It's Official: Y Mag Is Dead – its Death Certificate

We hate to take credit for prophecy when it finally manifests itself because prophesying is a painful process that comes from a rare divine gift. However if you have been living in Siberia for the past few weeks here are the sad news; Y Magazine Is Officially Dead. Some time ago when it was admitted to media hospital we dared write a post that was titled “Y Mag is Dead – A Eulogy and Obituary”. At the time some of these sods who are new to the industry and who came in through broerskap (nepotism) and open mike sessions Newtown attacked us for insinuating that their beloved publication was on life support. It was understood at the time because they were still working for the patient and drawing blood from the frail in ICU.

Well, we never apologised for the prophecy and hard-hitting post because as always, we have been in the media industry long enough to know when a publication is dying or very healthy. Y magazine has been hemorrhaging for some time and it is sad that it had to die without any ounce of respect left in it. For a title that pioneered youth culture it deserved euthanasia, not a painful prolonged death following a series of below-average editors who decided to use their friends to write content at the expense of brilliant writers with clout. At times they would make a story out of anyone who worked for Yfm even if there was no story at all.

I am cocky to call myself a brilliant writer with clout because I am one of those who used to contribute regularly to Y magazine when it was still edited by folks who knew their story and who published people on merit than members of their drinking clubs. I wrote for Y before friends started thinking their friends can become writers and gave them columns in the magazine. Anyway who gave these clueless folks editing positions at the magazine? I wrote for Y for a couple of years and I'm still to meet one of those foresighted editors who used to publish me - that's how you know we ain't friends.

For God’s sake publishing anything is a highly technical operation that can not be appeased by a few Heinekens at a Melville drinking hole. There’s no way you can publish stories about your mediocre friends and allow some of them to provide content when they are not gifted (optionally trained) storytellers/writers. I always argued that if someone is a real writer, let them write for publications across races where they don’t have friends and then I will consider them genuine. However what one saw at Y was somecluelessbodies giving their friends opportunities to write, with those folks only writing for publications where their friends worked. If my friend moved to edit a Love Life insert then s/he features a friend in the publication. I know of guys who have never written for any publication outside of their circle and they dare call themselves writers.

The death of Y is a direct result of that and the publishers taking their eyes off the ball. Tribalism and friendships will never successfully run publications – even the almighty O magazine is run by professionals. There’s a publication I know whereby tribalism is running things and whoever tries to get content across but does not belong to a certain tribe will suffer the dire consequences. I have seen brilliant work that should have graced those pages ending up in the fringes (leftist publications) because their surname does not augur well with the tribe in power. I am brave to prophecy that unless something drastic is done at the publication, nine-ten years down the road it will be irrelevant. It already is because some of the brilliant feature writers no longer correspond with it.

Again, tribal purity never works. In South Africa we have a tendency to celebrate mediocrity and sing praises to people farting. We ululate when some people who by default have become authority blows the air. I can be blunt and mention names but I’ll reserve that since I was blunt on the original Y Mag is Dead post.

However, while we are preparing to attend the after-tears of such a beautiful youth brand that was never allowed to fully grow, let us ask ourselves this one question; who is touted as the number one poet in the country right now? Which poem of him/her do you know? Why is this person the number one poet when you don’t’ even know a single poem that s/he has written? Why are we celebrating him/her at the expense of people whose poetry we can recite from the brain?

Then you know why the death of Y was a shocker to some people while we foresaw it, since quite frankly, publications survive on talent and skill – once people realise that they are sharing pages with novices and non-writers, they emigrate to publications where their talents matter – and the Friendship Circle publication dies; REST IN PEACE Y MAG – You will be dearly missed

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