Miles Keylock, editor of Rolling Stone South Africa, is very much a believer in the decision to bring music’s most iconic magazine title to South Africa. “As Rolling Stone founder, Jann S. Wenner sagely advised us: ‘PRINT IS NOT DEAD. You surf the internet … print you dive into.’ So we took a leap of faith and took the plunge.”
A country with such a rich musical history and pop culture such as South Africa deserves a publication to document its evolution – this is the foundation and the ethos of the Rolling Stone approach, and over the past year Rolling Stone has rewritten the rules on reporting about South African music.
Rolling Stone SA gave respect to the ultimate SA rock'n'roller, Bra Hugh Masekela's lust for life and acoustic soul sensation Zahara her first cover. Legendary lensman the late Bra Alf Kumalo was coaxed out of retirement to capture the Eastern Cape sensation – it turned out to be his last major shoot.
Die Antwoord offered their first-ever in-depth interview and the world saw the future sound of Mzansi in Spoek Mathambo. The BLK JKS’ cathartic interview saved them from breaking up and we reminded everyone why Arno Carstens remains SA’s rock god and is still rolling strong.
Sure, Rolling Stone SA has made mistakes. They learned hard lessons about how to play the game. They realised the South African music industry is still in its infancy, and that it needs convincing of its own potential.
They didn't lose their minds when the “market sense” demanded they play it safe. “It's time to represent,” they explained. They refused to dumb content down. They remained committed to publishing long form features, in-depth, up close and personal interviews and artist profiles – beautifully-crafted and photographed. They kept rolling.
Rolling Stone SA stopped trying to be everything to everyone. Musicians clamoured to be on the cover. From readers, they received letters of support (Hugh), love (Miriam) and light (Spoek) and of outrage (Idols). Rolling Stone SA kept on rolling.
Has it been worth it? “Hell Yes,” says publisher, Mohammed Khan. “Thanks to the support of artists, readers, writers, photographers, advertisers, creative partners and supporters, we have reached this important one-year milestone. None of this would have been possible without them.”
“After 12 months, we want collectively to say a big rock‘n’roll thanks to everyone who have made this year possible. In celebration, Rolling Stone is hosting a night to remember at The Assembly on 24 November 2012, when we will have a great line-up of artists, including Arno Carstens, Goodnight Wembley!, The Dollfins and Tailor.” (Tickets available at the door).
"We are also hosting a series of summer poolside get-togethers at Cape Town’s Protea Fire and Ice! Hotel every Thursday until February 2013.”
Looking ahead, 2013 will expand the Rolling Stone mission in South Africa. A full programme of events will accompany the monthly magazine, with a view to continuing our support for South African music, its artists and their stories. Rolling Stone wants to tell South Africa's collective stories. They hope our readers continue to ask for more.
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