Monday 21 October, 2013
Swaziland has a new Sunday newspaper — the Sunday Observer. It is published by the Swazi Observer Group of Newspapers, which is owned by an investment fund called Tibiyo Taka Ngwane. This fund is controlled by King Mswati III “in trust for the Swazi nation”.
The first edition appeared yesterday, Sunday 20 October, 2011.
Under the Swazi Observer umbrella, the Sunday Observer joins the daily paper Swazi Observer and the Observer on Saturday (previously Weekend Observer).
Swaziland’s Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA-Swaziland) spoke with the man in charge of the new publication, managing editor Mbongeni Mbingo. Read on for the interview…
MISA-Swaziland (MS): Why has Swazi Observer started a new newspaper for Sundays?
Mbongeni Mbingo (MM): The Swazi Observer Board feels that there is a market and demand for a Sunday Observer, and, of course, has decided to pursue this venture in an effort to fill the void of not having a publication on the day. It comes as a result of our successful showing during the elections period — during which we published on a Sunday to notify the public of the outcome of the elections. The result was overwhelming, it was felt that it was time to publish on Sunday.
MS: What will the focus of the new newspaper be?
MM: The newspaper really will be a cross between politics and investigations. We also envision it being lots of features and opinions on politics, to offer that public discourse on the core issues that affect us as a nation.
MS: How will be it different from the daily Swazi Observer and the Weekend Observer? What will happen to the Weekend Observer now? Will it become just a Saturday newspaper?
MM: It will be different from the daily and the other weekly, and we are working a lot on the content. Our view is that the Sunday can be quite analytical, and offer a lot more on politics. The Weekend Observer will assume a new name, the Observer on Saturday. But it will continue as it has always been, because it already has good readership.
MS: Why will it be of interest to Swazis?
MM: Because Swazis have been calling out for a Sunday paper from the Observer; because there is a market for it; and because there is so much still to cover in the political spectrum, and as long as it offers the readers something fresh and exciting, a variety and a diversity of views and news, the Swazis will be interested.
MS: Is the new newspaper good for media diversity in Swaziland?
MM: I am hoping it will be. And we are working quite a lot on that.
MS: What is your role with the new newspaper? Will you still be doing your old job as well?
MM: My role is that of editor, for now. I am juggling both jobs (editor at daily Swazi Observer and Sunday Observer) and am excited at the challenge that lies ahead. What is even more challenging is the opportunity to give our readers something totally different, but which we believe they have been crying out for.
For comments or queries, please contact:
MISA-Swaziland National Director