Still faithful to our mandate 150 years on

The Daily Dispatch in production.
The Daily Dispatch in production.
Image: FILE/Daily Dispatch

As we bring our actual 150th birthday celebrations to a close, it seems an opportune time to reflect on the mandate on which Dispatch was formed and the one that drives us still.

Then editor Massey Hicks, in that very first edition published on Tuesday, 10 September 1872, wrote: “The Dispatch is intended to advocate and protect, as far as may be, the best interests of the people; to expose and rectify abuses wherever they may exist, and to promote, as much as in us lies, the welfare and prosperity of the port and division of East London.”

For 150 years, we have been fearless in our pursuit of the truth. Our "A look back in history" series  — which began last week and appears for the last time in this paper with our coverage of anti-apartheid activist and Black Consciousness Movement leader Steve Biko's passing 45 years ago today — is just a tiny fraction of what this paper has reported on over the years.

The Dispatch's investigations into the baby deaths at Frere Hospital, the Nelson Mandela funeral scandal, the dubious multimillion-rand Siyenza toilet tender and the shameful state of hostels in the province have brought much needed change and held those responsible accountable.

We are driven by a passion to improve the lives of the people of the Eastern Cape, to educate and inform our readers, and to hold those in power accountable.

Come 2022, the founding values remain at the heart of what we stand for as the Daily Dispatch: while we have expanded our reach beyond East London to include Makhanda, Mthatha and beyond, we continue to strive to defend justice when no one else will, determined to bring you the truth, daring to tell the story in the face of danger in the hope that, by doing so, we promote the welfare of this province.

For our birthday month, the Daily Dispatch has collaborated with the East London Museum for an exhibition where visitors will be able to view our documentary on the relationship between former editor Donald Woods and Biko. Visitors will also be able to page through old editions of the newspaper and see the desk where Woods penned his powerful pieces against an unjust regime.

We vow to continue being a champion for those who do not have a voice and, through the power of the word, help create an Eastern Cape we all deserve.

With your continued support, we promise to remain fearless and true to you, our loyal readers.



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