Name: Dominique Rollino

Publication: Cosmopolitan South Africa


Rolling Stone South Africa: does it live up to its international parents?


With sixteen other publications world-wide, from Brazil to Japan there was always going to be huge pressure on the launch of Rolling Stone South Africa and each and every person involved in it’s publication. However, none more so then its new editor-in-chief, Miles Keylock.


From receiving the ‘go ahead’ from the American head office to publication just eight weeks later, there was immediately a sense of urgency to produce a first issue that would live up to the hyped attitude that is associated with the Rolling Stone brand all over the world, it needed to be a space of contradictions. A space where artists could represent themselves.


However, even with the blessing from the American publication, Rolling Stone South Africa does not merely want to replicate their international counterpart. Rather they want the magazine to represent the voice and the variety of demographics that the South African culture has to offer. A prime example of this idea comes from the stars that have graced the first six issues. Aside from Paul McCartney, and this can be said purely because he’s a Beatle; all of the cover stars have been South African. In the words of Miles Keylock, “we don’t take the easy way out and just slap a bootylicious babe on the cover.” Each person has a story.


Music journalist Lester Banks said that “rock ‘n roll isn’t a music genre, it’s an attitude” and that is exactly what Rolling Stone South Africa is striving to achieve. People expect rock ‘n roll from the magazine because of its famous international links and that’s what they will get in every issue. Regardless of whether the featured artist is famous, if they have a story that represents the rock ‘n roll attitude Rolling Stone will publish it.


A prime example of such attitude is displayed on the first cover of the South African issue. A cliché icon to use some may think but Hugh Masekela, or Bra Hugh as he is fondly called throughout the feature, is the epitome of this attitude. He has lived, and he most certainly has a story to tell. He is an icon but he is also a game-changer and he is ensuring that young people through his stories are making new histories.


It’s been said that ‘behind every great man, is an even greater woman,’ and it can certainly be said that behind a great magazine there is an even greater man. Miles Keylock has been in the industry for over two decades and yet he still knows that “he is in a position of great privilege.” There are no vacations or any form of downtime for him as a writer, firstly, and as the editor of the South African publication.


If there is a story with even a shred of integrity, the rock ‘n roll attitude that helps him to decide what stories are featured in every issue will appear. According to him “the story will always show itself” no matter who the writer is as long as they have ‘heart.’


The brand that is Rolling Stone has been run by the same man for the past 45 years. The same man who started the first issue in his campus dorm room because he not only saw the huge change that music was going through, but also how this change was aiding and affecting the human race. This idea is still how the magazine is run today. Same format, same ideas, same integrity. To show the change in music, not just the negatives and positives aspects.


Even though Rolling Stone is a hulking giant of intimidation South Africa has done the brand, as a whole, incredibly proud. They have stuck to what works, the format and ideas, but they have given it the ‘local is lekker’ twist. They have not only given South African artists a platform to represent themselves, their voices and stories but they have also give the audience of South Africa something that is intelligent, alluring and rock ‘n roll all in one monthly issue. With only six issues published there is much space for growth, progress and even more spectacular stories from the heart.