With a double-dip recession looming and many South Africans expected to have a leaner festive season than usual, The Big Issue has armed its 350-plus vendors with a “secret weapon” to ensure they are able to earn their own year-end bonus.
The “secret weapon” is the 2011 Collector’s Edition, a bumper 92-page issue printed on high quality paper and featuring work by 50 of South Africa’s best thought leaders, writers, photographers, poets and cartoonists.
The 50 contributors all submitted work under the theme of “My Big Issue” to create a bumper 92-page edition, printed on high quality paper and featuring none other than Nelson Mandela on the cover.
The edition is priced at only R30, slightly more than the usual cover price of R18 but still highly affordable to ensure vendors are able to sell it with ease. Vendors keep 50% (R15) of the cover price; up from the usual R9 per edition they earn selling the magazine.
The Big Issue’s job creation programme creates employment for unemployed, homeless and socially marginalised adults. As one of the longest running and most sustainable NGOs, The Big Issue has created employment for thousands of destitute people, who have collectively earned over R15-million since its inception in 1996 (for more information on the social development and job creation programme, visit www.bigissue.org.za)
“We’ve been fortunate enough to have 50 of South Africa’s best talent contribute their work pro bono for this second annual Collector’s Edition, and we’ve had generous sponsorship to produce it on high-quality paper,” says Trudy Vlok, managing director of The Big Issue. “All this means that we are able to offer readers a product which they would ordinarily pay three times, if not more for at bookstores for just R30.”
“The support that we’ve had in producing this edition is due to the fact that the contributors and sponsors are committed to helping us ensure the vendors selling the magazine have an exceptional product to sell over the festive season, which will enable them to earn their own year-end bonus,” added Vlok.
The 2010 Collector’s Edition boasted 33 of SA’s best talent and Archbishop Desmond Tutu featured on the cover, wrote the foreword and endorsed it. It was a huge success and sold out in record time,” she said.
I am confident its successor — a larger edition featuring even more heavy-hitters — will follow suit, and we’ve ordered far more copies this year to ensure we don’t sell out so fast.
I do, however, expect it to sell quickly, so I would encourage readers to get their 2011 Collector’s Edition sooner rather than later, to avoid disappointment.
The Who’s Who…
The weighty edition boasts a large number of the “who’s who” in South African literary, cartooning, photography and poetry circles, including Moeletsi Mbeki, Zakes Mda, Ferial Haffajee, Eric Miller, David Goldblatt, Zapiro, Marianne Thamm, Pieter Hugo, Lebo Mashile, Jay Naidoo, Henrietta Rose-Innes and Hugh Lewin.
It also features a full complement of up-and-coming talent, such as Khadija Patel, Sipho Hlongwane, Zukiswa Wanner, Fiona Snyckers, Verashni Pillay, Toast Coetzer, Blaq Pearl, Azad Essa, Gary van Wyk, Andy Davis, The Trantraal Brothers, Antonia Steyn and Jitsvinger, to name but a few.
Continuing last year’s South African icon cover theme, the 2011 Collector’s Edition’s cover features none other than Nelson Mandela.
This really is an exceptional quality edition, and I can’t emphasise enough what a ‘steal’ R30 is for it.
At a time when South Africans are being encouraged to spend local this festive season, this edition is the perfect way to not only show support for The Big Issue’s entrepreneurial vendors, but to also be proud of and relish in the incredible talent we have right on our doorstep.
- The 2011 Collector’s Edition goes on sale November 25 until January 6, 2012, or while stocks last.
- The edition will be available from vendors at pitches throughout the Cape Town CBD and the greater Cape Town area, as well as select areas in Johannesburg.
2010 contributors — why they supported the inaugural Collector’s Edition
“The Big Issue has always proved that if the people lead, the government should follow.” — Pieter-Dirk Uys
“Writers in the entertainment field seldom get the chance to contribute to publications with a social conscience and a proven record of community awareness. So this was an opportunity not to be missed. To be included in an issue with legendary writers and South African heroes from all areas of struggle was another honour not to be passed up. Thank you Big Issue, keep doing what you do, we need more like you!” — Hagen Engler
“In a country where unemployment is 25%, The Big Issue is a job creator par excellence. It not only gives people jobs but also enhances their dignity. The Big Issue has taught me, as a citizen, to support job creation in a tangible way.” — Rhoda Kadalie
“As a visual thug I can hardly read especially something as thought provoking and deep as The Big Issue. Even though its fame has spread wide it still has not reached Natures Valley beach. As a humanist I support anything humanitarian especially when Desmond Tutu stamps his approval on it.” — Obie Oberholzer
“I have some sayings scribbled on notepaper next to my computer because every now and then I need them. When Mel [Bendix] asked me to contribute to the Collector’s Edition among all the living legends, I’d just got on top of a mountain of work, but glanced at the notes and my eyes fell on this one: If everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough. And just below it was another note: If you think you can’t write a legendary story, make that your aim. So I made it my aim. And when I’d finished I remembered another note: Don’t look for the next opportunity — the one you have is the opportunity. I don’t know if it’s legendary. But it sure was fun writing it.” — Don Pinnock
“Thanks Big Issue for the opportunity to support a great initiative and get my short story read by 60 000 people!” — Roger Smith
“Because The Big Issue is an enterprise that’s real — it’s unstuffy, non-preachy, it gives a voice to real people, and it does good things. Also — important — it’s a good magazine.” — Robin Malan
“I believe in The Big Issue‘s policy of giving people fishing rods instead of fish. As a proud internationally travelling African artist, I have been performing my poem The Afro is African and finally had the opportunity to share it with my hometown for it was written with us in mind.” — Odidi Mfenyana
“The main reason I continue to support The Big Issue is because it places the onus on the vendors to take their own initiative and empower themselves by becoming self sufficient and self sustainable. This then naturally grows an innate sense of self-worth, self-belief and pride in ones inherent capability to be the driver of one’s own destiny. So well done to The Big Issue for taking on this challenge and gifting us a magazine that opens our vision and helps us see the world through the lens of clarity and truth.” — Tina Schouw
Melany Bendix is editor of The Big Issue South Africa. The Collectors’ Edition 2011 is on sale now.