Digitisation of the Early Black South African Press

Project description

This project seeks to digitise content from the early South African black press in order to use the content towards creating a more decolonised and more multilingual ‘journalism and society’ module. As field, journalism was initially established as a disrupter, however the modern day news media has taken on the characteristics of the entities it sought to disrupt, by being strongly aligned to neo-liberal ideologies as evidenced by the fact that even the news media nowadays is seen as a business, and by prioritizing English, even in context, like South Africa, where the majority do not speak it as a first language. The content, context and authors of the material from the early black press in South Africa, turn the notions explored in the ‘journalism and society’ modules currently taught in many South African universities on their heads, and they expose ways in which the discipline espouses coloniality and prioritises English.

Project team

  • Lead: Dr Sisanda Nkoala
  • Research assistants: Sinelizwi Ncaluka, Chrystal Konstabel, Aphiwe Mame, Anda Mankayi, Zolani Matolengwe


Cape Peninsula University of Technology


newspapers, journalism, multilingualism


Sisanda Nkoala is a senior lecturer at the University of South Africa’s Department of Communication Sciences. She is the winner of the 2023 NIHSS Digital Humanities: Best Visualisation or infographic award, the recipient of the 2023 Western Cape Cultural Affairs Award for Best Researcher Contributing to Archival Heritage and the 2023 HERS-SA Young Women Leader in Higher Education winner for 2023.

She holds a PhD in Rhetoric Studies at the University of Cape Town’s Centre for Rhetoric Studies. She researches Rhetoric and South African media ecologies. She also publishes on multilingualism in higher education and journalism studies.

She serves as the Vice-President of the IAMCR’s Media Education Research section, the African Journalism Educators Network Secretary-General, and an associate editor for the Journal of Communication Technology. She is also a public representative on the South African Press Council, a member of the Film & Publication Board’s Appeals Tribunal and a former board trustee of Brand South Africa. In 2021 – 2023. She is also the Vice President of the South African Communication Association.

Before joining academia, she was a radio journalist and was the 2015 recipient of the Vodacom Journalist of the Year: Western Cape Radio Features category.