#120PretoriaNews: Here’s the news since 1898

Published May 15, 2018


On June 13, 1898 the Pretoria News printed its first edition. With the exception of a period during the South African War - the Second Boer War - it has continued to print.

The first editor was Leo Weinthal and he and its first manager, a Mr Reno, bought an old Methodist Church at 216 Vermeulen Street where they started the Pretoria Printing Works.

When war broke out a year later Weinthal became a war correspondent and printing was interrupted from 1900 to December 1902, when Reno received permission from the British governor, with Vere Stent as its second editor. While Weinthal had enjoyed a good relationship with Paul Kruger, then-president of the South African Republic (the Transvaal Republic) Stent declared himself to be “brilliant and British” and loyal to Governor Milner’s administration.

After he left, the newspaper became more moderate, with the next editor Rex Hall celebrating Afrikaans and supporting Pretoria as the only capital city (rather than having Parliament in Cape Town) - something the newspaper supports to this day.

During World War II the Pretoria News earned a reputation for being first with the news from the (war) front.

The editor at the time was Mac Simpson who would tune into the BBC at home and write stories from their broadcasts in time for the afternoon paper.

Over the decades the Pretoria News has had many editors, each overseeing dramatic news events, political change and technological advancement which has shaped the newspaper.

Some have gone on to make names for themselves as media leaders, authors and political commentators. These include, Tertius Myburgh, Andrew Drysdale, Wilf Nussey, Mostert van Schoor, Deon du Plessis, Alan Dunn and Ivan Fynn.

The first black editor was Thabo Leshilo, who was followed by Clyde Bawden, Philani Mgwaba, Alide Dasnois (acting), and Zingisa Mkhuma - the title’s first female editor.

Current editor is Valerie Boje, who started her journalistic career on the newspaper and worked under Nussey.

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