Ja. Edition 20

Page 1


June 2020

Francine Simon


Andre Swart

Second Toe

So long, Stables

Imperfect Process

Hello, dear reader Welcome to Ja. mag 20 – our 20th e-zine publication – and also our last, in this vein, for the foreseeable future. As we celebrate Ja. magazine’s fifth year of publishing new written and visual work with a handmade twist and a digital take, we’re also saying goodbye to old ways of publishing. Following this edition, Ja. mag will no longer be accepting submissions and publishing as a literary and visual arts journal, choosing instead, to work on a project-by-project basis, publishing zines, photobooks, and collections of prose by individual artists and writers, as well as collectives and communities. We’re still here, just not in the ways you (or we) are used to. It’s an understatement to say that we’re both excited for what’s to come, and sad to leave the old iteration of Ja. mag behind. Receiving submissions from across the continent from established and emerging writers, artists, theatre-makers, poets, and illustrators alike is what’s kept us going all these years, literally and figuratively. We’ve loved publishing your work. So, a huge, soppy thank you to everyone who’s submitted to, read, followed, supported, or spread the word about Ja. mag throughout the years – from our young and clueless student days through to our older and slightly less clueless later years.

contents As much as the publication has changed over the years, our audience has only continued to grow, returning and reflecting the same amount of passion and eagerness for words and pictures that we put out. We’ve also managed to share this trip with a consistent bunch of folks who’ve been reading, submitting, and supporting since the early days and for that we’re incredibly grateful. There are too many of you to mention, but know that we dig you! We’ve had a lot of fun over the years. We’ve had loads of triumphs, made tons of mistakes, pulled off a host of events across the country, and published more original work than we can count. In this edition of Ja. mag, we indulge in a few early staples of the publication – book reviews, rants, sarcastic one-liners, and some work by us! We’ve also got brilliant photo essays, short stories, poetry, prose pieces, and all of the usual stuff you’ve come to expect from Ja. mag. So, for the last time in this format – thanks for reading. Love, the Ja. team. One day we were having a Chappies, and thought the wrapper would make a nice cover. Peep a few of our own


Featured photography Imperfect Process by Andre Swart


Featured Photostory So Long, Stable. Words by Youlendree Appasamy, and photographs by Niamh WalshVorster and Paulo Menezes


Rant LONGGGmire by Carly Nicole


Mixed media Photographs and parable by Minien Hattingh


Short Story Men don’t talk about sunflowers by Loic Ekinga


Short Story Beach combing by Andy Smit


Prose Notes from a commute by Daniel Rathbone


Poetry Masks Stole Smiles by Jess Bothma


Poetry Writing it down by Isabel Rawlins


Featured Poetry Second Toe by Francine Simon

Did You Know?’s on page 43.



Poetry Subject line by Tarryn de Kock


Poetry seperation is like a maybe by Jemima Meyer


IMPERFECT PROCESS Shot, processed and scanned in and around Overport, Durban, during the 2020 lockdown. photographs by Andre Swart



I hadn’t processed in ages, and I was planning to start processing at

some stage during the year. A lockdown proved to be the perfect time to process. I had also never scanned my own photographs. Always sent them to a lab. I managed to scoop a little scanner recently. A lockdown proved to be the perfect time to scan photographs. These photographs are a snippet of my first ever, and hopefully last, pandemic lockdown.











SO LONG, STABLES words by Youlendree Appasamy photographs by Paulo Menezes and Niamh Walsh-Vorster

A large part of Durban’s charm has always been the unpretentiousness of how its people move. What’s the need for a vertical plant wall, a new Shelflife store, or sustainable-vintage pop-up with torn H&M t-shirts going for R300? Stables certainly didn’t have these things, and was all the better for it. The Stables Lifestyle Market proved to be a part of a dying breed of unpolished family-friendly events. The night market, held (mostly) weekly, saw all kinds of people come through its doors. It was proof that you didn’t need to dress things up: things of quality find their people. Its location had something to do with it. Situated close to Mr Price Rugby Stadium, coming from Verulam, it was a soft entrance into Durban by night. At the market, you could buy pineapple pieces doused in masala on a stick, listen to a cover band, and get knock-off Tupperware all in one evening.


By the time I started going to the market, my parents already thought it’s golden age had passed, but took us for the experience and we enjoyed it all the same. My brother and I had free rein to get whatever meal and dessert we wanted. As much as we tried to diversify our palettes with Greek or Portuguese food on offer, most of the time we ended up at the Crown of India: Home of Food stall. As I got older, and went to Stables sans parents, I saw the less family-friendly side of the place. One time, a cousin and I met up with her Mxit boyfriend. Him and his bras converged around a hubbly, smoking menthol flavour, I think, while my cousin and I sat to one side, fastidiously re-applying lipgloss hoping to attract some – any – male attention. By the time a new coal was placed, and unmarked brown liquor came out of someone’s bag, our older cousins came to fetch us and we said our goodbyes. Stables was a strange place where people in all phases of life were welcome, and found a nook that suited them.


“Counterfeit goods, pirated DVDs, karaoke, fairy gardens, cheap, cheap plastic goodies, the early 2000s was preserved in the vibrant stalls of local entrepreneurs of Stables. It was heaven.”


The Newmarket Stables, the namesake of the market, was used as stables for horses until 2017. Three stalls to the left of the main entrance sits Sea Cottage’s old stall. Sea Cottage won 15 races from 1965 – 1967 and multiple awards – his name even sits in South Africa’s Equine Hall of Fame. But along the way of attaining South African equine royalty status, Sea Cottage developed some enemies. In 1966, a rogue bookmaker and club owner attempted to recoup some betting losses, and Sea Cottage was shot by a sharply dressed gangster in a bright yellow convertible. However, the poor horse recovered and went on to win the 1967 Durban July. For the past decade or so, a small group of tenants lived on the property and either cleaned the space, sold goods and services or worked as security. When Durban’s High Court ordered Stables’ demise, this whole community was forced out too. The City of eThekwini Municipality was taken to court about the eviction notice and from 2017 - 2020, Glen Eden Trading, the company managing Stables, fought for the survival of the market and all the people who relied on it. 16




Unfortunately, the case was lost, and the Stables closed on 10 March, 2020. An estimated 152 traders lost their livelihoods. These images, created on the last day of trade for the historical market, show how swiftly things can fold. Murtis are moved to one side, and empty crates are packed away. The boys smoking the hub do so with a look of resignation, and the punjabis, shararas and saris look wilted in their stall. After a long legal battle, with the iconic horse mural colours now chipped and faded, the dark green stable doors closed for good.



“Friday nights and Christmas time at the Stables will be missed. Food, pre-owned books and inexpensive incense were our favourites.”




LONGGGmire words and collage by Carly Nicole We have so much free time on our hands

In the past couple of weeks I recommended

these days, thanks to Covid19 making the

the show to my friends. I contemplated the

global rounds. It is humbling how something

dynamics of law and justice in border-town

invisible can remind us how thoroughly

Wyoming and on the Cheyenne Reservation.

vulnerable and intertwined we all are, and

I got invested in the friendship of a white

also how much we have to learn about

sheriff and a Native American bar owner. I

ourselves, each other, time, and life.

watched a stoic white man in a position of power think and feel his way through crimes,

In any case, during this inside time my

and I compared his stoicism, great love for

boyfriend and I have turned to the TV,

his (deceased) wife, and aptitude for the

more so than usual, to pass the time. I never

outdoors to my Dad.

expected I would own a TV in my house after trying to talk my parents into getting

I also developed a great irritation with a

rid of ours when I was growing up. I am a

Deputy called Vic, short for Victoria. Vic is

‘finisher’, so TVs and full packs of Oreos are

Longmire’s daughter’s age: blonde, deep-v

pretty dangerous. I just keep on watching

sheriff ’s office shirt, hands always on her

and eating until the end. Cameron was

hips, and sexually enamored with her boss,

raised on TV, and I moved into his house last

or as she would probably argue, in love.

October, so for now it stays.

Longmire brushes her off, physically, in every season, while caring for her like one

Anyways, a couple weeks back, we started

would expect a father to care for a daughter.

watching Longmire. It’s a show about a

Or maybe I was just giving him the benefit

sheriff ’s office in small town Wyoming. We

of the doubt I wasn’t giving her, because

kept on watching all six seasons, until we

when the final episode comes along Vic gets

wrapped up the final episode last night and I

her wish, sex with her fatherly boss. Maybe

went to bed angry.

Longmire was in it for the long game. He had to be – he’s just that thoughtful right? 22

What’s that line about cycles of violence? Hurt people hurt people? But then, the show never developed the story of Longmire or Vic being wounded in a way that would normalise their cross-generational and occupational sexual relationship. I get it, life is messy, but TV doesn’t need to normalise, romanticise, and glorify dysfunction. What left me angry last night was the overwhelming feeling the Longmire writers, producers, and actors didn’t think their story was dysfunctional. The Longmire finale reminded me why 40 hours of TV is generally a bad idea, especially when it is written by an older white man. And also why my Grandma, an older white woman, probably liked it all so much. 23


Painting as a form of understanding:

A QnA with Daniel Mark Nel

interview by Ja. Team artworks by Daniel Mark Nel












Masks stole smiles Together apart. At war with an invisible enemy, everything has changed. Public space estranged. Survival ate superficial. Masks stole smiles. Clean hands with hungry eyes, out for supplies Things look different now. Take what you need, without touching: the global plea. Stay home, if you have one. Street sleepers given haven, clear the road, the pavement, only allowing the fundamental. What a humbling thing to not be essential.

– Jess Bothma


photograph by Lucinda Jolly


photograph by Lucinda Jolly



Writing it down I miss the confines of an office, four walls a bastion of thought, a square of ground and a defined task. My life spills out lately; languid days lose focus like a mislaid pen leaving me noteless. At the back of my mind I’ll write later, when I have more to say, or when I find the right paper. Instead, I rummage through the archive of my life evidenced in things, drawers crammed with notes in files, in boxes, trinkets and rings. Until I can’t think with it all here, elbowed in by crowds of past selves: their memories would render me invisible, if not for these paper ramparts, for writing it down on this square of ground.

– Isabel Rawlins



Second Toe a fourth time in bed he had been looking at her toes your second toe is so long she didn’t smile as her mother bent over her she moved to the hotplate to make tea it means I must rule over my husband she brought his tea back he took a sip swirling his tongue you must always boil the milk first if only her mother hadn’t licked the insides of her hands and feet his tea might be better then – Francine Simon




Poetry With coffee spilled down my shirt Shoes flecked with dirt from the hurried walk from a packed grocery store where youths Youths (say the word and the image laces up its boots to arrive soon after) Youths stood menacing (as they tend to do) Watching me go by Hungover Stories I’d prefer not to tell about parking my dignity outside his bedroom door Cigarettes forgotten on the kitchen table Too proud to admit I am too poor to let them go Brushing whiskey out of my mouth with minty regret Overladen with bills Tired of meal prep and meals that, when prepped, look nothing like a Buzzfeed listicle Eyes square from Buzzfeed Tasty videos promising a world covered in melted cheese And so much – so much – panko Struggling to fit into my heartbreak jeans Sick from a diet of coffee and anxiety thrown down a stairwell like a silent scream Sick like possibly bronchitis? I can’t say, all I can afford this week is some cut-price cough syrup I’ll go, I’ll go, I promise Like I promised I’d fix my teeth (three fillings needed, scale and polish, clean overdue) Like I promised I’d sort out the WiFi Like I promised I’d be born richer Yes, I’ll go, take an unpaid day to spend half my salary to be told I’m stressed. Stress for the next three weeks about whether I can afford to eat a vegetable. So here I sit, my dearest Karen Holding on tight to the semblance of a life before lockdown Hoping my last-ditch attempt at sourdough and sour pineapple beer doesn’t land me in the ER for poisoning Poisoned as I already am by this inbox and the million things I absolutely Have to Do While I stare out the window at a world I might never return to. Honestly, call it what you like But I regret to inform you that no, Your email does not Find me well.


photograph by Lucinda Jolly



separation is like a maybe

separation is like a maybe balloon (which I’ve been clutching since you helped me inflate it) almost slipped from being clenched against my chest separation is like a maybe balloon in which we exhale slipping feelings, clenched expectations and hope it’ll grow (and burst if it’s too tense for my arms to hold) should I rather poke tiny holes slowly deflate my chest never to be filled again? – Jemima Meyer



The World of Nat Nakasa – edited by Essop Patel

by Niamh Walsh-Vorster

Advance, Retreat by Richard Rive

Book review: Alex van Tonder’s A Walk at Midnight

This posthumous collection of words by Durban-born journalist, essayist, and writer Nat Nakasa turns 45 this year. The book contains all of the sharp and sensitive humour, insight, and passion that Nakasa managed to communicate in his articles, essays, and columns over the years.

Some of the finest short stories by the District Six-born writer Richard Rive, Advance, Retreat interrogates identity, yearning, art, and more through a suitably stark and sardonic take. Woodcuts by Cecil Skotnes also supplement these stories.

Last Night at The Bassline by David B. Coplan and Oscar Gutiérrez

Len and Dave book bites

A collection of written and photographic anecdotes that, despite their deeply subjective nature, present a solid portrait of a small Melville jazz club that played its own important role in the post-apartheid South African music scene.

Content Note: Mention of sexual assault

I have wanted to read Alex van Tonder’s second novel, A Walk at Midnight, ever since I saw a copy in a quasi-famous South African rapper’s Instagram story (yes, I am that impressionable, and no, I will not tell you who has such influential power over me). I like a good thriller. Give me Gillian Flynn and Lauren Beukes any day – Sharp Objects, Broken Monsters and The Shining Girls are all highly recommended. It was just my luck to come across a second hand copy of A Walk at Midnight in one of my favourite Melville book stores. Printed boldly on the cover was ‘UNCORRECTED PROOF COPY’. Inside was a strict instruction to not sell this copy. R57 bucks lighter, I went home happy. Quick breakdown, with kind of spoilers The protagonist, Jane, is a very cool kid who likes to read and challenge social norms. She grows up in a middle-class nuclear family with pathological traits: a mother who is controlling, an abusive father, and Candice – the family’s prodigal daughter. Jane goes through some traumatic experiences as she grows up – one of which is experiencing sexual assault. Following this is a story of grief, reinvention, and revenge. We see Jane as she experiences life as a student, and as a burgeoning fiction writer. She then becomes lost in the role of wife and mother, seeing her children into adulthood, and husband climb his career ladder. However, in the background is Jane, who still experiences the lingering effects of the assault – moulding her life and everyone in it. A quick and accessible read I read the book in two days and the“could not put it down” cliché applies here. Despite reading an unedited proof copy, there were minimal issues in van Tonder’s writing – the sign of a seasoned hand. Her story is accessible, albeit simplistic and I was deep within wanting to find out how Jane gets hers! This has left me keen to read van Tonder’s first novel, This42 One Time. Hopefully I’ll cop it at another secondhand bookstore soon.


Did You Know? A special Ja. Magazine segment DID YOU KNOW? When viewed at the correct angle th– *THANKS FOR LISTENING TO SPOTIFY*

DID YOU KNOW? South African art and culture falls under the same governmental department as sport? The joke, here, is that this is an actual fact.

DID YOU KNOW? Paint palettes have become redundant because everybody makes art on their phones now.

DID YOU KNOW? The graffiti writer ‘Tapz’ has actually been the Ja. mag team all along. DID YOU KNOW? The ‘Delicious Monster’ is now endangered after South African influencers killed countless plants for their Instagram posts.

DID YOU KNOW? There’s a story about a horse that got shot in the bums in this edition.

DID YOU KNOW? None of Ja. mag’s critics managed to establish and sustain their own indie publications.

DID YOU KNOW? Lion matches don’t light unless you shake the box, first.

DID YOU KNOW? In 2016, Len blew her first paycheck at Krispy Kreme.

DID YOU KNOW? Dave stopped wearing beanies in 2016 and now exclusively wears top hats.

DID YOU KNOW? One time we started drinking at, like, 10am, picked a bunch of flowers, and inadvertently created one of our most beloved front covers.

DID YOU KNOW? If you took all the money that Ja. mag has ever made, and then borrowed 50c from someone, you still wouldn’t have enough for a Chappies.


creators and contributors Dave Mann Dave Mann is a writer, arts journalist, and co-founder of Ja. mag. He has had a tremendous amount of fun putting this publication together over the past few years. He is unsure of what to do with all of this free time, now.

Daniel Rathbone Daniel is a Joburg-based pedestrian. He sometimes writes. @empty_wessels Carly Hosford-Israel Carly Hosford-Israel was born and raised in Seattle, WA. In 2015 she earned a MA in Journalism and Media Studies at UCKAR. Her academic research

Youlendree Appasamy Youlendree Appasamy is a writer, sub-editor and occasional nail artist. You can find her nostalgically

centered on photographic activism, social movement and alternative media values. Currently she lives in Poplar, MT on the Fort Peck Reservation and looks forward to teaching high school English next year. @carlyleworld

scrolling through Ja. mag’s IG, and old photos. Like Dave, she is unsure of what to do with all this free time. @lensbootiek Niamh Walsh-Vorster Really likes potatoes and Ja. Period. @niamh.ashling

Isabel Rawlins Isabel Rawlins is usually a lecturer at the University of Zululand when not in the midst of a global pandemic. Since the lockdown began she has been staying sane by baking, spending time with her plants and talking to her dog Gunner, a lot. @izzybaloo

Paulo Menezes Paulo Menezes is an artist/photographer based in Durban, South Africa, specialising in conceptual documentary photography. He has an interest in spaces, and processes occurring within and around those spaces. More recently he has been exploring parenthood and childhood through the photographing of his young family. @paulomenezespictures

Tarryn de Kock Tarryn de Kock is a writer and food blogger based in Cape Town. @tarryngdk Andy Smit Andy Smit is a person – and that feels good enough. You can find them on Instagram for chats and memesharing: @andysmit95

André Swart André Swart is a Durban-based photographer who’s slightly obsessed with documenting all things Durban. @andre_swart


Francine Simon Francine Simon was born in 1990 in Durban to Indian Catholic parents. She completed her doctorate in English Studies at Stellenbosch University in 2018. Her poems have been published in both South African and international literary journals and magazines. Her debut collection of poetry, Thungachi, launched in 2017. Her poem, “Nanni-ma”, won the DALRO Poetry Prize. SHARK (her chapbook) was released in 2019. She lives in Bolzano, Italy.

Jess Bothma I am a Durban-based sculptor. My own language explores; identity (place and people), memory, dreams, the environment and materials as metaphor. I have been writing poetry since 2016, I use it as a tool to reflect on things and to expand and keep some of my thoughts and experiences together. I love the freedom of writing poetry — words become more than what they mean, how they look and sound becomes meaning too.



Loic Ekinga Loic Ekinga is a writer in his free time whose work has appeared in publications such as The Kalahari Review, Type/Cast Literary Journal, Poetry Potion, Ja. Magazine and others. An honorable mention by JK Anowe for Praxis Magazine, Loic is a Congolese immigrant currently residing in South Africa and his work focuses on the human condition. @firstloicyouknow

Jemima Meyer Jemima Meyer (1997-) is a dietitian at the South African Military Health Service. She makes sense of life by writing poetry and composing songs. Her poems have been published in New Contrast, Ons Klyntji, Kalahari Review, and elsewhere. @jemimameyer

Lucinda Jolly Lucinda Jolly is a graduate in fine art from the Michaelis school of Fine Art, UCT. She is the ex-head of journalism and creative writing lecturer at a private film and media college. Currently Lucinda lectures a variety of subjects to film and media students at the same college. She also freelancers as an arts writer and has written for various newspapers including the Mail & Guardian and Business Day. She hosts a pro bono, cultural, monthly slot on Fine Music Radio. @lucinda.jolly

Minien Hattingh Minien Hattingh, (b.1992), South Africa, completed her BA Fine Arts (Hons) degree at the University of Pretoria (2014). She has had the opportunity to exhibit at numerous group shows and art fairs. The most notable include: Sasol New Signatures Competition Finalist (2014,2015,2017), Thami Mnyele Fine Arts Merit award for Multi and New Media (2015). In 2017 she had her first international exhibition exposure, winning second prize in the Young Talents category of the La Quatrieme Image photography competition and the opportunity to exhibit her work at the festival in Paris. @nienchiyobi_


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