Umuzi was created on 1 July 2005 as the South African imprint of Random House, to celebrate 40 years of doing business in South Africa. Over the preceding decades Random House in South Africa had been engaged mainly in distributing the formidable range of books originated by its sister companies overseas, principally those in the UK. This activity had been complemented by a select list of prestigious, culturally important and commercially successful titles published by Random House in South Africa.
In March 2006 the first seven Umuzi titles were released under the leadership of Dr Annari van der Merwe, opening a gallery of foremost South African authors that would in subsequent years include the likes of Antjie Krog, George Bizos, Njabulo Ndebele, Alan Paton, Lewis Nkosi, Zoë Wicomb, Imraan Coovadia, Mike Nicol, Wessel Ebersohn, Leon de Kock, David Goldblatt, Peter Harris, André Brink, Ivan Vladislaviæ and Sihle Khumalo.
In hierdie geselskap is verder verwelkom Afrikaanse skrywers soos Chris Barnard, Fransi Phillips, Izak de Villiers en EKM Dido, terwyl skrywers soos JM Coetzee, Pamela Jooste en Richard Branson in Afrikaans vertaal is.
Umuzi, the name chosen for the imprint, combines powerful connotations - in several of South Africa's indigenous languages - of ‘home' and ‘hearth', while it happily resonates too with ‘muse', ‘music' and, of course, with the ‘house' element of Random House. It thus perfectly expresses the scope and ambitions of the list, which in a short time has made remarkable progress in establishing itself as the home of choice for both new and established literary voices from South Africa, in both fiction and non-fiction.
After the amalgamation in 2008 of Random House and Struik Publishers, Umuzi became one of five imprints of Random House Struik (Pty) Ltd. Umuzi has continued to publish quality narrative non-fiction and accessible literary fiction in English and Afrikaans. The latter has been restricted to novels mainly, with poetry, short stories and children's fiction only as rare exceptions.