Vuk’uzenzele 50th Edition Special
Celebrating 50 editions of Vuk’uzenzele
Louise van Niekerk
You are holding in your hands the 50th edition of Vuk’uzenzele. The first edition saw the light in October 2005, and although it has since changed its format and appearance, it continues to communicate government’s programmes and policies to all South Africans.
The first seeds for Vuk’uzenzele magazine were planted in 2004, when the need for a regular publication was identified to inform readers about economic and other opportunities created by government and how they could access such opportunities, as well as to raise awareness of government programmes in general.
Research conducted at the time, indicated that only one in three South Africans received adequate information in this regard.
Government Communications (GCIS) made it happen
With Cabinet’s approval, GCIS started with the production of Vuk’uzenzele and we haven’t looked back since.
Along with the proposal to produce a regular government publication, the name Vuk’uzenzele meaning “Wake and up and do it yourself” and its slogan “Let’s make it happen!” were also approved.
After some months of planning, followed by the launch in September 2005, the first edition appeared in October 2005. Although the magazine was aimed at all South Africans, a concerted effort was made to distribute it to those in rural areas who had limited access to mainstream media.
During the years, we featured articles on a wide variety of topics including health, education, financial planning, role models, success stories, awareness days, support for small farmers and businesses, improvements in housing and basic services and better roads and transport. We also featured news on arts, culture and sport including extensive coverage around the 2010 Soccer World Cup.
Vuk’uzenzele is also available in all the official languages although not all the pages are translated and boasts the largest print runs within the newspaper industry.
To cater for the visually impaired, it is also available in Braille, while a web version caters for those with access to the Internet.
Increasing the reach
During 2010, after almost five years of existence, a review to increase the reach of the magazine without additional budget was done. Considering various options, Vuk’uzenzele magazine was changed into a monthly tabloid newspaper with the first new-look edition appearing in April 2011. The changes made it possible to print 20,4 million copies per year instead of 10 million. Now we are appearing more often and bigger than before. GCIS produces 1,7 million copies of the newspaper monthly stead of 1,6 million every second month.
Facebook and Twitter
Reflecting government’s commitment its key priority areas including its infrastructure programmes, each edition Vuk’uzenzele newspaper has dedicated ages with news about education, safety and security, health, job creation, rural development and infrastructure development.
Our special four-page Employment News supplement focuses on articles related to job creation and skills development and features advertisements for vacancies in the public sector.
The dawn of the technological era has not left Vukuzenzele behind. The paper is now available online at http://www.info.gov.za/vukuzenzele/ and maintains a healthy presence on Facebook and on Twitter.