I stumbled across a magazine last week that left me with a renewed sense of impressed-ness (I'm keeping that word) at how creative and innovative our little industry is here at tip of the continent. Spliced Magazine is a digital mag, based in Joburg, aimed at the geek community. It looks and feels like something with an enormous budget and teams of clever and artistic people. But, having stalked the poor editor (online. for now ...) I realised it's pulled together by three people: Pippa Tshabalala, Chris Savides and Tim Hulme.
Having worked at a magazine I fully realise how difficult it is to just publish it, never mind getting it to look this good and have great content. However, what I had to be reminded of (and that was mentioned in the first Spliced editorial) is that there are incredible initiatives like this, but somehow we don't know about them or they don't get enough face-time on traditional media platforms.
So this week's blog is dedicated to amazing small businesses or operators that are working to bring great content or services to a growing market that is looking for original content or original ideas for everyday issues. Share it around and support them and keep the hope alive!
Something Wicked is a horror anthology and Jungle Jim a pulp fiction magazine both based in Cape Town. Both accept writing from local authors and the magazines give them the opportunity to be published, which adds a whole new level of craft to their work, we can tell. These are also cracking good reads bringing a local relevance to horror and speculative fiction that for long has been missing from our shores.
Spliced, as mentioned above, is giving 'geek' a sexy new look. Well worth the read (or you can just ogle the editor's boobs).
Nova short story competition - Run by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Association (say that fast, I dare you), the Nova is a short story competition in the speculative genre. This year it was judged by Lauren Beukes (the author) and Arthur Goldstuck (of WorldWideWorx), among others. This opportunity gives local, green writers an incredible leg-up in terms of the quality of their work. And we can see it in the quality of their writing.
Deetwenty Geeking Venue: A house in Blairgowrie dedicated to gaming and other geek endeavours. It's where the Trekkies meet and other gamers can drink coffee and do their thing.
Fairy Gothmother: An arts and crafts coffee shop in Linden where you can go find your 'inner geek' or buy geek merch. Having gone to school in Linden I can tell you, a geek shop here is a development worth mentioning. It means the community is growing and businesses are catering to our needs.
Outer Limits: A brilliant comic bookstore that gives you everything geek-related your heart desires. Think the comic bookstore in Big Bang theory - exactly that.
The events company:
Orsum Source: A collaborative effort by ourselves and Kate Barnes - we're organising geek-centric events including a Steampunk picnic and Live Action Role Play (Larp) parties. Enough with hipster food markets over the weekends!
Paperight - Making it cheaper to study, Paperight turns any old photocopy shop into a bookstore by allowing customers to print their textbooks there. This is an incredible initiative in a country where textbooks are prohibitively expensive and access to bookstores is a real problem for many school goers.
bookly - So it's pretty clear that we have a massive thing for this business. In case you haven't read any of our older blog posts, bookly is a reader for cellphones - and this includes feature phones, not just smartphones, bringing free books to millions of people in South Africa. You can access the app on Mxit and see how many people have read and liked a range of local (and classic) books. It's a library on your cell.
Make Games SA is a registered association and an online community for professional, hobbyist and student game developers, artists, designers for support in creating games. Very nice. Check them out:
Arwen Garmentry: Ok, so they've been around for years, but their gorgeous work often features on the wish lists of Steampunkers and anyone else, really, that has seen some of the beautiful clothes they make.
Sin Bin: This business creates custom accessories, clothing and illustrations and has a loyal following among the cosplayers in SA.
This list is by no means done, we'll publish a Part 2 soon!
Stay cool, and support your local business geeks!