Live Magazine is a youth publication – by young people for young people – which was started in the UK by Livity and run by Gavin Weale. The South African version of the magazine, supported by the Shuttleworth Foundation, was launched late last year and features content produced entirely by first-time contributors aged 15 to 25.
The young people who work on the quarterly are all from Cape Town but from hugely varied backgrounds, from townships to the ‘burbs.
For our Young South Africa series and following Live Mag SA’s winter issue launch last week, we asked producer Nkuli Mlangeni a few questions:
Between 10and5: Why was South Africa seen as a good place to produce a local version of Live Mag?
Nkuli Mlangeni: Before starting the magazine, Gavin Weale our publisher did some research where he went out and asked the youth of Cape Town from different backgrounds what some of the challenges were that they were faced with in modern day South Africa. Most of them mentioned unemployment being a big problem, and not having enough platforms. So the idea of doing it in Cape Town developed from that.
10and5:¬† What are the aims of the publication and the aims of the initiative that produces the publication?
Nkuli: To give unemployed youth and graduates an internship opportunity to gain some work experience and real world employability skills. We also try and link them up with contacts in the media industry and assist them in career development.
10and5: What kind of content does the magazine cover?
Nkuli: Fashion, Youth Issues, Lifestyle, Entertainment and Current Affairs.
10and5: What has been the biggest story so far?
Nkuli: The Baby-Making Business, a piece on how young people fall pregnant just so they can get grant money and I’m Not A Racist, a satire about racial stereotypes.
10and5: How are the young contributors selected?
Nkuli: They have to be enthusiastic go getters who are passionate about youth culture. We interview them and select the best candidates from that. Background and education are less important than a positive attitude.
10and5: Is there a new team every issue?
Nkuli: The minimum period that they can be part of the magazine is 3 months but we do encourage them to apply for work opportunities while they are with us. So some of them work on one issue, some people have been with us for more than one issue. We also have remote contributors that send in their pieces and drop ins from students during holidays.
10and5: What strengths does a young and largely untrained team bring to the project?
Nkuli: Raw talent, great ideas and their passion to get their voices heard.
10and5: What has been the most challenging about bringing Live Mag to SA?
Nkuli: I would say setting up a big operation in a very short space of time.
10and5: What has been the greatest reward?
Nkuli: Watching young people grow in the project from Journalist to Chief Sub Editors and up till the point where they leave and go out to the working world.
10and5: How often does the magazine come out and where can we get our hands on one?
Nkuli: The magazine comes out quarterly, four times a year. It’s only distributed in Gauteng and the Western Cape at the moment via street teams and places like youth hubs, high schools and libraries.
We asked the current, young Live Mag SA team what they want to tell the world about young South Africa. This is what they had to say:
They need a wake-up call! Young South Africa has so much potential but a lot still dwell on the past, and because of it expect things for nothing, when others work hard. Overall the youth is faced with immorality from the media and entertainment and this makes the situation worse. Young South Africa can do amazing things if they get their minds and act right!
I would like to tell the world that the youth of South Africa is moving towards positive growth, as more young people are ambitious and want to be successful. There is still some negativity but we are changing that now.
It depends where you come from.. but overall it’s one of the best things that has you waking up every morning!
Young South Africa is no different to young people around the world and we’re not all criminals.
I would like to tell the youth to think about how they perceive themselves in overall society (family, culture etc), how they think they fit.
It is a free country, everyone’s opinion matters. But the term ‘democracy’ never works as it was built to be. The most needy areas do not get services the times it is needed. I am proud of its different cultures and languages it represents. It is a good country to live in.
South Africa is a country that has lots of opportunities. We need to get up and do things for ourselves and not expect people to hand us oportunities on a silver platter. As young South Africans we need to unite and empower one another and ourselves and master life‚Äôs disruptions through education. It doesn’t matter where you come from but where you are going is what’s important.
Young South Africa does not only consist of youth who have generic career choices, or perfectly fit the stereotype of a rebelious/reckless generation. We are privileged to see many young faces pursuing alternative ambitions which include creative paths and business initiatives and deserve equal respect. Also, young South Africa boasts many responsible, goal orientated and self sustainable individuals who are revolutionaries in their own right and are paving their way to a better future, despite the obstacles or non support from society. What the media often represents as the image of young South Africa is in strong contrast to what most young folk are striving towards. We need fair representation in society, perhaps this shift will spark change! No more black sheep!
See more of the Young South Africa series here.