City Press staff in celebratory mood at book launch.

Former editors of the City Press newspaper were in attendance at the launch of The Chapter We Wrote: The City Press Story on Wednesday, July 25. Held at Media Park in Johannesburg, the launch brought together former and current staff to take stock of the achievements of the newspaper since its establishment in 1984.

The book, written by  former editor, Len Kalane explores events and stories he felt defined his time at the helm of the paper. In addition, the book chronicles watershed moments in the newspaper’s history such as its inclusion in the Naspers stable and censorship under the the Aparthied regime.

Kalane, who joined City Press in the early 80’s, explained that one of the reasons he wrote the book was to put any misconceptions about City Press into context.

“There has been a lot of misrepresentation of City Press and what it stands for because of the relationship between Naspers and City Press back then.

Kalane added that the book was also written in honour of the late author and journalist, Percy Qoboza.
“I wanted to pay tribute to Percy Qoboza. He not only made a mark at City Press but as a journalist in general. A lot is said about the legend but not a lot is written about him,” he said.

The launch included a panel discussion with five of the paper’s former editors; Ferial Haffajee, Khathu Mmaila, Mathatha Tsedu and Khulu Sibiya.

Tsedu, a current member of the SABC Board, reflected on his happier moments at the newspaper.
“One of my most memorable moments as editor was when the announcement was made that South Africa was going to host the 2010 FIFA soccer World Cup.

“I remember that we had prepared two different newspapers for our Saturday edition. One was for if we got it [the bid to host the soccer world cup] and another for if we nearly got it,” he said.

Sibiya spoke about the death of Chris Hani in 1993 which he referred to as “a turning point in history” while Haffajee  referred to the Marikana massacre as “democratic South Africa first’s massacre.”

Current editor, Mondli Makhanya thanked the editors for their roles in making the publication what it is today.

FEATURED IMAGE: Former editors in conversation about the past and present of City Press. Photo: Palesa Dlamini