BEHIND THE ZINES
ZINES ARE EVERYTHING THAT TRADITIONALLY PUBLISHED BOOKS ARE NOT. THEIR ORIGIN STEMS MAINLY FROM A DESIRE TO GIVE VOICE TO TOPICS THAT ARE BEYOND THE MAINSTREAM, STUFF THAT FORMALISED PUBLISHERS WON’T TAKE ON FOR A VARIETY OF REASONS, INCLUDING BUDGETARY CONSTRAINTS AND CONSUMER DEMAND.
There are zines that have been hand-drawn, hand-written and photocopied for an audience that is as small as two handfuls. Some are outpourings of confessional poetry, printed on textured paper and bound by hand. Others are created for specific communities ranging from crafters to lovers of baking, while some are collections of photographs, sketches, paintings and other art forms by a single artist or a collaborative. Zines can be anything and everything, and they are.
The zine sub-culture is huge in many parts of the world, and in South Africa the art form is growing and making its way to that very porous of edges: the one between underground and popular culture.
THE SOUTH AFRICAN ZINE CULTURE
Zines can be one-offs or part of a larger series, and there are a number published regularly to the delight of a spreading fan base, including Alice Toich’s BAEK zine, Boni Mnisi and Hannah Leal’s intersectional feminist zine This Is What Makes Us Girls and the physical-movement-focused Anybodyzine.
Artists, doodlers and illustrators also find expression via this format. Jean de Wet’s annual zine and personal anthology Lunar Fog features comics and drawings previously unseen, and Sebastian Borckenhagen finds solace in solving problems via his publications Annihilation, Problems and A New Kind of Problem. Even the now internationally renowned artist Lady Skollie began her career making her own zine, Kaapstad Kinsey.