Dear Vanguard stans (or should it be Navy?),
It is with great pleasure that we present to you the first issue of Vanguard! We are nervously sipping on champagne as we tap our feet to AKA’s banger of a song, ‘Congratulate me‘. We don’t proclaim to be Pulitzer-prize* winning journalists just yet, but we are nonetheless proud, nervous, excited, to finally have our moment when we, like Rafiki presenting Simba to the world at Pride Rock, can finally show the world the baby that was just an idea two months ago.
The motivation for founding this magazine two months ago was to create a platform for the kind of content that spoke first and foremost to me as a young black woman. I was simply tired of complaining about how I felt mis- and under-represented in our media. I decided against joining the Movement for the Transformation of the Media because it was not going to deliver any real change to me just yet and so I needed to do one better than lobby and complain, which is to actually do something.
The huge irony is that I had spoken about this at TEDxJohannesburg last year, in a talk titled ‘A New Self-Identity for Africans’ (originally called “Deprogramming the Colonized Mind, but sanitized by TED to something more, erm, ‘palatable’) where I made an impassioned plea for Africans to take advantage of the power of digital media to redefine narratives about ourselves.
I think I deserved a ‘side-eye’ at that moment, because this was a case of ‘do as I say, not what I do’. I was a frustrated hypocrite who thought the only way I could provide a platform for the kind of content I wanted to see was through a traditional print magazine which only could have happened after jumping through the hoops placed by multiple gatekeepers who often ‘just don’t get it’. Needless to say, I kicked myself after realising the answer had been there all along.
Fast forward a couple months, and it is because of the sense of agency that saw us getting off our proverbial asses and onto our laptops, that the theme of the first issue is “In the driver’s seat – taking control”. So often our circumstances can be against us, but at some point we have to take control and do something about it.
Whenever I think of what it means to have a sense of agency as it applies to relationships, I have Katt Williams’ Pimp Chronicles rant on women needing to stop blaming men for their lack of self-esteem in mind. Expletives and gender politics aside, I do think this is instructive. Another more PC way of thinking about this is through the words of Eleanor Roosevelt: ‘No one can make you feel inferior without your consent’.
This month we apply this notion of ‘taking control’ to topics as varied as our happiness (read Tshepang Molisana’s ‘Happily ever after’), the vote (read: Tessa Doom’s ‘Set the agenda on the 7th May’), and upcoming pieces questioning the idea of ‘taking our cities back’ (also sometimes referred to as gentrification) and agency over our sexuality.
A lot of important days also fall in this month, namely the elections (I am a first time voter so I am quite excited), Mother’s Day and Africa Day, and we will be covering those too.
As I pen off, I want to give a huge thank you to all our wonderful contributors, (be it our columnists, contributors, our illustrators and fashionistas (see the green-eye inspiring Twiggy Moli in #MyFashionWeek) who have been so gracious and worked hard on the pieces presented to you. In particular, dankie, siyabonga, to our Culture Editor and columnist (check out: For the New Girls: Ladies and Gentlemen, rattle your jewellery), Nombuso Nkambule, who has been an absolute rockstar and constantly exceeds expectations through her awe-inspiring hustler and get-better mindset.
We do welcome your feedback on the mag, please do send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We update every Tuesday, so until next week’s #vanguardtuesday, enjoy!
*Shoot me, I don’t know if the South African equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize is the Standard Bank Sikuvile Journalism Awards or the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards