Originally launched as a skin magazine for black men, True Love has grown with style and grace to become South Africa’s iconic fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazine, carefully balancing the history and traditions of its readers with the demands of the modern and evolving environment in which they live. Originally founded as a sister magazine to Drum, the title is now owned and published by Media24.
“True Love has witnessed the historical events that have formed our country, from the Soweto riots in 1976 to the release of Nelson Mandela, and the euphoria around the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup,” says editor Lerato Tshabalala. “Through all the fear and the joy of the last 40 years, True Love has been a sanctuary for black women in their 20s, 30s and 40s, filling the role of friend and advisor as our environment has changed and evolved.”
Tshabalala, who grew up using True Love as her ultimate reference on all matters concerning fashion, beauty, relationships and lifestyle, says that recent changes to the magazine’s content and layout will reinforce this relationship for readers. “When you look at True Love, you are going to feel like you’re reuniting with an old friend, someone who understands what you’re going through every day, and who offers advice and solutions – or even just plain escapism – to help you plot your way through the complexities of South African life.
“The magazine is truly South African – we will only ever feature South Africans on the cover – and the content addresses the unique issues that South African women face every day,” says Tshabalala. “True Love’s focus on black South African women means that we have strict guidelines on the advertising material that we will accept, and we pay homage to the traditions and etiquette of our readers in crafting our fashion spreads and beauty advice columns. This respect for our readers has earned their loyalty over the years, and we treasure that.”
The magazine has sought to inspire women to empower themselves, and one of the first features to do so was the story of Regina Kgaratshe, who grew from being a tea lady to teaching other women to sew. The magazine continues to run features that inspire South African women to strive for greater things, but it does so with sensitivity and realism. For example, True Love’s longest running feature is 'Real Woman', which first appeared in 1995, and continues to do so, using readers as models for fashion features, showing readers how real women can use the items shown in the magazine.
The magazine’s staff has also been setting trends in the industry, with Pearl Mashabela being appointed the country’s first black female magazine editor in 1984, and Khanyi Dhlomo being appointed the country’s youngest magazine editor in 1995.
“True Love readers hold the magazine very close to their hearts, and it is incredibly important for us to honour their values and traditions, while giving them the support that they need to grow in today’s environment,” says Tshabalala. “Our cover stars need to mirror these values, and stars such as Basetsana Khumalo, Nkhensani Nkosi and Connie Ferguson are always embraced warmly by our readers.”
The magazine is set to celebrate its landmark birthday at a dazzling party on 9 May to be held at Johannesburg’s historic Rand Club, attended by local celebrities, leaders in society, the media and business.
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