Our Journey

From distinguished beginnings …

A forward-thinking publisher for 170 years, Macmillan has always been passionate, supportive and innovative.

When brothers, Daniel and Alexander Macmillan, founded their publishing company in 1843, they created a place that would recognise and value great contemporary writing. They made a mark on the literary world, publishing an extraordinary range of works by extraordinary authors such as Thomas Hardy and Rudyard Kipling to name a few.

As the company grew, so did the two brothers’ belief in the importance of learning. They launched the scientific research journal Nature which is Macmillan’s biggest-selling and most famous publication today, followed by the Palgrave imprint, promoting education and academic scholarship around the world.  Both continue to be at the forefront of ground-breaking research in their fields and are key parts of Macmillan, even today.

…into Africa

When former British Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan, became chairperson in the middle of the 20th century, he decided that education should be a key investment area of the organisation. With his vision, the company established itself as a world leading educational publisher with an outstanding reputation.  His famous ‘winds of change’ tour of Africa in the 1960s not only changed the political face of Africa, but also provided the grand old man of publishing an opportunity to expand the Macmillan Publishing empire throughout the continent from oil-rich Nigeria to diamond-rich South Africa.

...and South Africa

Harold Macmillan’s ‘winds of change’ continued to blow throughout South Africa in the 1970s, and Macmillan BOLESWA emerged as a fresh breeze from the old, conservative style of Southern African publishing – and soon became a potent educational publishing force in the region.

Due to apartheid in South Africa, the focus was soon changed to Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland where few publishers ventured. From a relatively small Swaziland base, unfettered by apartheid constraints, BOLESWA grew rapidly – and became the first affirmative action publishing company – long before it was fashionable.

With strong editorial and production support from the UK, BOLESWA developed fresh, innovative products, which were light years ahead of the competition. The ‘winds of change’ which gave birth to BOLESWA were often tempestuous and frequently unpredictable, but they resulted in the creation of a major publishing undertaking in the southern African region.

In late 1994, Macmillan publishing returned to South Africa and Macmillan South Africa (Pty) Ltd was established and registered.

Now part of a much bigger publishing picture...

Over the years the structure of the Macmillan Publishing group has shifted to expand in different sectors and markets. Today Macmillan Education is part of Springer Nature, created in May 2015 when the majority of Macmillan Science and Education formally merged with the Springer Science + Business Media in its entirety.


 “The genuine desire of the Macmillan brothers to make a difference lives on in the Macmillan Science and Education of today. 170 years later and we are still putting our heads together and coming up with new ideas. Ideas that help scientists, learners and teachers make discoveries and achieve better results. As the needs of those people change, we are using our insight to tune into what they will need in the future, develop our thinking beyond just the printed word to develop digital content and tools. We have never been afraid to try new things.” Annette Thomas – CEO: Macmillan Science and Education.