To publish and be damned


YOU are reading an incantation of hope, an idea that is not shy to call itself grand and ambitious. It is drawn from the conviction that we deserve better.

Better than Cape Town’s steadily more unreadable newspapers, which are insults to the robust and brave journalism that used to appear under the same mastheads.

Better than the slew of uncritical blogs that despoil our cyberspace, adding nothing but product placement and bumptiousness to our consciousness.

Why should you read us? Because, we hope, you will want to.

We live in a city that shimmers with life. Yet we are saddled with a written media that wouldn’t know an engaging story if it smacked it upside the head.

This is an attempt to change that. The Cape Town Review plans to tell stories of our city and the people who live here from the heart — with an irrisistable beat that will sometimes leave blood on the floor and other times, we hope, send blood surging through your veins with exhilaration.

Do not read us if you are offended by prying into the various cultures, politics and religions that make our city the place it is. If, thus forewarned, you read us anyway and you are offended, we will not be offended that you are offended. But know that we will publish what we, and only we, deem fit to publish.

Not that it will be our intention to offend. It will be our intention to explore and discover our city with fresh eyes, and to report what we find in the shape of interviews, features, photography, essays, fiction and poetry.

We will seek to provide informed listings about, for instance, Cape Town’s best, mediocre and worst coffee. You cannot buy a good review by plying us with free espresso. We will pay the bill whether or not we like your espresso — and we will say so.

We will also pay our contributors. A major reason why so much of what is offered as writing and photography on Cape Town is poor is that it is produced for free for publications that are concerned with nothing more than filling space.

“Exposure” has no nutritional value. We will not disrespect you by pretending that it does. Money is a shoddy way to reward producers of anything, but it’s all we have. You should, however, understand that to earn this money you will be required to meet your deadline.

We will write neither like bloodless academics chucking just another thesis onto the pile, nor like adjective-addled 12-year-olds.

We will write with respect for what, in Cape Town, is too often a disrespected part of this equation: the reader.

Why should you read us? Because, we hope, you will want to. ♦

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