East Africa’s first ‘newspaper’

It has come to my attention that Msimulizi, a newspaper published from 1888 in Zanzibar (Tanzania), has been digitized and is now available in full text online.

The catalog record from SOAS, University of London, includes the following contextual information:

For historic context see: Sturmer, Martin. The Media history of Tanzania. (Ndanda, Tanzania : Ndanda Mission Press, 1998). ISBN 9976635923. Chapter 4.1 and continuing into Chapter 7.1. “…the first newspaper of Tanzania, Msimulizi (The Storyteller), was published by the Anglican Universities Mission to Central Africa (UMCA) on Zanzibar in 1888… The paper, published every two month, was originally edited by Swithun Ulumana and, in December 1888, by Hugh Swinton Mtoka. The paper ceased publication in 1895, but was relaunched in March 1904, with editors Rev. Weston and S. Chiponde, and continued until World War 1.

The Universities’ Mission to Central Africa (c.1857 – 1965) was a missionary society established by members of the Anglican Church within the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Durham, and Dublin. It was firmly in the Anglo-Catholic tradition of the Church, and the first to devolve authority to a bishop in the field rather than to a home committee. Founded in response to a plea by David Livingstone, the society established the mission stations that grew to be the bishoprics of Zanzibar and Nyasaland (later Malawi), and pioneered the training of black African priests. — Wikipedia

The original newspaper at SOAS appears to be a unique global holding. Because the paper was embrittled, this title was made a priority for digital preservation. At the time of this writing, the title has not been indexed by Google, so the direct link above may be necessary until it is.

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