Somehow, I can alway justify spending money on a magazine. Time and time again I’ll put a cute, moderately priced shirt back on the rack, unable to account for such an indulgence. I often decide against stopping by a coffee shop on the way to class because $4 spent on a mocha here and there adds up quickly enough. Even at the bookstore, I will pass by a hardcover book because of its $25 price tag. But, I will snatch up an imported publication or niche magazine without hesitation, even if it costs $15 instead of the usual $5.
I know it may be irrational, but these publications are my treat of choice. I treasure my magazines — stacks and stacks sit in my bedroom and are often revisited when I find myself in need of inspiration. As a journalism and design student, magazines meld my two loves. In fact, it is a dream of mine to start my own magazine one day. So, I feel like this obsession is at least somewhat warranted.
In my time in South Africa, I have made a few purchases for myself — including a jacket, a ring and countless specialty coffee drinks and baked goods. But what I’ve accumulated the most of is magazines. Many of them have been free, but I don’t mind paying for the standouts. Here is what I’ve found:
1. BPM Magazine
I grabbed this “urban music culture magazine” for free at a great Cape Town record shop, Mabu Vinyl. It includes interviews with some search-worthy South African (and UK) artists, as well as reviews of music gear like production software and mixers.
2. Live MagSA
A magazine that claims to be “the voice of the youth.” I picked it up free outside of Artist Proof Studio in Jozi. It’s colorful and fun, which I love, and covers a wide variety of topics, from parents’ use of social media to the day in the life of a personal shopper to violence toward women. This one’s definitely for the teens.
These two pocket-sized publications were purchased at Mabu. After spotting the series, I asked the man behind the counter which issue he would recommend most. He told me these two about South African musicians Johnny ‘Mbizo’ Dyani and Abdullah Ibrahim were the way to go. I’ve been wondering if zines are as popular in South Africa as they are in the U.S. — these are the closest I’ve found to such DIY publications (but I’m still searching!).
4. Design Times
I was way too excited when I saw this publication tagged “South Africa’s Creative Resource” sitting on a stand at Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants (a Cape Town meat market that I think is the coolest). With the magazine’s large size and beautiful photographs and illustrations, I was immediately reminded of my favorite U.S. publication, The Bold Italic. This one’s an inspiring read.
I picked up my first free b-guided> about local live music at Mabu, and a few weeks later, two more about city attractions and coffee shops at the best little lunch spot, Bread Milk & Honey. These Cape Town guides, for “local enthusiasts” and “urban travelers,” list some great things to do in town. They are beautiful and compact, unfolding to reveal maps, photos and graphics.
I stumbled upon my first Sunday Times Lifestyle Magazine by accident. We were actually using newspaper during a print making activity in Joburg last month when I spotted this insert — a lifestyle magazine with one of my favorite bloggers, Capetonian Diana Moss, on the cover. I just had to read it. Since, I have picked up a few more Sunday Times, and found a variety of good reads and lovely layouts inside.