Press release issue #200 (on sale Friday 3 August Thursday 23 August 2012)

Urgent appeal: Please see also


200 editions and still going strong

Eco-news, child labour, Cape Flats transformation & more


The August 3 edition of The Big Issue is a landmark one for the non-profit organisation, marking its 200th edition.


At a time when some great, long-standing magazines are being pulled from the shelf, making it to the milestone of 200 editions is no mean feat. But instead of boasting only about this achievement, the magazine’s cover is dedicated to its 250 plus vendors, with the bold statement “I’ve bought 200 editions of this magazine. You should buy it too.”


“We decided to use this landmark edition to drive home the message that vendors are working for themselves for the simple reason that, even after 15 years, there are still many people who mistakenly believe The Big Issue is a ‘charity’ and don’t view vendors as the micro-entrepreneurs they are,” explained editor, Melany Bendix.


“So we wanted to remind the public that vendors buy the magazine for R9 and sell it for R18 to earn a living. They have to manage their stock, are affected by economic conditions and, like any small business owners, make profits and occasionally losses,” she added. “So they are micro-entrepreneurs in their own right, and it’s thanks to this entrepreneurial spirit that The Big Issue has reached its grand 200th edition.”


Green extreme

Inside the magazine there’s a focus on green issues, starting off with a feature on Greenpop’s tree planting spree last month in Zambia, one of the world’s most deforested countries. The Trees for Zambia project saw 5 000 trees planted by 100 volunteers — a Big Issue journalist among them.


In part III of Off-the-Grid, another of The Big Issue’s journalists continues to explore how and why people are moving out of cities and getting off-the-grid to live in eco-communities, this time from Transkei to the Natal Midlands. Readers who missed Part I and II of the eco-travel column can catch up by reading them online at


Child labour

The focus then moves onto the big issue of child trafficking, with a special report on poverty-stricken Malawi’s battle to fend off human traffickers poaching its children for forced labour in neighbouring countries, including South Africa. This is accompanied by a powerful photo essay of some of the 215 million children worldwide forced into hard labour.


Cape Flats transformation

Two features put the spotlight on transformative programmes in the Cape Flats. The first is on the Children’s Radio Foundation, which is teaching children in Manenberg — some as young as seven — to question and understand their complex community as budding radio reporters. The second is this edition’s Agent of Change, Reconstructed Living Lab (RLab), a progressive social enterprise which offers free computer training to the community in Athlone and beyond.


“We’ve been bowled over by the work of RLab. They started out teaching drug addicts and gangsters, who previously only knew how to steal computers, how to use technology as a tool of personal transformation. They’ve since branched out and are on a mission to take the RLab concept to the rest of the world,” said Bendix.


Arts & entertainment

Local music is in the spotlight with a feature on five-piece instrumental dance outfit The Nomadic Orchestra. In the arts and entertainment section, readers can also find music and literature reviews and highlights of the art and theatre calendar over the coming month.


“We always strive to offer a variety of content that will appeal to all types of readers, and our 200th edition does just that,” said Bendix. “Support a micro-entrepreneur and get this milestone edition from your nearest vendor.”


For more information, contact:


Marketing and media:

Angie McErlean

021-461 6690 / 072 901 0589/



Melany Bendix

021-461-6690 / 082 200-7088 /