December 26, 2012

ARTICLES / PROJECT: Live: The Voice of SA Youth

It’s Tuesday afternoon in the Live Magazine office in Cape Town’s Waterkant, and the place is pumping. Young people are gathered around laptops, typing, discussing, watching video clips online. On a whiteboard, a rough plan of the content for the next issue has been stuck up. The cover story, it appears, will be: “Are SA Youth oversexed?” Editor Ashleigh Davids, 21, approaches me as I study some of the cover mock-ups. “We think that one might be a bit raunchy,” she says, pointing to a photo of a topless woman in silhouette standing over a man. “We have to choose with care, because even though people get the magazine for free, they’re picky about what they pick up.”

Live Magazine is now just over a year old, and boasts a circulation of about 50,000 in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban and Port Elizabeth. In addition to bringing out a print edition every three months, the team produces dedicated content for a YouTube channel and a mobile-enabled website. It’s a far cry from the situation when founder Gavin Weale, originally from the UK, arrived in South Africa last year May armed only with “a laptop, a suitcase, a three-year visa and the big idea,” as Weale wrote for the Guardian.  “I had one friend and a handful of contacts, no car, no home and some serious challenges on my hands.”

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