Publishers Leading The Indie Movement

We’re exploring fearlessly authentic art, the kind that can’t and won’t be contained by a frame or canvas.

Previously we’ve looked street artists using the city as their canvas, performance artists challenging physical constraints, fashion designers who sculpt fabric into breathtaking creations, tattoo artists and many more. Each of these creatives is defined by their unconventional approach and fiercely original artistic voice.

In this edition we’re turning the spotlight on independent publishers and small presses. These are the creatives pioneering the DYI zine culture in South Africa, carving out a space for theirs and others’ work outside of the mainstream. Zines are self-published, small circulation and often free books, booklets or broadsheets. Their content is usually too niche for mainstream media and they’re often made by hand using cutting, pasting, drawing and photocopying. Anyone can make and self-publishing a zine. While not technically ‘zines’, there are also several local publications being independently published and distributed across a range of topics.

A thriving indie and zine culture is a sign that voices outside of the mainstream media are making themselves heard. Meet those leading this movement:


Alphabet Zoo

Alphabet Zoo is the Johannesburg based duo Isaac Zavale and Minenkulu Ngoyi. Both traditional printmaking artists, collective formed to create street culture zine and promote zine making in South Africa. They regularly host zine workshops and invite other creatives to collaborate. They hope to one day amass a zine library, which they’ll tour around the world.

Find them: and

Jungle Jim

This bimonthly illustrated pulp literary magazine publishes sci-fi and genre-based writing from all over Africa. In keeping with the pulp tradition, Jungle Jim publishes short and serialised fiction that is bizarre, provocative, thrilling and extreme. Founded in 2011 by designer Hannes Bernard and filmmaker Jenna Bass, Jungle Jim is distributed internationally promoting new stories and pictures from across the continent and diaspora.

More: and


A collaboration between Frantz Birkholz and Kanker Kat, Benzine is a “photographic homage to inhalants”. Issue one is sold out, look out for issue two.

Follow them on Instagram: @frantzbirkholtzand @kanker_kat.


This new decadent zine is the brain child of fine artist / baking goddess Alice Toich. Somewhere between a recipe book, art publication and fashion shoot, Baek is a full colour sumptuously styled mother watering treat that gets served to subscribers hot in the post.

Follow @baek_zine on Instagram.


This magazine of “mighty fine writing” publishes original fiction, non-fiction and poetry in all South African languages. Founded in 2013 by Helen Sullivan and James King, the indie mag has gone from strength to strength over the years attracting submissions from renowned local literary voices and gaining an international readership.

More at and


Chimurenga is a pan African platform of writing, art and politics. It was founded in 2002 by Ntone Edjabe and draws together a myriad of voices from across Africa and the diaspora. The platform publishes the Chimurenga Magazine, a quarterly broadsheet called The Chronic, and a biennial publication of urban life called the African Cities Reader. Across each of these publications, Chimurenga aims to provide innovative channels for the transfer of free ideas and political reflection by Africans about Africa.

More at and

Bat Butt

This collaborative low-fi illustrated zine bursts off the page with graphic custom artworks. The product of Shaun Hill, Candice Bondi, Jarryd Kin, Daniel McCauley and Jesse Coetsee, Bat Butt has gained a wide following for its wacky humour and throw-back style.

More at and follow @batbutt on Instagram.


This collaborative experimental zine project is all about the making part of zines, which involves a group of illustrators getting together for a rapid-fire, free-for-all drawing session. All work produced is then scanned and made available online for anyone to remix, modify, annotate and curate as they choose – an open source format for zine making.

More at

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