About us

The Mail & Guardian, then known as The Weekly Mail, was started as an alternative newspaper by a group of journalists in 1985 after the closure of the liberal newspaper, The Rand Daily Mail. It was one of the first newspapers to use Apple Mac desktop publishing. Read founding editor Irwin Manoim's description about how it started here

The M&G was launched in 1994 as Africa's first online newspaper, and one of the first online newspapers in the world. We continue to provide content that is in-depth and insightful on platforms that are digitally innovative. Verashni Pillay is the editor-in-chief of the M&G newspaper. 

We were the first African news publication available on Kindle, and one of the first to have a paid-for iPad edition and iPhone app in the iStore. The M&G is also mobile friendly and can be accessed on m.mg.co.za.

The M&G has received numerous accolades and awards for its online work, often scooping the inaugural digital awards in various competitions. The first to win the multi-platform award at the 2013 Sikuvile awards, the website has also won the CNN Multichoice Africa Journalism Award for digital journalism in 2012 and the online multimedia award at the 2012 Standard Bank Sikuvile Journalism Awards. Besides winning these firsts, the M&G's website has won three Bookmarks awards in 2010 and 2011, one of which was a gold award for its Nelson Mandela tribute site. It received three Webby Honourable mentions in 2008 for its Thought Leader platform site and in 2001, the site was voted one of the world's top 175 websites by Forbes.com


The publication belongs to M&G Media Limited which is 77.69% owned by Zimbabwean publisher and entrepreneur Trevor Ncube. A 10% share each is held by the M&G Staff Share Trust and Media Development Investment Fund and the remaining 2.31% in shares is attributed to other minorities.

Other sites:

The M&G runs several other sites including mg.co.za

  • Thought Leader: An editorial group blog of quality commentary and analysis.
  • M&G Women: Content aggregated for the purpose of foregrounding issues that might otherwise be subsumed into the general content mix.

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More about the Mail & Guardian

A 30-second guide

The Mail & Guardian
Previously known as The Weekly Mail. Some of its critics and fans still know it for short as The Wail. A South African newspaper, published nationwide each Friday, aimed at serious readers.

The Mail & Guardian Online
Previously known as eM&G and the Daily Mail & Guardian. First cousin, once removed, to the Mail & Guardian. A pan-African daily online newspaper, published all day, all week, aimed at serious and not-so-serious readers.

Mail & Guardian focus
Political analysis, investigative reporting, Southern African news, comprehensive coverage of local arts, music and popular culture, and more ...

Mail & Guardian Online focus
Local, international and African hard news, sport and business; publishing analytical, in-depth reports from its print edition, and more ...

History of the Mail & Guardian
Founded 1985 by a group of retrenched journalists from the deceased Rand Daily Mail. Built up a reputation for nose-thumbing attitude to the establishment and for uncovering Inkathagate scandal. Favourite prison reading of Nelson Mandela; banned for a while by PW Botha. In recent years, continues to be a thorn in the side of gravy-train politicians with reports on Oilgate, the police chief and more. In 2005, the M&G newspaper turned 20. Find out more

History of the Mail & Guardian Online
First online newspaper in Africa, founded 1994 as a service to readers outside South Africa. Evolved into a separate product run by a separate company, but now enjoys a closer relationship as a division of the newspaper. Today, it continues to be one of the top news destinations on the African continent.

Mail & Guardian readers
Niche market, interested in a critical approach to politics, arts and current affairs. Large numbers of readers among professionals, academics, diplomats, lobbyists, non-governmental groups.

Mail & Guardian Online readers
Broad-based readership of South Africans and Africans who prefer their daily news to be indepth and insightful. Plus a large readership abroad of expats, would-be tourists, foreigners with a special interest in Africa and more. A generally argumentative bunch: see for yourself on Thought Leader.

Mail & Guardian owners
Originally owned by hundreds of small shareholders who bought small blocks of shares at R1 000 each, as part of a surge of 'reader power' to respond to the death of the Rand Daily Mail. In the early 1990s, the Guardian newspaper group in London became the largest shareholder when it came to the rescue of the then-ailing company. In 2002, the Guardian reduced its shareholding to 10% and sold the majority share at 87,5% to Zimbabwean media owner and entrepreneur Trevor Ncube. Having relocated to South Africa, Ncube also took over as CEO of the company.

Mail & Guardian Online owners
Originally a separate division of the Mail & Guardian. In 1997 a 65% share was sold to internet service provider MWeb, but then bought back in 2008 by Trevor Ncube's M&G Media, the company that publishes the M&G newspaper.