In 1903 Mahathma Gandhi founded the Indian Opinion newspaper to be the voice of the Indian community that had first come to South Africa as indentured labourers to work in the sugar cane fields of Natal. The International Printing Press on which the newspaper was printed, was relocated to the Phoenix Settlement north of Durban in 1904. The paper was published with the assistance of a number of people, including Virjee Mehta who hails from a village near Porbander where Gandhi was born.
The Metha family later established the Bombay Printing works, which was renamed Universal Printing Works and is now controlled by Virjee’s grandchildren. Initially the newspaper was published in four languages – Tamil, Hindi, Gudjerati and English – but later on the Tamil and Hindi editions ceased and only the Gudjerati and English editions were kept up. In 1920 Gandhi’s son Manilal became editor of the Indian Opinion. His wife Sushila supervised the publication of the Gudjerati edition. Later renamed to Opinion, the paper was printed at the Phoenix Settlement since 1904 on the printing press now on display in the museum at the Settlement. Until 1944 the printing press, built of wood and iron, was at the foot of the hill. The Opinion was published until August 1961.
Gandhi had hoped to use the newspaper to create social awareness to inequality, racism and other human rights issues. Since 1955, the newspaper introduced African viewpoints in its columns and with the adoption of the Freedom Charter in 1955 under the aegis of the Congress Alliance vigorous debates took place between the protagonists of non-racialism and others. Chief Albert Luthuli was a regular participant in these debates, through the Opinion.
In 1956 Manilal Gandhi, the editor of the Opinion died and his wife Sushila Gandhi took over the position of resident trustee and also the editor-ship of the paper.
IsiZulu Summary: Umlando wephephandaba i-Indian Opinion
Leliphephandaba lasungulwa ngonyaka ka 1903 nguMahathma Gandhi. Waliqala ngenhloso yokuthi libe yizwi labomdabu baseNdiya abeza eNingizimu Afrika njengezigqila bezosebenza emasimini omoba eNatali. Leliphephandaba lalishicilelwa ngabe International Printing Press esendaweni yase Phoenix, enyakatho neTheku ngo 1904. Baningi abantu ababayingxenye yokuqalwa kwaleliphepha njengo Virjee Metha owayedabuka lapho kuzalwa khona uMahathma Gandhi endaweni eseduze ne Porbander.
Ngokuhamba kweminyaka umndeni wakwa Metha wasungula elayo ibhizinisi lokushicilela elalaziwa ngokuthi yi-Bombay Printing Works eyabuye yashintsha kwabayi Universal Printing Works manje esiphethwe abazukulu baVirjee. Ekuqaleni leliphephandaba lalishicilelwa ngezilimi ezine, iTamil, Hindi, Gudjerati kanye nesiNgisi okwathi ngokuhamba kwesikhathi isiTamil nesiHindi kwangasashicilelwa. Ngonyaka ka 1920 indodana kaMahathma, uManilal waba ngumhleli we Indian Opinion, unkosikazi wakhe wabheka ukushicilelwa kwephepha lesiGudjerati. Leliphaphandaba lashicilelwa kwaze kwabangu August ka 1961.
UGandhi wayenethemba lokusebenzisa leliphephandaba ukuveza ukungalingani kwabantu emphakathini, ukucwasana kanye nangamalungelo abantu. Kwathi ngonyaka ka 1955 leliphephandaba laqala ukuveza nemibona yabantu abamnyama njenge Freedom Charter ngo 1955. Ziningi izinkulumo mpikiswano ezazenzeka kuleliphephandaba kubantu ababengahambisana nokucwasana ngokwebala nokunye esingabala uChief Albert Luthuli. Ngonyaka ka 1956, uManilala Gandhi wedlula emhlabeni, ezicathulweni zakhe kwangena unkosikazi wakhe