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There seems to have been a newspaper in Vryheid almost since the town was established in 1884 as the capital of the New Republic. However, the local Lucas Meyer museum is poorly endowed with historical records and artifacts in this regard.
There is evidence of a fortnightly newspaper called De Nieuwe Republikein back in the 1890s, and the weekly Vryheid and District Gazette in the 1920s. Apparently, when the British occupied Vryheid during the Anglo Boer War 1899-1902, there was another newspaper, probably “sponsored” by the British command.
There is an old photograph, probably from around the 1920s/1930s, of a street scene, and a signboard on the outside of a building saying “Vryheid Herald”. This however served only as inspiration for the name of the modern Vryheid Herald, established in 1983, and there is no historical connection between the two.
For a long time, up to around 1985 when it closed, the Vryheid Gazette and District News was Vryheid’s newspaper. It was a sold newspaper. Its demise was hastened by the establishment of the Vryheid Herald in 1983 by Terry Bunge who distributed the Herald FREE to all Vryheid homes. He apparently established it in a fit of pique after an argument with the Gazette’s management.
To begin with, Terry was the managing editor/owner, but over the years there have been a number of “editors” in a fairly loose or imaginative hierarchy. And until Caxton took over the Herald in 1997, it was “spoeg en plaked” at RA Burns printers in Dundee (Rob Burns also being the owner of the Dundee Courier, and apparently having shares in the Vryheid Herald).
So, Caxton took over the Vryheid Herald in August 1997, computers, Xywrite and Pagemaker were introduced, and by the end of November that year it was being printed at the Newcastle Advertiser. The Vryheid Herald went “Sold” shortly after Caxton took over – price 40 cents.
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