing wrong about mixing English and Tshivenda in news bulletins, resonates with the notion of half-​consciousness propounded by Lears (1985), and is a clear example of how subordinated groups unwittingly participate in their own marginalization. Such arguments invoke the discourse of hybridity, which celebrates the mixture of languages –​or ‘creolization’, as Bhabha (1994) puts it –​connoting a desirable fusion of cultures ‘that represents the whole world as an egalitarian exchange and positive change’ (Kraidy 2005, vi). Hybridity, thus, connotes democratic expression of multiple affiliations, be they cultural, racial, linguistic or ethnic mixtures, the celebration of cultural differences akin to Kraidy’s ‘mantra of globalization’ (Kraidy 2005, 1). Arguments for and against syndication of content can, therefore, be presented through the hegemonic and hybridity lens.

Methodology This chapter sought an in-​depth understanding of the use of syndicated English audio clips and sound bites on Phalaphala FM, and to establish the reason why Phalaphala FM uses this syndicated material in its news bulletins. The chapter also sought to ascertain the implications of these practices for the promotion and development of African languages. The nature of these questions necessitated a three-​pronged qualitative data collection strategy, which entailed a pilot study, content analysis of Phalaphala news bulletins and in-​depth interviews with three purposively selected SABC staff members from the news department. The nature of the research problem and the research questions, which revolved around

250  Tendai Chari obtaining deeper insights into an under-​researched topic, necessitated the triangulation of data collection methods. In the pilot study, the author’s final-​year students in the three-​year Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies programme, who spoke the Tshivenda3 language and volunteered to participate in the study, were given pieces of paper to respond to the question, ‘What do you think about the use of English audio clips and sound bites on Phalaphala FM?’. Participants were instructed to write as much as possible in ten minutes. Forty-​two students volunteered to answer the question and submitted responses varying from a quarter of a page to a full page. The pilot study was used to generate themes about the issue at hand (Maree 2011) to facilitate more engagement with people who are involved in the packaging of news for Phalaphala FM, as well as to have an informed understanding of how English audio clips and soundbites were being used on the station’s news bulletins. The second stage of the data collection entailed content analysis of ten news bulletins on Phalaphala FM to understand how the English news clips were used on the station. The bulletins spanned a period of one week (20–​27 April 2019). The third and final phase of the data collection entailed in-​depth interviews4 with senior staff at SABC. The aim was to understand why they use these syndicated news clips and sound bites on an African language radio station and to tease out their thoughts about the implications of this practice. Triangulation of data collection was imperative given the underlying assumptions about hegemony  –​ the theoretical framework adopted for this study whereby domination is about ideas reflected in the thinking of institutions (in this case SABC), management, the listeners and the content itself. The next section discusses the three main themes that emerged from the data analysis, namely, how syndicated clips are used, why they are used and their impact on African language broadcasting.

Content syndication: empowerment or dis-​empowerment Phalaphala FM uses English audio clips and soundbites on almost every news bulletin. The audio clips are sourced from the main SABC news pool; Phalaphala FM does not generate news of its own. SABC has a pool of news sources that it supplies to all its radio stations. Whereas in the past, ‘when SABC was still on its feet’ (O15) –​that is, when SABC still had enough money –​English audio clips used to be ‘voiced over’. This is no longer done due to staff shortages. For instance, the eight-​hour news shift is manned by one person who does everything from writing the news and checking the sound to reading the news. O1 explained how the news clips are selected: When the journalists get the sound, they put it, like, in the national file where everyone can access it, but then each and every bulletin editor will have to decide what is good for … what is relevant for them. When we compile the news items, you choose, like, I am starting with Ramaphosa and then … . (O1)

News syndication in South Africa  251 While the larger news pool constitutes a convenient source of news clips, there is an acknowledgement that each radio station serves an audience with unique needs. The clips run simultaneously on all eighteen radio stations owned by SABC, but, in the words of O1, ‘if a clip is running on Metro FM, it is also playing … but then it depends on our line-​up because what is news for Metro FM may not be news for our audience’. This clearly shows that the audio clips are not used randomly, but are selected depending on the needs and requirements of the radio in question. The fact that these audio clips are carefully selected means that the unique needs and identities of the different radio stations is an issue. As a result, the SABC radio stations may end up sounding identical. On the hourly five-​minute news bulletins, it is common to find some or all news items accompanied by an English audio clip. Considering that this was not the case in the past,6 this means that the English language is creeping into airtime previously occupied by Tshivenda, and if this trend continues, Phalaphala FM could lose its unique vibe as a Tshivenda language radio station. It was also observed that English news clips and sound bites feature prominent personalities and elites in South Africa. The main personalities featured in these clips were President Ramaphosa (commenting on the disaster caused by floods in the Kwazulu-​Natal province), the spokesperson of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), the President of the Black First Land First (BLF), the leadership of the Association of Mine Workers and Construction Union (AMCU), the leader of the Economic Freedom Party and Democratic Alliance officials. Clips featuring elite newsmakers were not voiced-​over but were broadcast as they appeared on other SABC stations.7 A senior member of the news team at SABC stated that high-​profile newsmakers are not voiced over, but are allowed to speak for themselves. O1 stated, ‘It’s just that with the voice-​over as well, like, the people, like dignitaries, like the president, we don’t voice them over. That’s the policy, let them speak’. The fact that prominent people are not voiced-​over means that syndication of news promotes dominance of the English language and subordination of African languages and empowers the already powerful members of society. A case in point is Phalaphala FM’s 16:00 news bulletin on 24 April in which a victim of floods in Chatsworth, KwaZulu-​Natal, in 2019  –​who spoke in isiZulu8  –​was voiced over, while the mayor of Chatsworth –​who spoke in English –​was not. J1 stated that, whenever he interviewed someone in Tshivenda, he would translate the conversation into English, but when he interviewed someone in English, he would not translate it into Tshivenda because ‘English is the medium of instruction, it is spoken by many people’. This makes English the de facto language, thereby affirming English’s hegemony over African languages (Skutnabb-​Kangas and Phillipson 1994; Phillipson 2013; Barrantes-​Monero 2018). This shows that indigenous languages are not enjoying equal status in Phalaphala news bulletins.

Pros and cons of syndicated news clips Students who participated in the pilot study were given the following open-​ended question: ‘What do you think about Phalaphala FM’s use of English audio clips

252  Tendai Chari in its news bulletins?’ The question generated mixed responses from the forty-​ two students, thereby broadening the researcher’s grasp of the issue at hand. The responses addressed issues such as whether or not it was appropriate to use English, the rationale for doing so and the effects of such a practice. Responses from students regarding the use of English audio clips on a local language radio station were varied, ranging from good, to bad, to ‘good and bad’. However, there was a strong sentiment that this practice was problematic, with the majority arguing that using English on an African language radio station was undesirable. This sentiment is reflected by the following statements: I think the idea of bringing English radio clips where the radio is supposed to broadcast in vernacular is very wrong because SABC created those radio stations for the purpose of conveying their messages and information through that language (e.g. Tshivenda). (S1) The issue of using the English language in news of a local radio station is inappropriate because there are a lot of people who listen to radio because they think it will be easy for them to understand, as it broadcasts in their home language. So, if they use English, it becomes difficult for the listeners because they are uneducated. (S14) Including English in a local radio station like Phalaphala FM, which is supposed to broadcast as a Tshivenda radio station, is not good, especially in recent days whereby local languages are gradually disappearing. The fact that there are plenty of radio stations broadcasting in different languages shows that local radio stations have a purpose, and their purpose is to spread information through local languages. Local language stations like Phalaphala FM target Venda-​speaking people, and other Venda people do not even know English. Many of them didn’t go to school, for different reasons. Local radio stations have the responsibility to promote and enhance local languages. (S15) The above quotations show that the main reason why including English audio clips in local language radio stations is considered unacceptable is lack of literacy in English, an indication that the station is veering from its mandate of promoting indigenous African languages. However, some respondents felt that using English clips in vernacular news was good because English is a common language. The following statements are illustrative of this: English is a common language in the community. It also makes it easy for everyone to digest what the news is about. It helps those who don’t understand the language to listen to the English version. (S2)

News syndication in South Africa  253 Personally, I think there is no problem with that kind of mixture because what the presenter is doing is just a way of proving that the news that he/​she is presenting does exist. (S10) I think that it is not a bad idea because, even though the target audience are of a specific language/​culture, some of them can understand other languages, but the disadvantage is on those who don’t understand English. (S22) Respondents who supported the inclusion of English audio clips in the news reasoned that English is a unifying language in a multilingual context. They also cited the need for authenticity as the reason why English must be used. Others, however, argued that English audio clips should be translated to help those who are not literate in English to understand. Some of the respondents were ambivalent about the issue. The statements below reflect this lack of clarity. I think that it has both good and bad effects because sometimes things happen in an unexpected manner. By this, I mean that, if an incident occurs in Johannesburg, it might happen that there is no Phalaphala reporter in Johannesburg at that time; it means that they have to listen to others that have reported the incident because they want their listeners to know about that particular incident and it might be too late to send a Tshivenda-​speaking reporter to report on the incident. The bad part is that many primary listeners of Phalaphala FM are illiterate, meaning that because they cannot read and write most of them also do not understand English at all. So, in other words, it might happen that they do not get what the report was all about. Most elders who listen to Phalaphala FM would have missed that message that the reporter is talking about and most of them really value news. (S39) I can say it is fair and at the same time not fair. It can be fair because, like it’s not everyone that speaks/​understands Tshivenda who is in Venda. So, that helps to accommodate everyone. And again it’s not fair because its a local radio station, meaning that it is for the locals and you find that others are not literate and cannot understand English. (S11) The above statements show that the use of English language audio clips is a contested terrain mirroring the competing contours of hegemony and cultural syncretism –​arguments that are at the core of this chapter.

‘Telling it like it is’: enhancing authenticity and credibility The question ‘Why does Phalaphala FM use English audio clips and sound bites?’ yielded several insightful responses. The question was mainly asked to the SABC

254  Tendai Chari official (O1) and two journalists (J1 and J29) but was also addressed by some of the students in the pilot study. Among some of the prominent reasons why Phalaphala FM uses English audio clips were the following: authenticity, lack of resources, industry dynamics and accommodation. The need to make news bulletins more authentic and credible was one of the justifications for mixing English and Tshivenda in Phalaphala FM news broadcasts. It was opined that, for the news bulletins to be authentic and credible, it was imperative to let newsmakers speak for themselves (from the horse’s mouth) rather than voicing them over or summarizing their speeches. O1 argued that using English clips ‘added credibility to our story’. Originality was achieved by giving listeners the exact words spoken by newsmakers. This means that authenticity superseded the sanctity of giving listeners information in their mother language. O1’s statements were echoed by J1 and J2. J1 said that including English news clips ‘added impact and value to the story’ and claimed that he never ran a story without including the voice of the person who had been interviewed. J 1 agreed with both O1 and J2 but offered a legal perspective, stating thus: I heard that they fear being sued a lot because, when they take the voice the way it is, it is not possible to sue because, when we interpret, sometimes you make a mistake; I have not given you the correct interpretation. In that way, so it is simple to be sued, that’s exactly what they told me. That way, they prefer to give the voice the way it is. (J1) Although both O1 and J1 suggested that the main reason why Phalaphala FM uses English audio clips is to make news more authentic and believable, the use of the word ‘credibility’ by O1 suggests a professional angle, while J1’s claim that they are afraid of being ‘sued’ suggests a legal angle. There were also several statements from the students that correlated with O1 and J1’s justification of authenticity. The quotations below are illustrative of this: I think bringing an English clip in Tshivenda news or any other language is important because it sometimes proves the accuracy of the news. People get to understand that the statement was indeed said as it is. (S5) I think that the reason why they do not translate these clips is because of the fact that, through translation, statements lose value or content. The clips enhance originality. Also, avoiding issues of misinterpretation. (S6) Another thing is that the English clip is supporting evidence about what has been reported. (S24)

News syndication in South Africa  255 I cannot deny that the clips are of importance because they serve as proof of what the broadcaster says. (S27) The reason behind the untranslated messages is for the audience to hear exactly what was said. (S28) If a clip is translated from one language to another, the result is a totally different meaning and the original meaning changes. That is why the clips are aired in their original language. (S31) Key words and phrases that reflect the primacy of authenticity or credibility in Phalaphala news bulletins include ‘accuracy of news’, ‘lost in translation’, ‘misinterpretation’, ‘supporting evidence’, ‘originality’, ‘proof ’, ‘exactly what was said’, ‘loss of meaning’ and ‘original meaning’. It is suggested here, albeit unwittingly, that authenticity can only be achieved through unadulterated news clips in English, implying that indigenous languages do not have the capacity to deliver complete information. This clearly masks the hegemonic dominance of English as a language of power. Salawu (2006, 94) notes that an impression has been created that African languages are not complete or adequate, hence they are diffused with foreign words to render them complete. Similarly, suggesting that it is impossible to fully capture the essence of news events in local languages unless augmented by English audio clips and soundbites is a tacit endorsement of English language hegemony.

The resource constraints argument Apart from authenticity, resource constraints were mentioned as one of the reasons why Phalaphala FM used untranslated audio clips during news bulletins. It was reasoned that SABC was reeling under crippling financial resources, which made it impossible to employ enough people in the news department. It was revealed that, in the past, Phalaphala FM used to voice-​over the English audio clips, an indication that lack of financial resources might be the real reason why these clips are no longer being translated. The issue of resource constraints went beyond staffing as it included lack of equipment and financial resources. O1 had this to say: Sometimes when we have human resources but we cannot have tangible resources like equipment, it’s not there too for us to voice-​over hourly. With regards to human resources, O1 added: We have one bulletin writer on a shift10 at a particular time. So the one hour that we have, it’s not even enough for one person to do those translations, to

256  Tendai Chari do the voice-​overs, to prepare the headlines, yeah, and translating, checking that the sound is there and the soundbites are there and listening to them to make sure they are … the sound is OK. O Clock [at every hour] they go and read the news as well. Although the scarcity of resources argument was corroborated by evidence from the pilot study, it was disputed by J1, who works for Phalaphala FM at the Thohoyandou studio. J1 stated that: In current affairs, we get news from the central office, they come in English, even the clips, they are in English, but they are able to translate them into Venda, so if you do a story, if you are going to read the news, it’s your duty even to translate the news into the language which people understand, so we can’t talk about resources in that case. … If you check in some other SABC radio stations, there are some that stand their ground, like Ukhozi FM,11 you will never hear any English words. The fact that other radio stations that broadcast in indigenous African languages are able to translate or voice-​over English clips, as indicated by J1, suggests that either SABC does not have standard guidelines on the use of English on its indigenous African language radio stations, or the guidelines and policies are not being implemented to the letter and spirit articulated in the Charter. It is worth noting that the issue of scarcity of resources was strong among some participants in the pilot study who gave their views on the subject. The following statements are illustrative of this: Phalaphala FM, as a community radio station, might not have a journalist who can be assigned to report in areas far away from the VhaVenda people; that is why they take clips that are untranslated and play them on the radio station. There can be a shortage of journalists who can help gather news and translate them into the language that the community understands. (S23) I think the radio station cannot afford to send journalists/​reporters to give them the story. (S24) I think it helps to save money and time because if there is an event that happened in Durban and Phalaphala FM cannot send its reporter in time, they can just take a clip from a reporter from another station that broadcasts in English. (S26)

News syndication in South Africa  257 It reduces the cost in the radio industry because, if one person is sent instead of sending many reporters who will be reporting in different indigenous languages, this would be costly to the organization. (S32) I think it is because they cannot afford to fly journalists to other countries or places, so getting a clip is convenient and easier. I think the cost of buying a clip is lower than flying or providing transport for journalists and paying for journalists too. (S35) Imagine if every radio station were to travel to China or New York, London, etc., for instance, to get people to make clips in vernacular, or each time there is breaking news, news readers are still translating news from English to vernacular, it would mean that they miss reporting news on time. (S40) Resource scarcity manifests itself in shortage of staff, finances and logistical resources, such as transport and travel. Words and phrases, such as ‘staff shortage’, ‘shortage of journalists’, ‘affordability’, ‘reduces cost’, ‘costly’, ‘cannot afford’, ‘cost of buying clips’, ‘providing transport’ and ‘paying journalists’, underscore the currency of resource scarcity and the imperatives for content syndication. The pool system practiced by SABC is also implicated in challenges associated with content syndication because all the radio stations rely on one centralized source of news material as a way of cutting costs. There are serious implications for this in terms of local and provincial radio stations being able to maintain their autonomy and, most importantly, their identity since they are tethered to the parent company.

Industry dynamics and social change Industry transformation and changes in society were cited as justification for including English language audio clips in Phalaphala FM news bulletins. It was reasoned that the broadcasting industry in South Africa and globally was changing, and that competition for an increasingly fragmented listenership was intensifying by the day; the audience was getting more youthful, hence the need to dance to the tune of the audience. O1 and J1 stressed the fact that radio broadcasting was about the numbers, and Phalaphala FM was under pressure to appeal to a youthful audience for survival; flexibility in use of language was one of the strategies of attracting the youth. Below is the conversation between the researcher and Q1 regarding the changing nature of the broadcasting industry and the pressure exerted by competitors: O1:  I think our target audience is changing, evolving, that is the main thing, the reason why, yeah. Apart from the resources, the scarcity of resources, the

258  Tendai Chari changes that are happening, yeah, are impacting so much on our broadcast, and we feel like, sometimes we feel like, the pressure to please our audience, the growing audience. Because broadcasting is about the numbers. We also value the numbers. TC:  So, it’s about the numbers? O1:  Umm … it’s about the numbers, how many people are following you. And it would be, like, useless also if we speak through Tshivenda –​it’s not educating, it’s not entertaining, it’s not informing, like, the larger part of our audience. TC:  What about the issue of competition? O1:  There is also competition, it also influences, like, on social media, like I said, it’s a competition. We are, when we compare ourselves with our sister stations, we are far behind, we are lagging behind and we should do everything possible to catch up, to be visible on social media, to go and follow those audiences. The above conversation illustrates the extent to which the warped assumption that African languages cannot be used to communicate effectively is embedded in Phalaphala FM’s programming. Assumptions that indigenous languages do not lend themselves to being used in technological spaces run against the grain of time-​tested arguments that ‘communication is better enhanced in a medium that expresses the totality of the culture of a given people’ (Salawu 2006, 88). It is through such notions that dominant cultures perpetuate and propagate their superiority in public discourses and the media (Fiske 1990). This hegemony is further illustrated in the fact that the youthful presenters at Phalaphala FM enjoy mixing Tshivenda and English, particularly during morning and afternoon drive times, supposedly because, in the words of O1, ‘they feel like when you are speaking in English, you are Funky, you are connecting to your audience, younger, to your peers in fact’. This shows the extent to which the hegemony of the English language is entrenched at Phalaphala FM. J1 concurs with O1 with regards to the pressure from competitors and the evolving nature of the audience, which compels African language broadcasters, such as Phalaphala FM, to adopt or mix English with African languages in their broadcasts, to lure the youth who are increasingly being alienated from their mother languages. Societal change underwritten by new technologies and education means that the marketing efforts of broadcasting stations are more inclined to attract the youth, who now constitute the majority. J1 had this to say: Radio, mind you, the most important thing about radio is listenership. Isn’t it? If you get high listenership, that is, when they say, you are working, you are working very hard. So how many grannies are there? You check the population, people who are in large numbers are the youth. You understand? So, when you satisfy, you gratify the youth who are in large number, you don’t care much about these grannies, who make a very small population. Because we need listenership. So, these young ones, if you use the language, the way it is, if you use the idiomatic expressions of Venda, some will never understand

News syndication in South Africa  259 what you are saying because most of them were educated at those English schools. So, they don’t even understand Venda. As long as radio strives for higher listenership … . If I  am the manager, definitely, because I  need listenership. If high listenership is there, where we will also use English, I will go there because my supervisor says you are working hard because you have got high listenership. With regards to change, it is instructive to note that this change is affecting not just the youth as a demographic group, but also society at large as Tshivenda-​speaking people. This, and the whole of South Africa, are being integrated into the global village through globalisation; broadcasters cannot resist the tide of globalisation. This notion came to light through O1’s statement that: I don’t think it is necessarily a problem because, as a VhaVenda nation, we are also growing, you know, because things are changing, technology is changing, things are changing, we are also borrowing some words from English, and yeah. This statement implies that adopting English was part and parcel of a process of change that was unfolding, and resisting this change would be a futile exercise. What is problematic, however, is that this change seems to be facilitated by, or revolves around, the use of English and not indigenous African languages such as Tshivenda. Statements by O1 and J1 lay bare the most lethal forces conspiring against the promotion of African languages as media of broadcasting. The market imperatives, compounded by demographic factors, and the emergence of new technologies are buttressing linguistic imperialism in broadcasting. Such hegemony is abated by the fallacious notion that indigenous African languages are ineffective in communicating certain issues.

The impact of syndication The use of English language audio clips had several impacts on the radio station and its audience. The main impacts identified include erosion of the station’s identity, the short-​changing of listeners in terms of the quality of information and side-​stepping the original mandate of indigenous African language radio stations. O1, J1 and J2 all agreed that, by broadcasting English audio clips, something is lost by Phalaphala FM. O1 said that they were worried about changes that were happening, particularly changes in the audience, and they feared that, one day, language usage would be 50–​50 between Tshivenda and English. There was also apprehension about the possibility that ‘our audience, that is coming up now, don’t understand our language, also because of the education that they are receiving, they go to these multi-​racial schools’ (O1). This underscores the contradictions brought about by globalization, which are characterized by the euphoria of change as well as disillusionment and uncertainty.

260  Tendai Chari Although J1 talked about the inevitability of change, there was apprehension that, by using English audio clips, Phalaphala FM was alienating the elderly and illiterate people who do not understand English. He had this to say: For sure it’s already depriving its audience, the listeners of Phalaphala FM. If you check clearly, most of the listeners of that station are illiterate people, so it means that they understand nothing about the clips. When the clips are in English, because if there is no one interpreting what is being said, they don’t even understand what it is. So, it’s not a good thing, by the way. (J1) This attests to the fact that some segments of the radio station’s audience are being alienated and possibly will be abandoned for a more lucrative and technologically savvy audience to boost the numbers. Evidence from the pilot study also indicates that the use of English audio clips signified the domination of African languages in the media. The following statement is illustrative of this: At first glance, it is an issue of power. It speaks to how untransformed the country is, because primary English-​speaking people are a minority. As one digs deeper, it then unmasks issues of dominance because the SABC cannot afford to send journalists/​reporters of all the possible languages spoken in the Republic, in a foreign country like Sherwin Bryse-​Pearce in Washington DC, USA; this means the English language is dominating the world and, therefore, our small languages are forced to bow down. (S30) Use of English on indigenous language radio stations thus signifies power differentials around the globe whereby languages of the imperial powers have become the lingua franca. In the case of South Africa, such power is ubiquitous in all spheres of life –​cultural, economic and social –​thereby implying that English is the language of modernity while African languages are perceived as languages of the past.

Conclusion The intrusion of English language clips and soundbites on indigenous language radio stations has a disempowering effect on the development and promotion of indigenous African languages, particularly minority languages. This is an indication that indigenous language radio stations are deviating from their constitutional mandate of ensuring that all languages enjoy equal treatment and parity of esteem. The use of untranslated English language clips on Phalaphala FM has resulted in airtime reserved for indigenous language programming diminishing, the consequence being that the radio station has the potential to lose its authentic

News syndication in South Africa  261 identity as an indigenous language radio station. The news pool system practiced by the state broadcaster, SABC, has indirectly promoted the hegemony of the English language. This hegemony is masked through contestable journalistic professional norms, such as the need for credibility, commercial forces and dynamics in the broadcasting industry and society at large. This chapter made a distinction between content syndication as merely a business strategy from syndication as a hegemonic tool. Future studies could incorporate a survey component to capture the voices of indigenous language radio station listeners. A comparative approach encompassing different SABC indigenous language radio stations from different provinces could also broaden insights on the impact of news syndication on indigenous language broadcasting.

Notes 1 Tshivenda is one of the African languages spoken in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. The number of Tshivenda speakers is estimated to be about 1.2  million (Banguela Language Company 2016). 2 The article in question was an edited excerpt from a detailed and longer report by the author published after the Communications Law Centre Conference in Australia in February 1993. 3 Tshivenda, or Venda, is one of South Africa’s eleven official languages spoken in the northern part of the country’s Limpopo Province. According to the 2011 census, it is spoken by about 1.3 million people. 4 Two of the interviews were face-​to-​face and one was over the telephone. 5 This stands for ‘Official 1’ (an SABC official). 6 It could not be established with certainty when the practice of not voicing over was stopped. 7 J2 represents ‘journalist number 2’, who gathers news for SABC stations including Phalaphala FM. 8 IsiZulu is one of the main languages spoken in South Africa. It is spoken by about 12 million people. 9 J1 represents a presenter on Phalaphala FM. 10 A shift is 8 hours long. 11 This is another SABC radio station that broadcasts in isiZulu, one of the indigenous languages in South Africa spoken by the majority.

References Banguela Language Company. 2016. “Tshivenda in 2016.”​tshivenda-​2016/​ Barrantes-​Montero, L.G. 2018. “Phillipson’s Linguistic Imperialism Revisited at the Light of Latin American Decoloniality Approach.” Revista Electronica Educare Electronic Journal 22(1): 1–​19. Bhabha, H. 1994. The Location of Culture. London: Routledge. Clarke, R. 2007. “Web 2.0 as Syndication.” Journal of Theoretical and Applied Commerce Research 3(2): 30–​43. Government of South Africa. 1996. Constitution of South Africa. Pretoria: Government Printer.

262  Tendai Chari Dessart, L., C. Veloutsou, and A. Morgan Thomas. 2015. “Consumer Engagement in Online Brand Communities: A Social Media Perspective.” Journal of Product and Brand Management 24(4): 28–​42. du Plessis, C. 2017. “The Role of Content Marketing in Social Media Content Communities.” South Africa Journal of Information Management 19(1): 1–​7. Edo, C., J. Yunquera, and H. Bastos. 2019. “Content Syndication in News Aggregators: Towards Devaluation of Journalistic Professional Criterio.” Comunicar: Media Education Research Journal 27 (59): 29–​38. Elghoul, O., N.B. Yahia, and M. Jemmi. 2012. “Web-​ Content’s Syndication in Sign Language.” Paper presented at W4A2012  –​Communications, the 21st International World Wide Web Conference, Lyon, France. Fiske, J. 1990. Introduction to Communication Studies. London: Routledge. Furtado, C. 2014. “Content Syndication Leapfrogs as Big Revenue Winner for Broadcasters.” Exchange 4​media-​tv-​news/​ content-​syndication-​leapfrogs-​as-​a-​big-​revenue-​winner-​for-​broadcasters-​58302.html Halbrooks, G. 2018. “Why Syndication is a Cornerstone of Media.” The Balance Careers. com.​why-​syndication-​is-​a-​cornerstone-​of-​ Iosifidis, P. 2007. “Digital TV, Digital Switchover and Public Service Broadcasting in Europe.” Journal of European Institute for Communication and Culture 14(1): 15–​20. Kraidy, M.M. 2002. “Hybridity in Cultural Globalization.” Communication Theory 12(3): 316–​339. Kraidy, M.M. 2005. Hybridity or Cultural Logic of Globalization. Philadelphia, PA:  Temple University Press. Lears, J.T.J. 1985. “The Concept of Cultural Hegemony: Problems and Possibilities.” The American Historical Review 90(3): 567–​593. Louw, M. 2016. “Press Release Syndication.” BIZCOMMUNITY, 25 April 2016. www.​Article/​196/​18/​143848.html Lull, J. 1995. Media Communications and Cultures:  A Global Approach. Columbia:  Columbia University Press. Maree, S. 2011. First Step in Research. Pretoria: Van Schaik. McDougall, C.D. 1942. “Newspaper Syndication and its Social Significance.” The Annals of the American Academy of Political Science 219(1): 76–​81. Nicoli, N. 2014. “The Role of Public Service Broadcasting in Cyprus during a time of austerity.” The Cyprus Review 26(1): 205–​212. Obijiofor, L. 2011. “Public Service Broadcasting and Language Development: A Summary Report on the Situation in Five Countries.” Prepared for the Expert Group Meeting, “Towards UNESCO Guidelines on Language Assessment and Planning.” www.unesco. org/​new/​fileadmin/​MULTIMEDIA/​HQ/​CI/​CI/​pdf/​public_​service_​bradcasting_​ and_​language_​development_​levi_​obijiofor.pdf Phillipson, R. 2013. “Linguistic Imperialism.” In Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics, edited by Carol Chapelle , 1–​7. Hoboken, NJ: Blackwell Publishing. Prato, L. 1992. “Cashing in on the Syndication Bonanza.” American Journalism Review, December 1992. https://​​Article.asp?id=2183 Randall, L. 1993. “Syndication Steadily Erodes Radio Journalism.” Communications Update, February 1993. Rouse, M. 2005. “Syndication.” https://​​ definition/​syndication Salawu, A. 2006. “Indigenous Language Media: A Veritable Tool for African Language Learning.” Journal of Multi-​Cultural Discourses 1(1): 86–​95.

News syndication in South Africa  263 Skutnabb-​Kangas, T., and R. Phillipson. 1994. “Linguistic Imperialism.” In The Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, edited by R.E. Asher and J.M.Y. Simpson, 2223–​2226. New York: Pergamon Press. SABC. (n.d.). “Editorial Charter.”​digital/​stage/​editorialpolicies/​Policies/​ SABC-​Editorial-​Policy-​LANGUAGE.pdf Wegryzn-​Wolska, K. 2005. “Publishing and Syndication Information Across the Education Sites Using the RSS Feed.” Journal of Medical Informatics and Technologies 9(2005): 343–​346.

Part VI

Borrowing a leaf

15  African language newspaper sustainability Lessons to learn from Asia Abiodun Salawu

Introduction Even though both Africa and Asia experienced colonisation by Europe, the two continents seem to have dealt with it differently, particularly as concerns the use of their indigenous or local languages. This is also reflected in the choice of languages used in their media, as well as the acceptance and economic performance of the indigenous language media in both continents. Salawu (2006a) notes that the story of indigenous language newspapers rising and dying is the same across most parts of Africa. In 1930, there were nineteen registered African language newspapers in South Africa, including the isiXhosa Imvo Zabantsundu and Inkundla ya Bantu. Today, most of those newspapers are non-​ existent. As recently as the 1990s, there used to be newspapers in fifteen Ghanaian languages; today, there are none (Salawu 2006b). In the colonial Democratic Republic of Congo, there were more than 150 periodicals in indigenous languages; today, the story is different (Vinck 2006). In Cameroon, there is hardly a remarkable indigenous language newspaper (Tanjong and Muluh 2006). Of all the newspapers in the first to the fourth ‘waves’ of indigenous language press in Nigeria (Folarin and Mohammed 1996), only Gaskiya Tafi Kwabo (established in 1937) still exists today. Iroyin Yoruba, established in 1945, existed till 1996 when it was finally laid to rest. Meanwhile, many other newspapers that came after Gaskiya and Iroyin Yoruba have ceased to exist. There are, however, some outstanding success stories in African language newspaper publishing. In Yorubaland (Nigeria) today, for instance, there are still some Yoruba newspapers serving the people. Among them, Alaroye is a phenomenal success. In South Africa, there is a daily Zulu newspaper, Isolezwe. The newspaper has become a household name among its readers, while its popularity is attested to by the fact that it sells over 100,000 copies per day (Salawu 2013). Reports indicate that the newspaper, launched in 2002, has even lured readers away from established English language publications (Salawu 2006b, 55). Ilanga in KwaZulu-​Natal, South Africa, has been in existence since 1903. And, among the 125 newspapers in Ethiopia, 108 are in Amharic, 2 are in Oromo and 1 is in Tigre. Ethiopia is one of the three countries in Africa (with Tanzania and Somalia) where a local language is used as a medium of instruction and for official and administrative purposes.

268  Abiodun Salawu What is of interest in this chapter is the reason why businesses in the African language press are unstable and what lessons can be learnt from their Asian counterparts. Just like Africa, Asia was also a colonized continent. The power of the English language and its attendant attraction, for instance, is also felt in the former Asian colonies. This, in a way, has also had implications for the survival of indigenous language newspapers in Asia. Interestingly, Asian language newspapers are, compared to a majority of their African counterparts, thriving well and, in a good number of cases, performing better than English language press in terms of circulation. This chapter therefore examines the local language newspaper landscape in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh and draws out lessons the African language press can learn from their performance.

Cultural studies: the theoretical underpinning With respect to the issue of language, cultural studies focus on how and why different languages are used in more specific cultural contexts, in spite of the influence of macro forces (Ricento 2000, 18). While acknowledging the influence of the latter, Pennycook (2000) alerts us to the element of human agency, which is said to play a major role in the choices people make about the use of the languages of wider communication, like English, as well as the use of their own languages. Thus, Pennycook and his fellow postmodernist scholars do not merely see local peoples as victims of the hegemony of English, but rather as actors with the freedom to choose what to make of English and of their indigenous languages (Barker 2002; Grossberg 1995; Hall 1993a, 1993b; Chibita 2006, 252). In contrast to critical political economy, cultural studies explain to us why local language media continue resisting total extinction against all odds. Human agency is critical for the colonised peoples of this world to keep resisting the supplanting of their languages by the hegemonic languages of the colonialists. Human agency is required for postcolonial societies to keep breathing life into their indigenous languages in various spheres, such as media, education, the judiciary and religion.

Methodology The data used in this study were mainly sourced through the Internet. Data about the newspapers available in each country, as well as their circulation and readership figures, were gathered through relevant documents available online. The information was then distilled by comparing the realities between Africa and Asia. Relevant literature was also called upon to provide deeper insights into the analysis. An interview conducted via email with a media scholar in Bangladesh was also used to buttress the data and provide additional insights on Bangladesh. From Africa, the countries of South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria were selected for the study. These three countries are regional powers in southern, east and west Africa. From Asia, three nations –​India, Pakistan and Bangladesh –​of South Asia were selected. All three, just like the three selected African nations, were former British colonies.

Lessons to learn from Asia  269

African language newspaper circulation and readership Around the world, the print media are facing serious challenges of survival occasioned by the advent of the Internet and poor economic conditions in many developing countries (Batta et al. 2017; Sambrook 2017; Aliagan 2015; Saperstein 2014). The effect of digital technology on the circulation of printed newspapers is already evident in Africa as newspaper circulation continues to take a downward trend. In South Africa, for instance, the second quarter 2019 report of the Audit Bureau of Circulation indicates a 1.4% decline in newspaper circulation from the Quarter 1 figure, and a 6.9% decline from the 2018 figure. With the exception of the weekly newspapers, all other categories (daily, weekend, local and free) experienced a decline (Breitenbach 2019). In a study conducted by the Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN), it was reported that the daily sales figure of all Nigerian newspapers was less than 300,000 (Nairaland Forum 2010). Such a figure is too low for a country projected to have a population of more than 200 million (World Population Review 2020). The report on media consumption for February and March 2019 by the Kenya Audience Research Foundation (KARF) puts the newspaper readership in Kenya at an average of just 9.5% of the population (Business Today 2019). Njugunah (2016) also reported that circulation of daily English and Kiswahili newspapers continued to decline. She highlighted that the circulation of daily English newspapers in 2015 declined to 98,548 copies from 2014’s 102,000, marking a 3.4% drop. Kiswahili newspapers similarly continued to decline, with only 5,209 copies sold on average, down from 5,800 the previous year. Importantly, the poor circulation is reflected more in local language newspapers than their English counterparts. In the vast majority of African countries, local language newspapers are not in the mainstream and are not among the major newspapers in the countries. This point is well established by their circulation figures compared to those of English language newspapers. The following tables make the point clearer. Of all the daily newspapers circulating in South Africa, only one, Isolezwe, publishes in an African language, isiZulu. Despite that fact, as observed in Table 15.1, its circulation still fell by 14% from the previous year, whereas an English language newspaper, Sowetan, did not experience any decline. Some others –​ Pretoria and The Star –​only experienced marginal declines: 0.8% and 0.9%, respectively. Ilanga is the only indigenous language newspaper shown in Table 15.2, and it has one of the highest percentages of circulation drop among the weekly newspapers. Three indigenous language newspapers are presented in Table 15.3 –​ Ilanga Langesonto, Isolezwe ngoMgqibelo and Isolezwe ngeSonto. Apart from the Saturday Citizen, with a 44% circulation drop from the previous year, the percentage circulation drops of the two Isolezwe newspapers (15.6% and 20.0%) are higher than the rest. Meanwhile, of all the fifty-​one Nigerian newspapers listed by Nigerian Finder (n.d.), none is published in the indigenous language of the country; they are all

270  Abiodun Salawu Table 15.1 Quarter 2, 2019: selected South African daily newspapers’ circulation figures Publication name


Total circulation

% change quarter

% change year

Beeld, Daily Burger, Die Daily Cape Times Cape Argus Citizen, The (Daily) Daily Dispatch Daily Sun Diamond Fields Advertiser Herald, The Isolezwe Mercury, The Pretoria News Sowetan Star, The Witness, The

MD, Mo-​Fr MD, Mo-​Fr MD, Mo-​Fr MD, Mo-​Fr MD, Mo-​Fr MD, Mo-​Fr Mo-​Fr MD, Mo-​Fr MD, Mo-​Fr MD, Mo-​Fr MD, Mo-​Fr MD, Mo-​Fr Mo-​Fr MD, Mo-​Fr MD, Mo-​Fr

31,123 36,677 29,530 27,254 39,349 14,348 112,155 7,118 14,554 68,618 24,464 12,579 70,038 71,692 10,483

–5.1% –7.4% 3.4% 0.4% –2.8% –5.6% –4.3% 0.1% –1.6% –5.3% 0.3% 0.8% –1.0% –0.4% –2.7%

–14.0% –21.9% 3.3% 0.1% –7.6% –13.3% –13.6% –4.1% –10.2% –14.0% –2.3% –0.8% 0% –0.9% –5.9%

Source: Table adapted from Breitenbach (2019).

Table 15.2 Quarter 2, 2019: selected South African weekly newspapers’ circulation figures Publication name


Burger, Die Friday Ilanga

Wkly, Fr 8,515 2xW, 54,852 Mo & Th Wkly, Fr 24,026 Wkly, Wed 219,166

Mail & Guardian Soccer Laduma

Total circulation

% change quarter

% change year

New member –5.4%


1.8% –2.2%

1.6% –7.1%

Source: Table adapted from Breitenbach (2019).

English language newspapers. They include The Guardian, Vanguard, The Punch, Nigerian Tribune, This Day, Daily Sun, The Nation, Daily Champion, National Mirror and Daily Independent. Likewise, Answers Africa listed ten Nigerian newspapers mostly read online; none is published in the indigenous language. They are Vanguard, The Punch, The Nation, Sahara Reporters, Sun News, This Day, Nigerian Tribune, The Guardian, National Mirror and Leadership. In a survey conducted in 2015 by GeoPoll to measure Kenyan newspaper and magazine audience size and share, English language newspapers took the lion’s share (Elliot 2015). Daily Nation and Standard have 40% and 20% shares, respectively. Lower down, Taifa Leo (a Swahili newspaper) takes 10%, while People Daily has 8%. Two English language newspapers remain the clear leaders –​Daily Nation and Standard. The former recorded a daily reach of 48.3% and 48.5% in February

Lessons to learn from Asia  271 Table 15.3 Quarter 2, 2019: selected South African weekly newspapers’ circulation figures Publication name


Total circulation

Beeld, Saturday Burger, Die Saturday Citizen, The (Saturday) City Press Daily Dispatch Weekend Edition (formerly Saturday Dispatch) Ilanga Langesonto Independent on Saturday Isolezwe ngoMgqibelo Isolezwe ngeSonto Pretoria News Saturday Saturday Star, The Sunday Sun Sunday Times Sunday Tribune Sunday World Weekend Argus Weekend Argus

Wkly, Sat Wkly, Sat Wkly, Sat Wknd Wknd Wknd Wkly, Sat Wkly, Sat Wkly, Sun Wkly, Sat Wkly, Sat Wknd Wknd Wkly, Sun Wknd Saturday Sunday

% change quarter

% change year

37,410 50,648 17,427 46,535 12,352

–3.6% –3.9% –39.1% 0.7% –5.9%

2.1% –13.7% –44.6% –7.3% –7.3%

31,846 35,257 55,416 51,992 6,943 38,470 41,177 240,219 48,305 40,573 31,220 18,415

–3.7% 0.1% –3.0% –5.9% –1.6% –2.3% –8.3% 0% 0.3% 0.5% –1.1% 1.7%

–5.6% –2.6% –15.6% –20.0% 0.1% –4.8% –25.0% –4.1% –4.1% –10.3% –5.1% 1.1%

Source: Table adapted from Breitenbach (2019) Taifa Jumapili 0.3% 0.4% 0.2% Taifa Jumamosi 0.4% 2.7% Saturday Standard 2.5% 2.1% Sunday Standard 2.3% 2.5% Nairobian 2.3% 2.4% The People Daily 2.7% 1.4% The Star 1.2% 2.1% Mwanaspo 1.8% 5.1% Saturday Na on 5.6% 6.6% Sunday Na on 5.6% 6.0% Taifa Leo 6.0% The Standard Daily Na on 0% 10%

26.9% 25.3%

20% Feb-19


48.5% 48.3%





Figure 15.1 Kenyan Media Consumption for February and March 2019. Source: Kenya Audience Research Foundation (KARF 2019).

and March (2019). The latter, 25.3% and 26.9%. Distantly following them is Taifa Leo with a daily reach of 6.00%. At the bottom of the chart are two other Kiswahili newspapers –​ Taifa Jumamosi (0.4% and 0.2%) and Taifa Jumapili (0.4% and 0.3%).

272  Abiodun Salawu

Factors responsible for low circulation and readership of indigenous African language newspapers Problems facing indigenous languages in Africa are, basically, problems facing the mass media that operate in them. In most developing countries, communication in indigenous languages has been adversely affected due to the fact of their colonisation. For instance, English is Nigeria’s official language and the major medium of communication, therefore indigenous languages are not highly esteemed. The structure that the colonialists handed down still remains today, decades after they have left. In fact, it is even more strengthened as English (for instance) and Western education continue to remain the language and education of power and progress in life. Therefore, there is an understandable rapidly growing interest in both the language and education. It is understandable because Africa remains far from catching up with the pace of human progress in the advanced world. Therefore, Africa continues to look up to the West. The problem of language apathy varies from one language group to another. In an interview published in The Guardian (Nigeria, 27 August 2004), a retired professor of the Igbo language, Samuel Uzochukwu, had this to say: It is very painful that amongst the major ethnic groups [in Nigeria], only Igbo are the most apathetic about their language. That is very painful. In fact, in a recent survey, those in Igboland who are in favour that English should be used in many of their transactions are up to 85 per cent. In Yorubaland, they are up to 75 per cent, while in Hausaland, they are merely 37.5 per cent. I mean, if you translate this, it means then that the Igbo are the most haters of their own language. (33, quoted in Salawu 2006a, 10) Specifically, Uzochukwu, in the same piece, spoke about the situation with the indigenous language press: Let’s take ordinary newspapers in Igbo culture and Igboland. There was a time we had three newspapers in Igboland:  Ogene, Anyanwu and Udoka. Udoka was even being published by the late Moshood Abiola (a Yoruba man). Well, what has happened today? These papers are no longer there. Not even one. While in Yoruba culture and Yorubaland, you have up to, or even more than, eight Yoruba language newspapers. You see them along the road. You see people reading them with some ability, the aged and the so-​called illiterate sharing views with the lettered. (33, quoted in Salawu 2006a, 10) The greatest problem militating against the growth of African language press is the attitude of most native speakers to their languages. Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, a foremost Kenyan writer, in an interview, painted the picture thus: ‘Whereas you

Lessons to learn from Asia  273 see today people identify themselves with that which is removed from them. That which is near them, they don’t want to identify with’ (Eyoh 1986, 122). The elites are, however, the guiltiest of this. This is equally reflected in their attitude towards the patronage of indigenous language press in terms of readership and advertisement (Salawu, 2004a, 2004b). In cases where there is healthy readership, advertisers are not attracted because the newspapers do not appeal to their target market: the elites. Wigston (2007) notes that, despite a healthy readership, the indigenous language titles do not attract advertisers. The reason he gives for this is that most advertisers simply do not understand the market. However, this chapter argues that advertisers understand the market enough for them to know that the newspapers do not attract the kind of market that will be interested in their products and services. Previous research (Salawu 2003) reveals that earlier issues of Iroyin Yoruba, now rested, contained more advertisements than later issues. The evidence suggests that the reduction in the number of adverts happened as more people became ‘modern fashioned’ (Salawu 1993, 39). Advertisers also suffer the same syndrome despite the fact that advertisement spaces in indigenous language newspapers are ‘ridiculously’ cheap compared to their English counterparts (Salawu 1993, 40). Another Yoruba language newspaper, Isokan (also defunct), devised various means of getting adverts (Salawu 1993). Apart from occasionally running supplements on traditional healers, they also used to approach advertising agencies handling any ‘interesting’ ad copy. If the agency agreed to their entreaties, they returned to their office and created a Yoruba version of the copy (Salawu 2003, 99).

Asia: also a colonised continent Just like Africa, Asia was a colonised continent and had European colonial languages forced upon it. Colonialism is defined as a form of temporally extended domination of people over other people and, as such, is part of the historical universe of forms of intergroup domination, subjugation, oppression and exploitation (Ziltener and Kunzler 2013, 291). Colonialism has effects of different dimensions on the colonised. These range from the political, to the economic, to the social and the cultural. Some of the effects are positive while others are negative. At the cultural level, it is difficult to argue for the positive effects of colonialism because it seeks to destroy the heritage of the colonised and leads the colonised to see their heritage, including the languages, as inferior and aspires for the heritage of the colonisers. Fanon (1963) puts it thus: Colonialism is not satisfied merely with holding a people in its grip and emptying the native’s brain of all form and content. By a kind of perverted logic, it turns to the past of the oppressed people, and distorts, disfigures and destroys it. This work of a devaluing per-​colonial history takes on a dialectical significance today. (170)

274  Abiodun Salawu A major outcome of colonialism is the glorification of the colonial languages in the post-​colonial societies of Africa and Asia where such languages have become the language of power and progress to the detriment of the local languages. This is akin to what Taff et al. (2018) call ‘language oppression’. Cited in Roche (2019, 488), language oppression is defined as a form of domination that is coherent with other forms of oppression along the lines of ‘race’, nation, colour and ethnicity. Taff et al. (2018) further defined language oppression as the ‘enforcement of language loss by physical, mental, social, and spiritual coercion’ (863). Roche (2019, 488) asserts that language oppression is arguably the most violent type of linguicism in that it not only subjects speakers of certain languages to regimes of ascription and discrimination, but also aims to transform them forcefully through coerced language loss. Roche further discusses the concept of erasure, which is used in studies of imperialism and colonialism to describe how members of minorities, Indigenous and ‘subaltern’ peoples are silenced in the historical record (Trouillot 1995), their sovereignty legally nullified (Moreton-​Robinson 2007; Simpson 2014), their contemporary presence rendered invisible (Thrush 2007), and their existence written out of the future (Lawson 2014; Brantlinger 2013). (487) However, the approaches to the language situation in post-​colonial Africa and Asia have not been the same. While there is an overwhelming surrender to the colonial languages in most parts of Africa, Asia still largely holds on to indigenous languages in different domains, including the media. For the purpose of this chapter, we examine the local language media landscape in three countries in South Asia, namely India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Until 1947, these three countries were formerly one nation –​India. In 1947, then British India was partitioned into two independent dominion states  –​the Union of India and the Dominion of Pakistan. The Union of India is the present-​ day Republic of India. The Dominion of Pakistan is now the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. Bangladesh was part of Pakistan until 1971, when it seceded. Burma (now Myanmar) and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) were also under the administration of British India. They (were) separated before the partition of India of  1947.

Circulation and readership of local language newspapers in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh Compared to many parts of the world, the Indian newspaper industry is flourishing in spite of the upsurge of digital platforms. A 2011 industry analysis from KPMG and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) suggested that the value of the Indian newspaper industry has grown by two-​ thirds in the previous six years. In 2005, the total industry was worth US$2.64 billion. This rose to US$4.37 billion in 2010. It was then predicted to rise at an

Lessons to learn from Asia  275 Table 15.4 Circulation figures of Indian newspapers, July–​December 2016 Serial number



Average qualifying sales

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Dainik Jagaran Dainig Bhaskar The Times of India Amar Ujala Hindustan Malaya Manorama Eenadu Rajasthan Patrika Daily Thanthi Mathrubhumi

Hindi Hindi English Hindi Hindi Malayalam Telugu Hindi Tamil Malayalam

3,921,267 3,813,271 3,184,727 2,961,833 2,611,261 2,441,417 1,866,661 1,840,917 1,710,621 1,473,053

Source: Saxena (2017).

annual rate of 10% between 2011 and 2014 (Vaidyanathan 2011). Newspapers in regional languages have contributed majorly to this growth. Hindi publications have recorded the highest growth, followed by Telugu, Kannada and Tamil publications (Saxena 2017). Diwanji (2019a) argued that an upsurge in literacy rates and a renewed focus on regional language publications have been the main drivers of this growth anomaly. However, the industry is currently under some heat with the onslaught of digital and social media (Joseph 2020). As shown in Table  15.4, the first two highest-​ circulating newspapers are Hindi newspapers. An English paper, The Times of India, follows in the third position and is the only English language newspaper in the table. The trend continues in the later years, even with the increased dominance of the local language newspapers and particularly those in Hindi. Table  15.5, depicting the January to June 2018 circulation figures of Indian newspapers, buttresses this, showing that local language newspapers again demonstrated their popularity in India. Of the twenty-​one titles on the list, only four are published in English. Two Hindi newspapers, Dainik Bhaskar and Dainik Jagran, have a clear lead, with the English language newspaper, The Times of India, at a distant third. A 2019 Indian Readership Survey by the Media Research Users Council (MRUC) made the dominance of Indian local language newspapers clearer. The number of readers is usually higher than the number of newspaper copies circulated; typically, readership tends to be 2.5 times circulation, though there may be variations depending on particular publications (McInnis and Associates 2013). Table 15.6 provides readership figures for Indian newspapers in 2019. Unlike in the previous tables, the first ten newspapers with the highest readership figures are indigenous language newspapers. The English language newspaper, The Times of India, came in the distant eleventh position. This table makes it clear that it is not only Hindi language newspapers that are more popular than their English counterpart; newspapers of different languages, such as Malayam,

276  Abiodun Salawu Table 15.5 Circulation figures of Indian newspapers, January–​July 2018 Rank




Jan–​June 2018

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

Dainik Bhaskar Dainik Jagran The Times of India Hindustan Danik Amar Ujala Malayala Manorama Eenadu Dina Thanthi The Hindu Mathrubumi Sakal Punjab Kesari Sakshi Ananda Bazar Patrika Patrika Hindustan Times Dinamalar Prabhat Khabar Divya Bhaskar Vijayavani The Tribune

Bhopal Kanpur Mumbai New Delhi Noida Kottayam Hyderabad Chennai Chennai Kozhikode Pune Jalandhar Hyderabad Kolkata Jaipur New Delhi Tamil Kolkata Gujarat Karnataka Chandigarh

Hindi Hindi English Hindi Hindi Malayalam Telugu Tamil English Malayalam Marathi Hindi Telugu Bengali Hindi English Tamil Hindi Gujarati Kannada English

4,318,377 4,144,706 2,826,164 2,625,343 2,610,784 2,368,672 1,807,998 1,525,526 1,397,944 1,363,931 1,204,640 1,165,506 1,091,079 1,080,478 1,005,485 1,004,110 848,287 829,982 822,513 760,738

Source: ABC (2019).

Telugu, Tamil and Maratha, are doing much better than the English newspaper in terms of readership. Other languages in the table are Gujarati and Bengali. Diwanji (2019b) reported that the revenue generated from circulation for the Hindi language publications across India amounted to over 41 billion Indian rupees. This was expected to be the fastest-​growing circulation revenue across all markets in the country, reaching 53 billion rupees by fiscal year 2024. On the other hand, the circulation revenue for English language publications has been declining considerably over the years. Talking about advertisement revenue, Diwanji (2019c) noted that Hindi newspaper publications had the largest advertising share across India, with 37% of total ad volume that year, while the share of English language publications stood at 25%. Hindi has dominated the Indian linguistic landscape as a result of the deliberate policy of the Indian national government. Ranjan (2017) noted that, since coming to power in May 2014, the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP)-​led National Democratic Alliance government has issued a number of official orders, circulars and notifications that it claimed were meant to promote the Hindi language. This has been observed in different domains, including education. The language also enjoyed some promotion under British rule in colonial India. It is said to be the mother tongue of 25% of Indians. It is a regional language (spoken in many dialects) but has been elevated to an official language alongside English.

Lessons to learn from Asia  277 Table 15.6 List of newspapers in India by readership

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20



Average issue readership 2019 (in millions)

Dainik Jagran Dainik Bhaskar Hindustan Dainik Amar Ujala Malayala Manorama Rajasthan Patrika Eenadu Dina Thanthi Mathrubumi Lokmat The Times of India Gujarat Samachar Prabhat Khabar Ananda Bazar Patrika Sandesh Punjab Kesari Sakal Patrika Sakshi Dinamalar

Hindi Hindi Hindi Hindi Malayalam Hindi Telugu Tamil Malayalam Marathi English Gujarati Hindi Bengali Gujarati Hindi Marathi Hindi Telugu Tamil

20.258 15.395 14.746 10.183 9.758 7.543 6.727 6.572 6.443 6.085 5.646 4.477 3.439 3.436 3.384 3.323 3.092 3.038 2.988 2.886

Source: MRUC (2019).

Pakistan is also a multilinguistic media landscape, but Urdu language newspapers are dominant. The English print media readership is far smaller in comparison even though its publications have considerable leverage among opinion makers (Din 2020). A Press Reference (n.d.) report on Pakistan indicated that two Urdu language newspapers had the highest circulation figures. They were Jang (850,000) and Nawa-​e-​Waqt (500,000). Another Urdu newspaper, Khabrain, was in the fourth position, with 232,000 readers. Din (2020) also recalled a 2008 report by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics that identified a combined circulation figure of 4.6 million for Urdu language newspapers, 670,743 for English and 640,897 for Sindhi newspapers and periodicals. This, however, is without prejudice to the fact that the newspaper industry in Pakistan, just like elsewhere, has suffered attrition. With reference to the 2011–​2012 financial year report, Din (2020) also reported that Jang had the largest advertisement revenue, claiming 31% of the total print ad revenue for the year. Table 15.7 brings a new dimension to our analysis in this chapter. Here, we examine the type of newspaper, the year of establishment and the circulation spread. Out of the sixty-​two newspapers listed in the table, twenty of them are purely English. A handful –​five –​are bilingual –​that is, English with another local language, Urdu specifically. The remaining majority are in local languages, predominantly Urdu. Urdu is a language formulated in military camps and is

278  Abiodun Salawu Table 15.7 List of newspapers in Pakistan Newspaper





Pakistan Times

Daily online English newspaper

Pakistani Newspaper Re-​founded by Umair Ahmad under Youth Group Limited


Originally 1947, re-​ founded 2019 2018

Pahenji Akhbar


Daily Yadain Daily international newspaper Daily Ibrat Daily





Daily Jang




Daily Daily Nawa-​i-​Waqt



Daily The Patriot Daily PakistanInfo Daily

English English, Turkish, Persian

Khabrain Daily Express

Daily Daily

Urdu Urdu

1992 1998

Daily Global News 2AM











Daily Nai Baat Daily 24 Ghantay Daily Sarhad Business Recorder

Daily Daily

Urdu Urdu

2011 2017

Daily Daily

Urdu English

1970 1965

Daily Times





First ever complete digital Sindhi newspaper; The beginning of an entire new era of NEWS! A unique step of Sindhi journalism into the cyber world! International and regional newspaper International and regional news Second-​oldest continuously published Urdu language newspaper in Pakistan Oldest continuously published Urdu language newspaper in Pakistan First multilingual online newspaper of Pakistan in regional languages International and regional news International and regional news International and regional news International and regional news Current/​political Founded by Naeem Hashmi Pakistan’s first financial newspaper

Lessons to learn from Asia  279 Table 15.7 (Cont.) Newspaper




The Lahore Daily Times –​ Pakistan News Dawn Daily



International and regional news



The Friday Weekly Times Punjab Post Weekly Bayan Daily The Frontier Post The Nation The News International Pakistan Observer The Regional Times of Sindh The Star



Founded by Muhammad Ali Jinnah

Urdu Urdu English English English

2002 2017 1985 1986 1991

English English




The Statesman Pakistan Today Daily Pakistan The Express Tribune Daily Dunya Daily Nizaam

English English Urdu English

2002 2010 1997 2010


2012 2017

Pashto Punjabi Punjabi Punjabi Sindhi

1983 2004

Sindhi Sindhi Sindhi Sindhi Urdu Sindhi Sindhi Sindhi Urdu Urdu Urdu

1990 1998 Hyderabad Karachi

Wahdat Khabraan Lokai Bhulekha Daily Hilal-​e-​ Pakistan Kawish Daily Koshish Daily Mehran Daily Sach Daily 92 Daily Safeer Daily Sindh Daily Sindu Daily Basharat Ummat Manend Aaina


Daily Daily

Daily Daily Daily Daily Daily Daily Daily Daily Daily Daily Weekly

Dawn Group’s evening newspaper; now defunct

Authentic, continuously published Urdu language newspaper in Pakistan

1989 1946


1995 1989 1952 2015

Popular in KP and Malakand (continued)

280  Abiodun Salawu Table 15.7 (Cont.) Newspaper





Tus Taunsa




Qum News




The Youth International

Daily online English newspaper


The Dayspring




Hasas Swabi Times

Weekly Weekly

Urdu Urdu

2017 2008

Hasas Christian Voice

Weekly Weekly

Urdu English

2017 1950

Zartash Pakistan Indus News

Weekly Daily

English Sindhi

2017 2010

Popular in Tehsil Taunsa Sharif Founded by Rasheed Azad International and regional newspaper founded by Umair Ahmad under Youth Group Limited Youth-​centric newspaper founded by Asim Nawaz Abbasi Local+Divisional Voice of Swabi, Local news of Swabi Local+Divisional Second oldest Catholic publication in Pakistan

Daily online news



Indus News Dot Net was launched under the name dxingworld dot info on 4 Dec 2010; the name was changed in July 2011, and in the same year Indus News won a regional news award for its regional news blogs. Chief Editor: Zahoor Solangi Pakistan and world news

Source: Adapted from Khan and Aziz (2017), Aziz (2017), and Quraishi (2015). Note: Empty cells reflect missing data.

constructed from various languages including Arabic and Sanksrit (Khan 2016). It is akin to Kiswahili in East Africa. It was chosen as the official language of Pakistan because of its widespread use, notwithstanding the large size of the Punjabi language. The Sindhi language also featured well in the Pakistani newspaper industry. Interestingly, most of the indigenous language newspapers are dailies, something that is rare among African indigenous language newspapers. With the

Lessons to learn from Asia  281 exception of Amharic Addis Zemen, isiZulu Isolezwe and Luganda Bukkede, the rest of the indigenous language newspapers in Africa are periodicals, mostly weeklies, while some are monthlies. Other African language newspapers that are published daily are in Kiswahili and Afrikaans, languages that are not indigenous to Africa. A few of the indigenous language newspapers in Pakistan were established in the 1940s and 1950s, and one in the 1970s. In Africa, with the exception of Ilanga, established in 1903, and Gaskiya Ta Fi Kwabo, established in 1937, some of the existing indigenous language newspapers started in the 1990s, and many others in the 2000s and 2010s. The problem is that the attrition rate of African indigenous language newspapers is high (see Salawu 2015a and 2013). Formal newspaper publishing in African indigenous languages started in 1837 (Salawu 2015b). As already noted, the problem is the attrition rate, which is due to several factors (see Salawu 2015a and 2013). UmAfrika, an isiZulu newspaper that started in 1929, folded in 2019. A good number of local language newspapers in Pakistan also started in the 2010s. This means that, despite the increasing encroachment of Western culture and languages, the Asian people are also progressively embracing their languages. This is also the case with India, where the relative flourishing of the print industry has been attributed to a preponderance of local language and regional newspapers (Diwanji 2019a). Another observation from Table  15.7 is that a number of the Pakistan language newspapers circulate internationally. Perhaps with the exception of very few Kiswahili newspapers, which circulate among certain countries in east Africa, no other African language newspaper circulates internationally. International or regional circulation should be possible for African (indigenous) language newspapers. Yoruba newspapers published in Nigeria should be able to circulate to other Yoruba-​speaking parts of West Africa, such as the Republic of Benin and Togo, provided news coverage in the newspapers also extends to those areas. The same can be said of isiZulu newspapers, for instance, in South Africa. isiZulu belongs to the Nguni language family. It is expected that the Swati people of Swaziland and the Ndebele in Zimbabwe should be able to read newspapers published in isiZulu. The same is true for the Hausa language newspapers. Hausa is spoken across West Africa, in Nigeria, Ghana, Niger, Cameroon and other countries. One other factor that helped the growth of local language newspapers in Pakistan is the fact that major successful dailies are published simultaneously from a number of cities and are produced in different languages to facilitate distribution throughout the country’s various regions (Press Reference n.d.). Bengali newspapers are dominant in Bangladesh. Azad (2019) asserts that, except for a few, English dailies are not in demand in Bangladesh and have a minor circulation. Prothom Alo, a Bengali newspaper, is the most popular daily in Bangladesh. Bangladesh Pratidin, another Bengali daily, is the highest-​circulated newspaper. Prothom Alo is said to be a better quality newspaper than Bangladesh Protidin but people buy more of the latter because it costs just half the price of the former. Of the 345 daily newspapers in Bangladesh, only 32 of them are in English (Azad 2019).

282  Abiodun Salawu Table 15.8 Selected Bengali and English newspapers in Bangladesh Newspaper



Circulation figure (June 2018)

Bangladesh Pratidin Prothom Alo Kaler Kantho The Daily Jugantor The Daily Ittefaq The Daily Janakantha Samakal Amader Shomoy Bhorer Kagoj Daily Manab Zamin Alokito Bangladesh The Sangbad The Daily Inqilab Jaijaidin Daily Naya Diganta The Azadi Daily Sangram The Daily Star Financial Express (Bangladesh) Daily Sun (Bangladesh) The Daily Observer Dhaka Tribune New Age The Independent The News Today (Bangladesh) The Bangladesh Today

Bengali Bengali Bengali Bengali Bengali Bengali Bengali Bengali Bengali Bengali Bengali Bengali Bengali Bengali Bengali Bengali Bengali English English English English English English English English English

16 March 2010 4 November 1998 10 January 2010 1 February 1999 24 December 1953 29 February 1993 31 May 2005 2003 15 February 1992 15 February 1997 2013 17 May 1951 4 June 1986 1999 25 October 2004 5 September 1960 17 January 1970 14 January 1991 1993 23 October 2010 1 February 2011 19 April 2013 June 2003 26 March 1995

553,300 501,800 290,200 290,200 290,200 275,000 270,000 270,000 161,160 161,100 152,000 127,000 125,460 116,000 90,650 56,000 32,020 44,814 39,010 38,800 38,750 38,700 38,600 37,800 24,010 22,500

26 January 2002

Source: Wikipedia (2020).

Table  15.8 presents a list of selected Bangladesh newspapers and their June 2018 circulation figures. The data indicate that, while most Bengali newspapers have circulations in the hundreds of thousands, the English titles could only circulate in the tens of thousands. However, there are indications that newspaper organisations manipulate circulation figures to receive subsidised newsprints from government and publish government advertisements at high rates (Islam 2020; 2017). Both the Bengali and English newspapers are guilty of this, and the Department of Films and Publications in the nation’s Ministry of Information seems incapable of verifying the figures. Readers’ migration to the digital platform has also affected circulation of the printed newspapers and magazines (Azad 2019). Meanwhile, despite their smaller circulation figures, English language newspapers in Bangladesh are considered influential because they have found a niche among the elite, the middle class and the decision-​makers of the country (Genilo, Asiuzzaman, and Osmani 2016, 130). Mohammad Sahid Ullah (2018), a journalism professor at the University of Chittagong in Bangladesh, gave some reasons why Bengali newspapers are

Lessons to learn from Asia  283 circulating more than their English counterparts. One is that there is high literacy in the Bengali language and therefore high readership of Bengali newspapers. Another is that the cover prices of Bengali newspapers are lower than those of their English counterparts. Most English newspapers sell for 12 taka (US$0.20) while the Bengali newspapers sell for 2–​10 taka (US$0.5–​0.10). Third, Bengali newspapers have better coverage of political matters. They publish political gossip, which attracts readers. Finally, local businesspeople patronise Bengali newspapers to further their business interests, mostly in unfair manners.

Lessons Africa can learn from Asia in terms of local language press Though not totally without political backlash, governments in the Asian countries that we studied made conscious efforts to promote local languages, or at least certain local languages, in their country. Those efforts likely fuelled literacy in those languages and encouraged the embrace of them by the locals. The Indian government promoted Hindi, the Pakistani government promoted Urdu, and the Bangladeshi government promoted Bengali. We have also seen results where similar efforts have been made in Africa. Amharic is dominant in the media of Ethiopia simply because the government promotes it. The same goes for Kiswahili in Tanzania and, to a lesser extent, in Kenya. South Africa also has a relatively good showing in African language newspaper publishing because the government is supporting the use of indigenous languages in the country (Salawu 2015c). That is why the isiZulu newspaper, Isolezwe, is one of the rare dailies in an African language. One way the government has promoted indigenous languages is to make them official languages. There are eleven official languages in South Africa, including isiZulu, isiXhosa, Setswana, Sesotho, Sepedi, Tshivenda, Xitsonga, siSwati and isiNdebele. The two others are English and Afrikaans. Afrikaans media in South Africa are also doing well because the apartheid government promoted the language such that it became a medium of communication in many domains including higher education. It is still being used today for teaching and learning in certain universities in South Africa. African governments need to support the promotion of indigenous languages and incentivise their learning. Through policies and legislation, the use of the languages needs to be made attractive. Providing subsidies is another method that Asian governments have used to support and promote the local language press. The Indian government reserves close to 60% of state advertisements for local language newspapers, and the Bangladeshi government provides subsidised newsprints to newspapers according to their circulation strengths. These gestures have gone a long way in stabilizing the local language newspaper industry in those countries and is something that African governments can emulate. Besides the government, local language newspapers in the Asian countries studied also get advertisement patronage form businesses and corporate organisations. Hindi newspapers, for instance, receive higher ad revenue than

284  Abiodun Salawu their English counterparts. The same goes for the Urdu and Bengali newspapers. The situation is, however, contrary in Africa (Salawu 2003, 2004a, 2004b; Wigston 2007). The government, elites and corporate organisations would prefer to place their advertisements in English language newspapers believing that that is where they can reach their target audience. Pricing is also an area that African language press should consider. Asian local language newspapers have been able to attract buyers because of their much lower cover prices compared to those of their English counterparts. Offering these lower prices is possible because of the subsidies they enjoy from governments. Notwithstanding, it is something that African language newspapers can consider. African language newspapers also need to study the market to know the kind of content people would prefer to read. We learned that a factor in the success of Bengali newspapers in Bangladesh is their content: they publish political gossip, which readers want and cannot find in the English language press. African language newspapers will do better if they can understand and meet their readers’ needs. They also need to improve on their journalistic performance to give their readers quality journalism. Readers want newspapers that can provide information about socio-​economic needs. They also want media that are believable. Credence is key in journalism. Saxena (2017) informs us that a new trend in India is for families to buy two or more newspapers, including an English language paper and an Indian language publication. Their hope is that their children’s English language skills will improve if they read an English language newspaper every day. The newspapers, too, have taken advantage of this and have launched schemes that enable readers to buy two newspapers –​one in English and the other in a local language –​at a low price. African language media organisations need also to be innovative in their business. Home delivery is another strategy used by Indian newspapers (Saxena 2017). Although this is one of the reasons downplayed in the success of Indian newspapers, it is very important. African language newspaper organisations can also explore this strategy. Likewise, in Pakistan, major successful dailies are published simultaneously from a number of cities and are produced in different languages to facilitate distribution throughout the country’s regions. This is the benefit of technology, which African newspapers can also exploit. In India, technology has made it possible for Indian newspapers to set up scores of satellite printing centres. With a practice like this, different language versions of a newspaper can be printed in different regions, provinces or states of a country. Bengali newspapers run both physical and digital versions, and many advertisements are also migrating to the digital platforms. African newspapers should explore this as well. A good number of African language newspapers are not yet online (Salawu 2019), and it is what they should do to catch up with their youthful, elite and middle-​class readers who are already migrating there. They also need to have a slice of ad revenue that has moved to digital.

Lessons to learn from Asia  285

Conclusion It is important that Africans take communication (interpersonal, group, institutional, public and mass) in their indigenous languages very seriously. The use of these languages in mass media, and in the newspapers (and digital media) in particular, is critical to their survival. Mass communication in the languages also creates information empowerment of the masses. It is important to sustain African language newspapers or media for effective communication and transmission of cultural heritage. In a study carried out by Prasithrathsint, Thongniam and Chumkaew (2019) on the use of English and the national language on the radio in ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries, it was reported that Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam do not use English at all in their radio broadcasting. Singapore is the ASEAN country with the highest percentage of English usage in radio, and that is at only 50%. As we have demonstrated in this chapter, Africa has a lot to borrow from the policies and practices of Asia to sustain indigenous language press. The continent requires greater human agency than is currently practiced to make its languages more active in various domains and, in particular, to ensure the development and sustainability of its indigenous and local language media.

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Abiola, MKO 143, 156, 169, 172, 272 Adedayo, Musa Alao 21, 121, 142–​3, 171, 172–​3 Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN) 269 advertising revenue 17, 28, 110–​11, 116, 150–​1, 246–​8 African language journalism 10–​11, 185, 190, 197, 199–​201, 204, 211 African language media 1, 9–​11, 13, 24, 35–​6, 50, 74, 78, 84, 87, 135, 187, 197, 200, 284 African language newspaper(s) 1, 3, 9–​11, 35, 38–​41, 43–​50, 53, 74, 78–​9, 83–​7, 167, 176, 225–​7, 267, 269, 272, 281, 283–​5 African language press 9, 24, 35–​6, 38–​40, 42–​7, 50, 76, 79–​80, 84, 86–​7, 226, 232–​3, 235, 237, 268, 272, 284 African National Congress (ANC) 226, 235 African Newspapers Limited (ANL) 29 African Newspapers of Nigeria Plc. 1, 3, 143 African spirituality 114 Àjoró 1, 17, 157–​61, 171, 172 Ajoro publishers 1 Akede Afirika/​Africa 17, 157, 161, 171, 174 Akede Agbaye 1–​2, 17, 121–​2, 125, 143, 157, 171, 172 Alaroye 1–​2, 4, 7, 10, 17, 21, 24, 27, 120–​3, 125–​32, 142–​3, 150, 156–​9, 161–​2, 171, 172, 181, 267 Al-​Mizan 17, 27 Amana 1, 121, 143, 148, 170 Anglican Church Missionary Society (CMS) 138, 168–​9 Associated Press (AP) 159, 245 Argus group of newspapers 93, 226 Association of Small Independent Local Newspapers 29

audio-​visual media  199 authenticity 195, 199, 213, 244, 253–​5 Avusa Media Group 2, 6, 235 Awolowo, Obafemi 130, 143 Bantu Press 90, 93, 98, 100, 226 Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) 234 black elite(s) 37–​8, 44, 234 broadcast: African language radio 244; indigenous language 204–​5, 207, 209–​ 12, 215–​16, 218, 220, 244, 248, 261; journalism 11, 204, 208; local language 11, 210, 219, 243, 248, 275; media 11, 16, 20–​2, 25, 41, 204–​5, 241 Caxton Media 11, 224–​6, 228–​38 Chronicle, The 38, 45, 47–​9 circulation 2–​3, 6–​7, 23–​5, 48–​9, 55–​6, 65–​7, 75–​6, 97, 100–​1, 105, 111–​12, 120–​2, 127–​8, 131–​2, 141, 144, 147, 156–​8, 169–​70, 179–​80, 268–​72, 274–​7, 281–​3 City Press 97, 229, 271 CMS see Anglican Church Missionary Society (CMS) CNG see Community Newspaper Group colonial language 41, 45, 76, 78, 86, 97, 107, 148, 208, 228, 232–​3, 236, 243, 273–​4 colonial period 17, 35–​6, 38, 40, 43–​4, 57 colonialism 39, 57, 106, 109, 179, 205, 216, 228, 238, 273–​4 commercialisation 4, 20, 25, 80, 150–​1 communication 15, 17–​19, 22, 30, 40, 55, 57, 60, 76, 80–​1, 106–​7, 110, 114–​17, 122, 139–​40, 167, 176, 189, 191, 204–​6, 210, 219, 246, 258, 268, 272, 283, 285; technologies 68–​70, 141 community media 75, 86, 125–​6, 129 Community Newspaper Group (CNG) 59

290 Index community newspaper(s) 9, 74–​5, 77, 81, 84, 125–​6, 128 community radio station 99, 210, 256 Concord Press of Nigeria Limited 1, 143, 148, 169–​70 Constitution of the Republic of South Africa 77, 85, 233, 243 contemporary journalism 197–​9, 205 CPE see critical political economy (CPE) credibility 27–​8, 114, 178, 253–​5, 261 critical political economy (CPE) 91, 105, 106, 108–​9, 114, 116, 227, 268 crowdfunding 149 cultural assertiveness 3–​5, 84, 86, 92 cultural distinctiveness 16, 55 cultural studies 268 Daily Sketch Press Ltd 1, 148 decline of indigenous language: language newspapers 62; language press 9, 55, 56, 58, 62, 70; media 20, 58 decolonial project 108–​9, 114, 201 decolonial theory 10, 108–​9 Despite Group of Companies (DGC) 206–​8, 216 development communication 114–​17 DGC see Despite Group of Companies (DGC) digital age 9, 15, 26, 150 digital applications 22, 27–​8 Digital Era 10, 26, 28, 137 digital media 137, 144, 146–​7, 150–​2, 285 digital newspapers 27 digital platform(s) 22, 28, 30, 274, 282, 284 digital revolution 9, 17, 28, 152, 246 digital technology 10, 26–​8, 67, 137, 144, 146, 150, 244, 269 dominant language(s) 1, 18, 40–​2, 90–​1, 101, 149, 229 economic resources 6, 217–​18 Editor-​in-​Chief 157–​8, 197 editorial policies 11, 224–​30, 232–​3, 235–​7 editorials 159, 161–​2, 171, 175 editorial writing 161 educational content 115 emaSwati 90, 92–​7, 99–​102 empirical analysis 91 empirical investigation 121 empirical studies 147 empirical work 36 English as an African language 78 English hegemony 40, 42, 44, 48, 86

English language hegemony 45, 48–​9, 76, 78, 85–​7, 255 English language media 16, 25, 43, 105–​7, 110, 211, 217, 224 English language newspapers 38–​9, 46–​50, 74–​5, 79, 82, 87, 97–​8, 100, 102, 105, 112, 120–​1, 123–​5, 129–​31, 166–​7, 180–​1, 225, 230, 269–​70, 282–​4 English language press 11, 49, 61, 85, 111, 113, 170, 268, 284 ethnic groups 4, 15, 17–​18, 30, 142, 168, 272 ethnicity 17–​18, 274 ethnolinguistic online communities 58 Eurocentric 11, 190, 232, 236 extinction 10, 24, 90–​2, 94, 96, 120, 124, 243, 268 Facebook 27–​8, 115, 147, 246 failure(s) 9–​10, 38, 48, 53, 62–​5, 75, 77, 94, 141, 178 FM see Frequency Modulation (FM) folklore 188 folklorisation 116–​17 folklorise 107 Frequency Modulation (FM) 209 Gaskiya Tafi Kwabo 16, 121, 123, 141–​2, 149, 170, 267 GBC see Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) Gboungboun 1–​3, 148 Ghana 11, 24, 168, 197, 204–​14, 216–​20, 223, 225, 281 Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) 204, 207, 209 Ghana Journalists Association 206, 212 globalization 5, 8, 11, 15, 19, 55, 124–​5, 243–​4, 248–​9, 259 global village 167, 259 habitus 192; narrative 190–​3, 200 Hausa language newspaper(s) 27, 120, 123, 170, 281 hegemonic infiltration 11, 243, 248 hegemony 5, 26, 36, 39–​42, 46–​7, 50, 76–​7, 80–​1, 115, 248–​50, 253, 258–​9, 261, 268 Herald, The 2, 38, 45, 47–​9, 105, 113 historiography 90, 92, 97 hybridisation 7–​8 hybridity 11, 243, 245, 248–​9 hyper-​textuality  27

Index  291 IFP see Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) Igbo language 4–​5, 123, 170, 272 IGI Global 26 Ilanga 1–​2, 6–​7, 56, 74, 79, 84, 87, 150–​1, 226, 267, 269, 270, 281 Ilanga lase Natal 99–​100, 102, 225–​6 illiteracy 10, 176 Imvo Zabantsundu 1–​2, 5, 100, 225–​6, 267 Independent Media 11, 25, 101, 224–​6, 228–​36, 238 Independent Newspapers Limited 1, 100 indigenous language education 115 indigenous language media 9–​10, 16–​17, 20–​2, 24–​8, 55–​60, 63, 67, 69–​70, 105–​14, 116–​17, 140, 144, 205, 208–​12, 215, 217, 219–​21, 224, 227, 231, 237, 267 indigenous language newspapers 16–​17, 24–​5, 27–​8, 30, 55–​60, 62–​70, 90–​2, 100–​2, 111–​14, 120–​5, 131–​2, 137–​52, 179–​81, 224–​31, 234–​7, 267–​9, 273, 275, 280–​1 indigenous language press 9–​10, 17, 49, 55–​70, 99, 105, 112, 114, 116, 123, 137–​8, 148–​52, 179, 210, 216, 225, 267, 272–​3, 285 indigenous language radio station(s) 11, 16, 22, 205–​7, 214, 217, 244–​5, 248, 260–​1 indigenous public spheres 56, 60, 62 Indosakusa 56, 58–​9, 64 Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) 6, 7 interactivity 21, 27–​8, 150 interpretive 36, 80, 110 interpretivist paradigm 61 Intsatseli 92–​4, 98, 101 Iriri Aye 1, 143, 173 Iroyin Yoruba 1–​3, 17, 24, 141, 161, 267, 273 isiXhosa language newspapers 5, 11, 224–​5, 227, 230, 238 isiZulu newspapers 3, 79, 230, 281 Isokan 1, 143, 148, 170, 172, 174, 273 Isolezwe 1–​2, 6, 10, 16, 74, 79, 84, 87, 91, 98–​102, 150, 224–​5, 228–​9, 231, 233–​4, 237, 267, 269, 270, 281, 283 Iwe irohin 15–​16, 123, 138–​9, 141, 143, 148, 168, 170, 179, 182 Izwi Lama Swazi 90–​3, 98, 100–​1 Kayemo 17, 163, 171, 174 Kingdom of Eswatini 10, 90–​2, 94–​5, 101 KPMG 28, 274 Kwayedza 10, 38–​9, 41–​3, 45–​50, 56, 58–​9, 79, 87, 105–​6, 108–​117

language 139–​40, 145, 167, 187, 189; and culture 16, 128, 57, 67, 149, 168, 180, 183, 208–​9; policy 30, 35, 39–​40, 42, 46, 49, 76–​7, 81, 177–​8, 236; politics 35–​7, 39, 41–​4, 46, 49–​50, 210; and syntax 190, 193 lede 198–​9 letters to the editor 100, 159, 163–​4, 171 linguistic hegemony 39, 42, 79–​80, 84 linguistic minorities 57, 80 LinkedIn 28 local language newspapers 1–​3, 9, 11, 91, 137, 139–​40, 143, 145, 149, 151, 229, 269, 274, 281, 283–​4 mainstream media 10, 37, 44, 50, 55, 57, 107–​8, 116, 139, 145–​6, 150, 199–​200, 212, 219, 227, 232 mainstream model 1–​2, 43, 47, 150, 229 MAMSER see Mass Mobilisation for Self Reliance, Social Justice and Economic Recovery (MAMSER) management and sustainability 10, 36, 39, 43, 50, 135 Mandla-​Matla Publishing  1, 6–​7 marginalisation 18, 36, 39–​40, 44, 57, 78, 85, 107, 115–​16 Marianhill Monastery 1, 8 market-​oriented strategy  79, 87 mass communication 19, 204, 285 mass media 6, 21, 40, 80, 129, 140, 248–​9, 272, 285 Mass Mobilisation for Self Reliance, Social Justice and Economic Recovery (MAMSER) 143 MDDA see Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) media 24 2, 6; consumers 4, 124; content 20, 22, 80, 107, 112, 147, 213, 216–​17, 229, 244, 246; content marketing strategy 244; houses 29, 149, 210, 213, 218–​19, 224, 227, 229, 235–​6; institutions 56–​7, 79–​80, 109, 236–​7; organizations 22, 27, 29, 211, 228; outlets 4, 80, 124, 150, 209, 211, 217; ownership 20, 30, 91, 131 Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) 67, 75, 81–​6, 149 Media Development Fund 29 minority language(s) 4, 18, 36, 40–​1, 46–​7, 67, 80, 107, 115–​6, 243, 248, 260 Mmega Dikgang 9, 74–​87 Monney, Affail 206, 208, 212, 214–​17

292 Index Moose storytelling 196, 198–​200 mother tongue(s) 3, 7, 16, 91, 99, 102, 121, 137, 140–​2, 145, 150–​1, 158, 177, 276 multilingualism 76–​7 multi-​modality  27 NAN see News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) narrative(s) 10–​11, 108, 116, 188, 190–​5, 197–​8, 200–​1; African 201; master 189–​93, 200 National Concord 1, 170 national language 18, 20, 35, 44, 177, 285 national language policy 35, 44 Nation, The 99, 170, 270, 279, 27 NBC see Nigeria Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) Ndebele-​language newspapers  56 neo-​liberalism 244, 248 NERDC see Nigeria Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) 159 niche(s) 120, 124, 282; ecological 124; market 48, 79, 87, 151, 220; theory 124 NICO see National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) Nigeria 1–​2, 4–​7, 9–​10, 15–​18, 20–​4, 27–​30, 120–​3, 125–​31, 137–​41, 149–​50, 157–​8, 166–​71, 173, 175, 177–​81, 225, 267–​8, 272, 281 Nigeria Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) 15, 22 Nigeria Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) 177–​8 Nigeria indigenous language media 6, 9, 15, 23 Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) 160 Nigerian newspaper(s) 27, 127, 269–​70 Nigerian press 122–​3, 138 Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) 121 Nigerian Tribune, The 1, 24, 125, 170, 270 Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) 141, 159 NLC see Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Obasa, Denrele Adetimikan 169 online journalism 27, 30, 144 online publication 130 Peace FM 11, 204–​8, 211, 213–​14, 216–​18, 220 Perskor (Perskorporasie of South Africa) 1–​2 political economy 4, 6, 9, 13, 15, 19–​20, 22, 30, 35, 44, 79–​80, 85, 91, 105, 220, 224, 227–​8, 268

politics of language 9, 15, 35–​6, 39, 42–​5, 47–​8, 50 post-​apartheid South Africa 232, 234, 236–​7 post-​colonial Zimbabwe 9, 55, 65 post-​independence: Africa 74, 84, 87; language policy 35–​6, 38–​9, 45, 76; language politics 37, 43, 50; public domain 39–​40; South Africa 76, 80, 87; Zimbabwe 35–​7, 39, 41, 43–​5, 50, 62 power equation 3, 6, 92 power struggle 17–​18, 30 Pretoria News 1, 270 print media 22–​5, 28, 37–​8, 107, 120–​1, 123, 125, 132, 156, 167–​8, 171, 182, 199, 234, 237, 269, 277 professionalism 20, 125, 204–​6, 211, 213–​20, 229 proverbs 129, 176, 188–​90, 193, 196, 199–​200, 212, 214; African 189, 193 public sphere(s) 57, 60–​3, 70, 99, 102, 139–​40, 144–​5, 149 Punch, The 27, 125, 127, 270 quality journalism 11, 204, 211–​13, 215–​16, 218–​19, 284 Radio Ghana 209 Radio Lagos 16, 121, 131 Radio Nigeria 121, 156, 171 radio station(s) 16, 55, 75, 97, 99, 113, 149, 205–​7, 209–​10, 214, 243, 245–​8, 250–​2, 256–​7, 259 Radio Zimbabwe 106–​7 Ramaphosa, Cyril 235, 250–​1 readership 7, 10, 21, 23, 26, 48–​9, 55–​6, 65–​7, 82, 84, 86–​7, 100–​2, 114, 120, 142–​4, 147, 149–​50, 179–​80, 224, 227, 232, 268–​9, 272–​4, 276–​7, 283 regional languages 17, 275 resources 3, 19, 29–​30, 80, 101, 124, 140, 142, 148–​9, 158, 189, 193, 217, 220, 229–​31, 237, 254–​7; allocation 3, 6, 16, 30, 92 SABC see South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) SAP see Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) secondary language 231–​2 sensationalism 49, 79, 106–​8, 110, 115–​17 Setswana newspaper 9, 75 settlers 37, 39, 43–​4, 94 Sexwale, Tokyo 235

Index  293 Shona and Ndebele 36–​42, 45–​7, 49–​50, 58, 112; Newspapers 46–​7 siSwati-​language: newspapers 10, 90–​4, 97–​9, 102; press 10, 90, 99; speakers 91, 93, 95, 100–​2 snowball sampling 61–​2 social media 10, 21, 27, 58, 95, 105, 107, 112–​15, 120, 141, 144, 147, 150–​2, 182, 207, 218–​19, 246, 258, 275 socio-​economic development  28, 76 socio-​political participation 205, 220 South Africa 1–​6, 67–​8, 74–​9, 84–​7, 93–​5, 97, 99–​101, 111, 149–​50, 197, 224–​5, 227, 233, 243, 251, 257, 259–​60, 267–​9, 281, 283 South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) 11, 234, 236, 243–​4, 249–​53, 255–​7, 260–​1 South African Press Code 233, 235–​7 Star, The 1, 230–​1, 269, 271, 279 story 191–​3, 196 storytelling 27, 191–​200; African 10, 187, 193, 196–​8; African modes of 196, 198–​201; conventional 198–​9; cultural 193, 200 storytelling mode(s) of 11, 188, 190, 196–​201 storytelling model(s) of 187, 189, 193, 197, 199 strategy 11, 23, 49, 67, 79, 87, 111, 115, 117, 126–​8, 130–​1, 142, 149, 152, 161, 164, 192, 195–​6, 212, 215–​17, 221, 244, 249, 261, 284 Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) 25 struggle for survival 10, 105, 109, 124, 137 subsidiary model 1, 43, 47, 90–​1, 148, 227, 230–​1 successes 9, 53, 121, 231 survival game 10, 120, 125 survival strategies 28, 56, 58, 60, 62, 65, 108–​10, 112, 115, 125, 127, 224 sustainability strategy 215, 221 Swazi Observer 90, 93, 100 syndicated news clips 244, 250–​1 syndication 244–​51, 257, 259, 261; content 246–​8, 250, 257, 261; news 11, 243–​5, 261; web content 246 tabloidisation 7, 48–​9, 79, 87 target audience 43, 66, 83, 102, 147, 175, 211–​12, 227, 231, 248, 253, 257, 284 technological determinism 146 thematic analysis 62, 81, 230

theoretical framework 56, 60, 108, 227, 250 Thomas, Andrew 123, 168 Thomas, Isaac B 169 Tikhatsi Temaswati 91, 93–​4, 97–​8, 101 Times of Swaziland 90, 92–​3, 97–​8, 100 Townsend, Henry, Reverend 15, 122–​3, 129, 138, 168 Twitter 27–​8, 147, 246 Udoka 1, 121, 123, 143, 148, 170, 272 UmAfrika 1–​2, 6, 8–​9, 79, 90, 99, 281 uMthunywa 10, 38–​9, 41–​3, 45–​50, 56, 58–​9, 79, 87, 105, 107–​17 underdevelopment of African language: language press 9, 35–​40, 42–​6, 48, 50; newspapers 49–​50, 86 vernacular newspapers 90, 97, 99, 142 Vuka Ngwane 90–​1, 94, 98–​9, 101 Western Nigeria Broadcasting Corporation 15 World Information Agents 1, 27, 121, 156, 171 Yoruba culture 128, 132, 272 Yoruba language 4, 10, 21, 123, 128–​9, 138–​9, 142–​3, 148, 167–​8, 171, 175–​7, 178, 179–​80, 182–​3 Yoruba newspaper(s) 1, 7, 10, 121–​2, 139, 148, 156–​64, 166–​71, 172, 175–​6, 179–​83, 267, 272–​3, 281; contemporary 10, 156–​9, 166, 170–​2 YouTube 27–​8, 113, 246 ZAMPS see Zimbabwe All Media Products Survey (ZAMPS) Zico Investment-​Witness Group 2, 5, 8 Zimbabwe 9–​10, 35–​43, 45–​8, 56–​9, 61–​2, 66, 70, 105–​9, 115–​16, 281 Zimbabwe All Media Products Survey (ZAMPS) 56, 106, 108, 111 Zimbabwe indigenous language: in media 57–​8, 105, 108–​9, 113; in newspapers 10, 56, 70, 105, 108, 112; in press 9, 56, 58–​65, 70 Zimpapers (Zimbabwe Newspapers) 38, 43, 45, 47–​8, 50, 56, 111, 113–​14, 117 Zulu-​language newspapers 3, 91, 74, 100–​1 Zulu media 7–​8