Tag Archive: Rolling Stone South Africa

When I heard that Rolling Stone magazine was coming to South Africa   I wondered, is this going to be like watching a made-for South Africa American TV show? Would I cringe at the language being used or feel disappointed when I did not see anyone who looked like me or someone talking about the things I like to talk about? Those were my expectations but fortunately for young,black,female me  and  for all of us, Rolling Stone is more South African than it is American-made -for -South Africa.

The magazine appeals to the mind and soul by engaging critically with music and the musician, and with the history that has ultimately shaped both. Much like its editor, Miles Key lock, Rolling Stone South Africa embodies what it means to be rock n roll-unapologetically ruckus, real and outspoken.

In a country where creatives are not just censored but censor themselves, policing their own political correctness, it is refreshing to see a publication that speaks so openly on current and past cultural, social and political affairs. Discussing the musicians he has interviewed and the music he appreciates, Miles Key lock describes how this art form (music) is “rooted in decade’s worth of history” and how “we engage with history every day”. The magazine and the writers, the likes of which include Rian Malan, have a real appreciation for the fact that in South Africa “the past is the present”. It is not all rainbow nations and musical butterflies at every turn of the page, and for any South African writer to make a difference it should not be. There are many words left unsaid, looming in every conversation, encounter and interaction and someone ought to say them before they turn into something far more perverse. It is after all, truth before reconciliation and not reconciliation before truth.

Keylocks‘s slogan seems to be: “write something real!”  It is a challenge all young South Africans should take up not only to better their work but to better themselves for their work. When we are writers we are in the particularly privileged position of sharing with thousands what we know or think reality to be, we are purveyors of truth and so we should be honest and show integrity in our work. Now being honest doesn’t mean we are always right and it can sometimes offend or even hurt others, but that is our responsibility. This is the sort of sincerity absent in our conversations as intellectuals and individuals. This is the honesty which as journalists we so often decry our leaders as not having. But even we are capable of talking rubbish and if we do not write something we know about or are passionate about then in Key lock’s own words “it’s going to sound like BS”.

Telling real stories is what can make a difference. That is all Keylock is asking for -“a good story”. These are the real stories that so often go unmentioned or become fictitious adaptations on the cover of tabloids. I would like to believe that Rolling Stone  South Africa and its readers are  counter this consumer-friendly claptrap, and want entertainment, yes, but lust for insight. South African and African magazine’s can still take up a genuine space in the culture of our country while many others are too far gone in the haze of American or “western” sensationalism.  “We don’t want to colonize (your) minds” says Keylock. If we are going to be more specific here we do not, and should not, let our minds be wantonly attacked by ideals and stories that are so irrelevant to us. Yes they may have worth to South Africans too, we may enjoy them, but they do not have any credibility in this context. A line between the two ideas needs to be drawn, or at least written.

Rolling Stone South Africa may be a “music” or “entertainment” magazine but it is also a publication that takes its privilege seriously. It is not about exposing the country to good music, good artists and good writers. It is about highlighting those maverick, controversial and enlightened human beings who happen to make good music and write good pieces.

Young writers and artists need not separate their thoughts or even emotions from their work; this probably pleases everyone else except the readers. This kind of writing is not Rolling Stone material, nor is it very rock n’ roll. Interviewing “edgy “ bands and “exciting” people is  a waste of time if we do not allow ourselves to be “edgy” and “exciting’’ not only in the way we write or who we are, but what we choose to write about and who we choose to be. This generation needs people to pioneer, to be critical and challenge the status quo in whatever they do. Being a writer, like being a rock star is not a job -it is a calling!


please ,sir, i want some more

There is no fear expressed by the editor of rolling stones South Africa in a press conference held about the magazine being taken over by the digital wave. The water is encroaching but fails to touch the world renowned publication and it sparks interest as to how. There is a simple answer to a question that opens the door to many complexities: Integrity. Remaining true to the original intention of the brand and the heart of it has allowed Miles Keylock the privilege of establishing and continuing to successfully run the magazine.

The internet is for browsing and spending hours surfing the web; getting superficial knowledge about everything on offer. You walk away with strained eyes a sore hide and equipped with a range of facts to start or contribute to a conversation that you would otherwise avoid. Other online media provide much the same satisfaction. It allows for snippets of stories filling you in between the spaces of lived reality. It is only inevitable that the craving for a steaming steak with gravy and roasted potatoes kicks in. That is how Rolling Stone South Africa serves this hungry population.

Like a good restaurant Rolling stone is known for its brand. It has a reputation that exceeds name. There is a high caliber associated with the magazine that is acknowledged on an international foreground yet the idiosyncratic South African brand differs significantly. It chooses not to “colonize” its consumers with American content; Keylock elaborates stating that the brand needs a “South African voice in the pop culture landscape”. The South African brand has a responsibility to represent the respective demographics of the population. It has managed to stand its ground and not fall prey to the convention of other brands to splash international celebrities on the front cover and mass coverage of them in the content (the exception rises when a star does something of global resonance). The focus is rather at what we have on our doorstep. The magazine acknowledges and acts on the fact that there is a varied selection of artists in the indigenous context. In this a revelatory experience is realized that our country in its diversity of artists serves a diverse audience. The focus of the local magazine is to cover artists that simply have a real and in-depth story to tell. Taking a look at Zahara; she is perhaps considered a commercial and big artist that if it were anyone else may have lost herself in the music but she stands apart as her songs translate a greater message of hope.

Another way Rolling Stone South Africa transcends this digital takeover is through serving true musical coverage to different generations while not swaying from the brand. They use timeless legends like Hugh Masekela, deemed by Keylock as “embody[ing] the rock and roll spirit”. Suggesting that the use of musical god’s is to illustrate that one needs to exceed the artistic form and embrace music as an attitude, a lifestyle. The purpose of this serves the old generation as well as etches the pathway for the rising artists that are changing the face of music; special mention was made to Spoek Mathambo. The requirement, however, is not to be an acclaimed artist but rather an artist that has an interesting story to tell paired with a brilliant attitude in navigating where they, as an individual, and we, as a country,  are living.



Content is chosen being mindful of their audience. They address a range of “high end” material that perhaps has aspirational value for its readership as well as “low end” content which introduces the element of reality that may be easier to relate to. It is ultimately all in an attempt to answer the introspective question quoted by Keylock as “How do I live in this strange place?” Because of the paradoxes rooted in South African soil it creates grounds to answer this question through the juxtaposition of coverage. The answers will involve an exploration of history to map out the future; this is made manifest through conversation of which Rolling Stone has many. Set with conversation and a focused purpose, a meal of a magazine is bound to be chosen over snacking.

Besides being fundamentally different from other forms of online media, Rolling Stone South Africa is differs slightly within the category of traditional print media. Both serve make the public aware of the environment around them, but the distinction comes in the method. Whereas the latter creates a space for news based articles, Rolling Stone South Africa, maintaining its integrity since the 1960s, uses music to reflect its surrounding. This, according to the editor of the South African publication, is “about expression in the most sincere way” that enables a magazine to be formed from more than just words and pictures. The content, he adds, is fortunately limited to that which strikes a chord with him and his audience. Writing, where passion ecstasy and heart can be seen, is believed. Remaining true to these ideals one can be assured that an authentic message is transmitted differing significantly from the replication of simply mind written pieces available on online media platforms.

Online media has its place in the world. It serves its purpose to a generation that needs convenience and information on the go. With regard to music it also allows for snippets of creative flow but is not suited to deal with pieces that allow for the imagination to travel and find its way to your core. Rolling Stone South Africa, as an independent entity, is held accountable for every word expressed in representing the interests of an entire diverse population. Because of their success thus far it is evident that even in a generation so obsessed with the online world and consuming less, they will go for a second helping of the printed Rolling Stone South Africa.


Erryn Gracey

Its 8 am and not one of us have any idea what we are about to get ourselves into, or the musical genius that is about to step into our presence. Now sitting in front of us is Miles Keylock South Africa’s only full time music journalist and now editor of Rolling Stone South Africa.

For about 40 years Rolling Stone has dominated the music journalistic world, being recognised for its heavy opinions, and world famous covers. This magazine has the power to make or break an artist and has a huge influence on what people listen to. So taking on a project such as Rolling Stone South Africa is a huge risk that only the best of the best would be willing to take on- one of those people is Miles Keylock.

I always thought that Rolling Stone International was a very commercialised magazine. So when I heard that it was coming to South Africa, I must admit, I wasn’t too thrilled. But now, cards on the table, I can eat my words. I have been pleasantly surprised by the great minds that have put together such an amazing magazine. I anxiously await every issue wondering what I can read next.  I can proudly say that I think Rolling Stone South Africa is definitely at an international standard.

He is not a simple guy; he is not a complex guy. He is a fan.  It’s the word that defines him and his life. This is what makes his best for the job, “I can’t unplug myself I am a fan” he honestly says. But being a fan doesn’t mean he doesn’t take his Job very seriously, Keylock is willing to bring all his energy and efforts to the foreground “I bring a 360 commitment to what this is”, because to him the future of Rolling Stone South Africa depends on Integrity. This is why he has put together the best team possible for the job that brings together some of South Africa’s best entertainment journalists, editors and design team who all bring their best abilities to make the magazine the crème de la crème

An often-commercialised rule is: when South Africa takes on an International Project it leads to disappointment and failure. But every rule has an exception. Rolling Stone South Africa is the exception. Each article is a new and interesting voice to listen to and try and comprehend. Each writer is unique and extremely talented- they’re ‘real’ as Keylock puts it. There is a real and very unique story behind each article published in the magazine, specifically the covers, which have often surprised South African readers.  The 4 South African artists (Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba, Die Andwoord and Zahara) , who have appeared as covers, have not been your typical commercialised Musician but artists who have a story to tell that is unique and their own.  Writing a piece of journalism or any form of expression is almost like writing a song; the audience can tell if it’s real or not. And this team is real, which allows the audience appreciate their art even more. Rolling Stone is the perfect place for these writers and editors to be ‘real’ as Keylock says, “It’s about being able to express themselves in the freest of ways.” For Keylock Writing is  all about what is real, about telling the truth and ‘getting out of the way’, its all about writing from your heart and ‘bleeding onto the page’.

The tribute to Miriam Makeba in the form of a praise poem is the perfect example of ‘bleeding onto the page’. Bongani Madondo is vulnerable in his writing, which is what gives him strength and allows him to capture the hearts of the readers. But his writing is a needle amoungst a million other needles- all perfectly polished, sharp and unique. There is no middle ground, the viewership will either ‘love it or hate it’ and according to Keylock that is when you know your article is worth reading.

Rolling Stone has always had a huge influence on what and who people chose to listen to, and this is how we can increase the viewership of South African artists out there, Its what we need as a nation because as we all know local is lekker. The artists that have appeared on the cover are ‘huge’ in terms of their icon status. Miriam Makeba and Hugh Masekela are 2 of South Africa’s most loved artists, as Keylock says Masekela is, “South Africa’s Rock Star”. But we can definitely expect a diverse range of artists to appear on the cover, and yes 90% of them are going to be South African, which is a huge deal and will get our artists a lot of air time.

The possibilities are endless for this Magazine and the future looks extremely bright. South Africans will find themselves listening to a wide range of talented South African artists who deserve the recognition. Their integrity has been established and they can be extremely proud of the work they have done. Keylock’s visions for the magazine is coming to play, and we can safely say he is a fantastic editor in chief that deserves the recognition he is getting, if not more.

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.