Wanted: Photography mentor for Live Mag SA

Could you help harness the enthusiasm and energy of talented young South African photographers and help them produce amazing work?

We’re looking for an experienced photographer with an interest in youth development to oversee a small team of young photographers putting together Live Magazine SA.

Based in Cape Town, it’s a flexible commitment based around the 3-month production cycle of an issue, and comes with a per issue retainer fee. Would suit a freelancer, and magazine experience would be a huge bonus

For more info, or to apply with your CV, please contact [email protected]

Live Magazine SA: mentors needed

Wanted: volunteer professionals to mentor South Africa’s rising media stars

Could you give up a few hours a month to help mentor young media trainees starting out on their careers? Use your expertise and professional skills to help someone get that step up in their careers? For a small time commitment, you could have a huge impact…

A unique social enterprise in South Africa, Live Magazine SA publishes a quarterly magazine that is 100% created by young people trying to break into the media industry. Our mission is to educate, entertain and empower 16-25 year olds across the country. Only a year old, Live Magazine is a unique force in the publishing industry. ABC certified as the highest circulating youth lifestyle title in South Africa, we print 52,000 copies and distribute directly free into the hands of young people in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and PE.

Based mainly in Cape Town, we work with a rolling team of youth trainees who create the magazine with guidance from a small team of professional mentors. As we grow and expand, we are now looking for a new wave of volunteer mentors to support our in-house team, across editorial, design/ art direction, photography, illustration, styling or even sales and marketing.

If you think you have some skills or experience you’d like to pass on, and could commit to as little as one afternoon every 3 months, then we’d love to hear from you. We can’t offer payment, but we can promise you’ll be inspired and energised by working with our team, and become part of creating some of the amazing stories helping our diverse young team of creatives moving into work.

If you’re interested, or would like to find out more, please contact
Nkuli Mlangeni on 021 480 0400 or email [email protected]


Now in PE and Durban

Issue 4 is the first edition of Live Magazine to be distributed into both Durban and Port Elizabeth, as we widen our scope out from the Western Cape and Gauteng.

Here’s a snap of the mag being picked up at an event in Port Elizabeth, via a partnership with the PE-based Media Workshop…

Our first reader in PE?

Wax on, wax off: lessons The Karate Kid can teach us about tackling youth unemployment

Miyagi: Now, ready?
Daniel: Yeah, I guess so.
Miyagi: [sighs] Daniel-san, must talk.
[they both kneel]
Miyagi: Walk on road, hm? Walk left side, safe. Walk right side, safe. Walk middle, sooner or later
[makes squish gesture]
Miyagi: get squish just like grape. Here, karate, same thing. Either you karate do “yes” or karate do “no.” You karate do “guess so,”
[makes squish gesture]
Miyagi: just like grape. Understand?
Daniel: Yeah, I understand.
Miyagi: Now, ready?
Daniel: Yeah, I’m ready.

I must have watched Karate Kid ten or twelve times before the age of 10. I was besotted by the boy-done-good, underdog-triumphs-over-high-school-bully-hegemony vibe in the 1984 classic starring Ralph Macchio and Noriyuki ‘Pat’ Morita. For those too young to appreciate the golden age of 80s teen films, it told the story of Daniel Larusso, a troubled latchkey kid from a single parent family who moves to a new neighbourhood. He is harangued by the cackling cool kids at his new high school who are all, it turns out, training in Karate at the same local dojo.

One evening, having battled to escape his pursuers (on BMXs, of course, it being the eighties) he runs into janitor Mr Miyagi, a lugubrious, diminutive, Yoda-like Japanese man who speaks in pidgin-English aphorisms and has a Bonsai tree fetish. To cut a long story short: Mr Miyagi turns out to be a karate badman and puts Daniel through a crash masterclass that sees him slogging his way to the finals of the local karate tournament, kicking his arch nemesis’s ass with an ostentatious swan-kick, and, of course, getting the girl in the process. The end.

I’m not sure the film would stand the test of time. Even as a mere slip of a boy I remember finding Macchio’s character annoying, but fawned at the crying-in-the-rain lost love eighties scenes when things go awry with his beloved (Elizabeth Shue - be still my beating eight-year-old heart!) to a crushing soundtrack of Bananarama’s Cruel Summer: although in summary I imagine it to be mawkish, outdated and over-acted.

But even to my jaded, overenlightened, thirtysomething cynic’s mind, there’s a lot of Zen wisdom in the film, particularly from Miyagi. As well as a sentiment to the film that makes it a stayer. And, in all serious seriousness, one particular scene has real resonance for me, especially in the context of Live Magazine…

Miyagi and the evil sensei

In the film, Miyagi puts Larusso into an informal Karate apprenticeship, having made an audacious pact with the pugnacious lantern-jawed dojomaster (who is training up all of Daniel’s nasty little tormentors as vicious facsimiles of his own troubled Vietnam-vet soul) that they will leave him alone if Daniel wins the forthcoming karate tournament. This apprenticeship involves Daniel volunteering his time to Mr Miyagi during his school holidays, and turning up every day at his Japanese-style paper house to perform a series of tasks. At the beginning of each day, Miyagi sets the task and then buggers off.

First day: paint the house with horizontal brushstrokes - LEFT!/ RIGHT!/ LEFT!/ RIGHT!

Second day: paint the fence - UP!/ DOWN!/ UP!/ DOWN!

Third day: Wax the car with circular motion - WAX ON!/ WAX OFF!

After a good few days of this Daniel loses his rag, thinking he is being taken for a ride by Miyagi: that he’s been been duped into acting as a temporary manservant for his little japanese guru.

Daniel-san looking a wee bit grumpy about the old Wax on/ wax off vibe

As a result, in the most memorable scene in the film, he confronts Miyagi with something of a quasi-testosterone-filled pubescent tantrum. Only to realise that the seemingly onorous tasks he has been labouring away at have in fact formed the basis of self-defense techniques for the esoteric Okinawa-style of karate that Miyagi is schooling him in. It’s then a mere short sprint, a few crane-kicks and windswept beach scenes later that Daniel is raising a monolithic trophy as the junior kung fu king of the universe and stealing off into the moonlight with Elisabeth Shue.

So how does this relate to a youth magazine in Cape Town?

This week we put issue 3 of Live Magazine to bed. Our young design team bear the brunt of this final stage: it ain’t pretty nor fun. It involves late nights, endless changes, losing of temper and much furrowing of brows. And it tests the resolve of a team who are, essentially, volunteers.

LIke Miyagi with Daniel Larusso, we’re trying to blood these young people in the working world so they will be not only strong enough to survive (against the odds) but flourish into the economic battleground that lies ahead of them. They might not realise what they’re learning.

And it’s not only in the final stages, when an issue gets stressful, that difficulties arise. A few months ago we realised there was a general sense of discontent among the team about what they were getting out of the ‘deal’. They were turning up every day, working, and we (the professional team) were getting paid but not them. We had decided not to provide lunch, but buy bread every day so that there are snacks for those who might not otherwise eat much – this became a complaint that our catering wasn’t good enough.

I then announced to them all that our project had been refunded for a second year by the Shuttleworth Foundation. Seen out of context, the view from some of the Live team was that, well, none of the money makes it way through to them. I know that some of the team thought: how is that fair? And when you know that there might not be much money coming into the household, or pressure from parents to put bread on the table, it’s hard not to consider their point.

Why am I here? they think. I’m not getting paid. I’ve worked hard. I’ve given my time. But what am I getting out of it? Like Daniel Larusso, it can lead to a bout of serious discontent.

Miyagi: Your friend, all karate student, eh?
Daniel: Friend? Oh, yeah, those guys.
Miyagi: Problem: attitude.
Daniel: No the problem is, I’m getting my ass kicked every other day, that’s the problem.
Miyagi: Hai, because boys have bad attitude. Karate for defense only.
Daniel: That’s not what these guys are taught.
Miyagi: Hai - can see. No such thing as bad student, only bad teacher. Teacher say, student do.
Daniel: Oh, great, that solves everything for me. I’ll just go down to the school and straighten it out with the teacher, no problem.
Miyagi: Now use head for something other than target.

Not that I’d ever go so far as to compare myself to Mr Miyagi, but I’ve had to have a few chats to discontented young people who are desperate to earn money and questioning their choice of taking up an unpaid internship. As well as trying to point out the benefits of why they’re here, I’ve also had to look a couple of our trainees in the eye and tell them I don’t think it’s my company’s responsibility to put bread on the table. It wasn’t easy and I didn’t love having to say it, but I believe it’s true.

At Live we’re not just dealing with one Daniel Larusso. We’ve got a rolling team of 25, and not all of them will succeed in the way we/they hope. That’s disappointing. And it honestly gives me sleepless nights to think we haven’t delivered for someone because of some fault in our delivery.

But the fact is, in 9 months we have seen (out of approximately 42) 12 of our core team move into full-time work, and a further 9 return or carry on into full-time tertiary education. That’s almost 50% into employment or education. So we know it works. But 50% of making it work needs to come from the individual.

Daniel Larusso about to unleash his victory-clinching crane-kick, and opening the door to finally losing his virginity

In actual fact, to stick my neck out, I believe it’s absolutely the right model: we provide the platform, the expertise, the mentoring, the contacts, the environment (and the travel expenses to get to the office). As a result, it’s not our responsibility, in my view, to be the provider of everything else. The ball is in their court there. We are not a charity, and we don’t want to be a soup kitchen. It’s unsustainable and I fear it ends up in a ‘dead aid’ situation: how can you keep the onus on progression if everything is provided. As long as we are constantly working and committed to make the offering as valuable as we possibly can: and never waver in that commitment by losing sight of our core social purpose, then I think we should all be permitted a decent night’s sleep.

We do still need to do more: more one-on-one employability mentoring, more job skills workshops, more/stronger links with employers and more PR around the fact that we exist and are have a pool of talented young people to employ.

We may not be as mystical and magical as Mr Miyagi – and I’m yet to catch a fly in a pair of chopsticks – but we are committed to making sure all the wax on/wax off makes our young team into future champions.

[Miyagi karate-chops the tops off three beer bottles]
Daniel: How did you do that? How did you do that?
Miyagi: Don’t know. First time.


Issue one: The Finish Line

I don’t know what to make of issue 1 yet. Seeing the spreads go up on the wall of our office over the last seven days has been exhilarating, painful, stressful, long. The finish doesn’t resolve itself quickly – seemingly endless processions of correction and amendments. Despite going through this process countless times before, it never seems to get any easier… and for our young team, it’s the first time.

But on Friday afternoon at around 5pm, we finally signed off the last page and there, in front of our eyes, had appeared a complete magazine. Too tired to celebrate properly, we made peace with the fact that there was nothing much more we could do apart from try and have a relaxing weekend then prepare the magazine for print on Monday morning.

Here’s a sneak peak of what’s inside…


Live SA: view from the inside

Nkuli Mlangeni: at the beating heart of the project

























So, my name is Nkuli and I’m the Project Coordinator here at Live Magazine South Africa. I’ve had a lot of interesting jobs in the past – and some not so cool ones – but this has by far been the most coolest.

It’s been a whole lot of fun hanging with the Live crew in the past two weeks.  The office went from being a plain ol’ boring office space to being a creative little joint with lots of funky images, flat plans and very busy walls.

I must say I was surprised to find out we’ve got another Grace Caddington fanatic in tha house: turns out little miss Ndu knows way more about fashion magazines than I thought. It also sounds like she got all the lowdown on who’s who in stiletto zoo.

And, I was freaked out a bit by Lauren and Roberto’s reaction when I showed them the Playstation games that they’re going to be playing for our reviews pages. They even came up with a genius idea to turn Gavin’s nothing office into a PS3 lounging area, with funky couches and a whole lot of other gaming gadgets that I’ve never heard of before.

Am really loving the energy and team spirit: thought it was so very sweet how our thoughtful editor Nicole went around collecting R5 from everyone to buy cake for  Fezeka’s birthday celebration.

And then there’s the cover story debate, So….who’s going to be the lucky star to bless the first cover of Live SA. I keep hearing Trevor Noah, Locnville, Dj Sbu, Bonang, Gareth Cliff, Julius Malema… the list goes on. And all I’m saying is Trevor Noah is my guy.

Can’t wait to checkout the new logo that the design crew’s been working on, Xolisa’s comic strip, Lauren’s sheep head experience and all the other goodies that this lot are cooking up.

Live Mag SA: End of week one

The last day of our first week hit fever pitch when the team brainstormed the ideas for issue one, led by the energetic Cathy Lund from Cosmo, one of our heroes of the week.

Predictably, the team came up with enough ideas for about 3 years’ worth of issues, but they managed to crunch the ideas down into 48 pages of news, views, entertainment and hard-hitting social issues…

We also said by to the London crew, Rahul, Celeste and Albert, whose input was invaluable throughout the immersion week. Look out for some Africa-UK collaborations in our simultaneous release of the two international editions of Live in November.