Central News Agency
In 1896 two entrepreneurs, Michael Davis and Albert Lindbergh, paired up to sell newspapers in Johannesburg. By coordinating teams of newsboys who delivered papers by foot and on bicycles, the Central News Agency (CNA) was founded. The first newspapers sold were The Star, The Standard and Diggers News.
Davis and Lindbergh were continually trying to increase their shares of street sales. They soon moved into the sale of books, periodicals and stationery and began acting as advertising agents. Newspapers, however, were their greatest interest. By 1899, the business had outgrown the Harrison Street base. Bigger premises were needed and the choice was a large building on the Corner of Commissioner and Rissik Streets.
In 1901 the partners began opening bookstalls at railway stations across the Cape. In 1902 the business secured a huge deal with the Argus and the Cape Times who placed their entire publishing contracts with CNA. CNA experienced phenomenal growth and in 1903 was floated as a public company.
By 1904, the company was nationwide and the business signed a deal with Gordon & Gotch to become their sole agents in Great Britain while their branches in Cape Town and Natal would be taken over by CNA. It paved the way for Davis’ acquisition of the sole agency in South Africa, for a number of important and popular overseas newspapers and periodicals.
Around 1905, Geo C Brown was an agent for the CNA and managed his branch in Sauer’s Chambers on the corner of 8th Avenue and Abercorn Street, Bulawayo.
After WWI, a new range of “fancy goods” was introduced into the stores – toys, cutlery and leather goods and after WWII, CNA mirrored this phase and established itself in Rhodesia with one of their partially-owned subsidiaries, Kingstons Ltd.
In 1983 CNA merged with Gallo Africa and in 1990 CNA Gallo acquired 50% shares in Nu Metro. In 1992 the remaining 50% shares were bought out and Nu Metro became a wholly-owned subsidiary under Gallo Africa.
in 2002 it was bought by retail group Edcon.
- James Gavin
- Andrew Wilkie