Digital pioneer Matthew Buckland dies

Digital news entrepreneur Matthew Buckland has died at age 45. Buckland was previously the head of the Mail & Guardian’s online division for seven years where he founded award-winning collaborative news and opinion platform, Thought Leader. Buckland took over the M&G’s digital division from Irwin Manoim who launched the platform in 1994 and turned it into one of the continent’s leading and profitable digital websites.

While at the M&G, Buckland also launched Amatomu, a blogging platform.

Following his time at the M&G, Buckland went on to establish a division at Naspers’ online publisher News24.com. 

Buckland, a pioneer in internet entrepreneurship, founded digital agency Creative Spark and publishing company Burn Media in 2010. He sold his majority shares in both companies to international advertising agency M&C Saatchi in 2015. Buckland would later take the reins of Burn Media Group which owns technology publishing brands which report on emerging markets Memeburn and Ventureburn. Ventureburn focuses on the startup, entrepreneur and investor ecosystems in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria.

Buckland was also a consultant and investor at multinational media fund Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF) which backs global media clients through financial investments and strategy assistance. The MDIF, which is also the primary shareholder in M&G Media, has invested more than $166-million in over 114 independent businesses in 39 countries.


Buckland studied journalism at Rhodes University and completed a Harvard Business School executive education course for future leaders with a focus on online business and social networking. He is survived by his wife Brigette and two daughters.

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