South Africa’s top websites currently attract millions of unique visitors per month, offering rich media content, online interaction, and modern designs. This was not always the case.
South Africa’s first co.za domain name – bksinc.co.za – was registered on 25 June 1992. It was, however, many years before the World Wide Web really took off in South Africa.
Many of South Africa’s largest websites, such as News24, Bidorbuy, and IOL, only started in the late nineties.
The Internet Archive makes it possible to look back at what South African websites looked like in their early days.
The Internet Archive built an Internet library of websites, which include snapshots of South African websites over time.
It should be noted that these snapshots do not always contain images and other web elements. The screenshots below have therefore been edited slightly to remove the broken images.
Here is a look back at what some of South Africa’s top websites looked like in their early days.
News24 is South Africa’s largest news website, offering local and international news to visitors as it happens. According to the latest Effective Measure statistics News24 attracted 7.9 million readers in May 2014, making it the top South African website.
Then – News24 on 2 April 2001
Now – News24 on 9 June 2014
IOL is one of South Africa’s top websites and a direct competitor to News24. In May 2014 IOL attracted 2.6 million unique visitors.
Then: IOL in October 1999
Now: IOL on 9 June 2014
MyBroadband is South Africa’s largest IT Website offering its visitors the latest technology news, and hosting the country’s largest online IT community. In May 2014 MyBroadband attracted 1.4 million readers.
Then: MyBroadband (then MyADSL) in 2003
Now: MyBroadband on 9 June 2014
Birorbuy is South Africa’s largest auction website. It was launched by Andy Higgins in August 1999, and has grown to become the “eBay of South Africa”.
Then: Bidorbuy on 28 November 1999
Now: Bidorbuy on 9 June 2014
Kalahari.com is South Africa’s largest online shopping portal. It was established in 1999, and offers shoppers millions of books, eBooks, music, DVDs, games, cameras, and electronics.
Then: Kalahari.net in January 1999
Now: Kalahari.com on 9 June 2014
Mail & Guardian
The Mail & Guardian Online, previously known as the Electronic Mail & Guardian or the Daily Mail & Guardian, was founded in the mid-Nineties by Irwin Manoim and Bruce Cohen. It is one of the world’s oldest news websites and among the first news sites on the African continent.
Then: Mail & Guardian on 19 January 1998
Now: Mail & Guardian on 9 June 2014
ITWeb was launched on 1 March 1996, making it one of South Africa’s first online news sources. ITWeb now delivers news, views and information through diverse content platforms, including online, e-newsletters, social media, print and events.
Then: ITWeb on 21 December 1996
Now: ITWeb on 9 June 2014
Moneyweb was started in 1997 by Alec Hogg, and the website has grown to become one of South Africa’s premier online destinations. In May 2014 Moneyweb attracted 439,000 unique visitors.
Then: Moneyweb on 7 May 1999
Now: Moneyweb on 9 June 2014
MWEB was founded in 1997 and is currently South Africa’s second largest Internet Service Provider. Over the years, the MWEB website changed from a basic business website to a portal offering a wide range of services.
Then: MWEB on 5 July 1998
Now: MWEB on 9 June 2014
MTN launched commercial mobile services in South Africa in June 1994. Over the last two decades the company grew to become a leading emerging markets mobile operator, connecting more than 204 million people in 22 countries across Africa and the Middle East.
Then: MTN on 11 November 1996
Now: MTN on 9 June 2014
Telkom is South Africa’s largest fixed line offering, and the only provider of ADSL services in the country. The company provides integrated communications solutions to both the business and consumer markets.