I have a friend in the media whose favourite first line is 'it gives me great pleasure'. Well, that's when he's been given an opportunity to charm his way at corporate functions attended by those phly sistas you only find at Fourways and at expensive penthouses overlooking Nelson Mandela Square. I wanted to start this post by using exactly the same words but I realised that they might not be appropriate.
See, many months ago I predicted the death of Ymagazine in this blog and even wrote its obituary, given that it was edited by folks who did not know the first thing about a deadline and a byline. I complained that poets do not make for better editors by merely being able to wordplay. You need someone who understands information management, multi-tasking and a one gig database made up of freelance writers and creatives scattered at all corners of the country. Not someone with a circle of friends as small as Senyaka's figures. I was harshly treated by friends of some of the guys I called to order. Some said I did not understand anything about publishing that is why I was publishing a free blog. Some, notably with better knowledge than I did informed me that Ymagazine has always been edited by names sourced from Yfm, not professionals. I sighed 'yeah' because I finally understood why I lost touch with such a beautiful brand that I wrote beautiful pieces for when it was still lively.
Months later Kabomo Vilakazi is gone and in his place there's former Hype editor Fungayi Kanyuchi who I believe will do good work given the excellent job he did at the only Hip-Hop magazine which also has recently gone to the dogs since hip-hop producer Mizi took over. I saw the first issue of Y he edited and I'm like 'yeah, not that bad' and I'm more like Jigga when I say 'he's okay but he's not real'. Obviously it won't be an easy task to unsink the Titanic.
However my point behind this post is not to dis Y or whoever is editing it but to look at some of these media that is aimed at darkies and ask an important question; d
oes anybody care about the reader? I'll start with the editor of Sowetan uncle Thabo Leshilo who recently traded blows with former acting editor of Sowetan-Sundayworld Sandile Memela. I don't want to believe Sandile when he says only people who are not too black (meaning in their views and not confrontationally) are given the editorship since all they'll articulate are their master's voices and nothing that rocks the boat. But I should mention that since Leshilo took over the standard has deteriorated rapidly.
For the sake of this post I am not going to mention a long list of errors that I think shows that the makers of Sowetan do not care about the readers but I will just pick a few things I observed last week. Look, good things first; I should be the first to acknowledge that the arts pages of the newspaper have become alive since Edward Tsumele returned, which is something former Sundayworld editor Abdul Milazi did so well to kill. The pages were always about him and his discredited poetry awards from America which were not worth the fake zinc they were made of.
But even Tsumele alone can not revive a patient who is receiving pounding from different sides. Last week Thursday's Sowetan led with the story about Orlando Pirates on the back cover. There was even a picture of Orlando Pirates' Innocent M
dledle. While one was relishing the story and perusing through to read more stories I was confronted by the same story, same picture and everything verbatim. One story repeated twice to fill space heh? One guy alleged that it is the mistake of the graphic people who might have repeated the story by mistake. I nodded (point taken) but soon protested that the buck stops with the editor. The buck stops with Leshilo. If the layout guy messed up and used that space to repeat the same story what story was supposed to go there and why didn't the editor notice it?
How come the editor didn't see it when as journalists we are advised to stick in the newsroom until the proofs come so we can proofread and complain. Didn't someone proofreading the pages see that the story has been repeated?
Maybe they did, but for an editorial team bent on sleaze they don't give a damn. They never fail when it comes to churning out bad commentary about celebrities and other people they don't like but they fail at the most basic rule of journalism.
Someone might argue that celebrities deserve all the publicity they can get but when innocent folks who are just hustlers get their names dragged in the mud in the Sowetan brand for economic expediency, then you know something is wrong. When such a newspaper obsessed with 'righteousness' commits a cardinal sin like repeating stories, you know they are not concerned about quality but the quantity of gossip.
I'm not stopping here; Then I flipped Sundayworld over this weekend to check out what's up. I haven't been reading the junk for some time since I figured there's not enough content management since Leshilo came aboard. When I read through it, which I must confess was painful (similar to extracting a tooth minus anaesthetic) given that there actually was nothing to read worth my Sunday afternoon I was 'not' surprised when I came to a page where they wrote a story about Joe Mafela. All I could see was the faded picture of Mafela. It was only after carefully looking that I realised that the layout people messed up again. They used black ink on a black background and as a Grade One learner will tell you 'I can't see shit Sir'.
How on earth does anyone use black ink on black background and how on earth does the proof go past the editor and the proofreaders?
And again what was that thing about people needing to answer a question about whether the ANC Youth League
has elected thugs to positions of power. How does anybody expect readers to answer a question when the ANCYL has not even elected its new executive? Does someone as SowetanSundayworld think the ANC is made up of stupid folks that you can pre-empt their voting patterns; that they'll elect thugs to their ranks while all the nation knows was that there was a Julius Malema and Saki Mofokeng and none of them had criminal convictions?
Okay, again I should mention that they never get it wrong on the gossip pages and the sleaze ones. The colour co-ordination is up to scratch and when they write shit about a celebrity they always make sure that they call them on their cellphone and don't find them. For me this means one thing; the junk is more obsessed with bullshit than sense.
Putting bonking people on covers and captioning them as Siphiwe Mtshalis, defaming poets by calling them plagiarists, following celebrities when they go to pee, but for one thing, being newspapers and churning out good content for the benefit of the readers every day, including weekends.
I tried hard not to believe what Memela said about Leshilo's questionable credentials, but some of the mistakes are so glaring they either mean the editor and his team do not give a damn about the readers (which is the market they sell to media buyers) or they just don't know what's going on. Same as the bunch that did Bl!nk and Y. Maybe Leshilo should pack and go or close shop, because there's no way they are going to beat Daily Sun, which is what they are trying to become every time they stand infront of a mirror and pretend to be at Wish for a Star.
* On this note Kasiekulture would like to take this time to welcome to the fold the new baby Blaque, edited by none other than prolific poet Kojo Baffoe and targetted at the market that Bl!nk dropped at the finishing line - the black man with cash to burn.


  1. Anonymous4/08/2008

    I just read your article about the this newspapers that write shit on their pages. It true they should get their houses in order coz on Sundays I struggle to find a newspapers that does not celebrities the loo write a story about even though mzansi has lots of stories to write about. For example the cat fight between Brenda ngxoli and the overrated Uyanda Mbuli. They should focus the lens of their cameras and their creative skills to worthy to events that are worth writing about. As for Y mag is has been as good as dead I hope the new editor will try to resuscitate it.

  2. Anonymous4/11/2008

    name calling is just so gutter TABLOID! very ironic comming from someone dissing tabloids. is it intellectually impossible for darkies to ever raise an argument and carry it through without name-calling (no wonder the ANCYL resorted to fisticuffs at their Bloemfontein congress). are we that intellectually wanting?

  3. Anonymous4/11/2008

    Interesting what Anonymous would say about name-calling when Sowetan-Sundayworld are wholly about name-calling. Anyway how does the writer expect the post to make sense when all he could do was to say 'editor' instead of Leshilo. Name-calling is not the issue as long as it is not defamatory but factual. Black people are not that intellectually wanting but Sowetan-Sundayworld is. How else does anyone explain a black newspaper miscaptioning Bafoken King Molotlegi? How also does anyone forgive people who won't see typos like DJ S'bu has left 'Ukhoza' instead of Ukhozi. Come on guys, don't make this a black thing, black consiousness shouldn't mean failure to criticize each other, even if it means giving the suspect a name. Well, that's me

  4. All you anonymous folks should come out and stop being a bunch of Mzekezekes. However as Kasiekulture I am guided by what SundayTimes editor told News24 after firing David Bullard for an offensive article, "However Makhanya conceded that the Sunday Times had "messed up" by allowing the column to be published in the first place. "At some point the system should have picked it up and it shouldn't have gone into the paper," he said. "I take the blame for that."". All I did was to ask Mr Leshilo to do like Makhanya and take responsibility for the newspaper's mess-ups

  5. I love Sowetan newspapers - it covers both light hearted stories that make my day and hard core news!

    I could never enjoy my morning without a daily dose of the paper.

    KEEP the stories about my favourite celebs coming - DJ Sbu, Uyanda Mbuli, Thami Ngubeni & Tumisho Maja....

  6. Sowetan - keep the stories about my favoutite celebs coming - Dj, Sbu, Uyanda Mbuli, Thami Ngubeni & Tumisho Maja.

    I could never go by without a daily dose from your paper...

  7. Hey Nolwazi, you got me thinking there was a blog where i could delve deep into how you articulate and I'm sad that you haven't created one yet. Once you got your blog up and running, drop us an email let's make you a cousin or a nephew and reroute traffic to your side


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