As Burma’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi signals for the first time that she will stand for president in the country’s 2015 elections, The Big Issue declares her “the world’s next Madiba” in a lead feature accompanied by a stunning graphic cover.
“The comparisons between Aung San Suu Kyi and our own Nelson Mandela are undeniable,” says editor Melany Bendix. “Both were imprisoned for lengthy periods for their political beliefs, both sacrificed their family life for their country and both became worldwide symbols of their nation’s respective struggles for freedom from tyrannical rule.”
The comparisons don’t end there, she adds. “As Madiba did with the National Party, Suu Kyi is advocating reconciliation and negotiation with Burma’s military junta. And, like Madiba, she is now poised to become president and lead her country to democracy.”
The meaty cover feature in the latest issue includes two interviews with Suu Kyi where she talks frankly about the challenges her country faces in transforming from a military dictatorship to a democracy and her own feelings on retribution against the regime that took away her freedom and her family.
The Big Issue then meets two local heroes. Andiswa Madikane — dubbed “Khayelitsha’s million dollar baby” — is a single mother who lives in poverty. Yet, through the Boxgirls International programme, the female boxer dedicates her time to training other young girls in the township to not only box and protect themselves, but to also use the punching bag as a means to vent emotions, develop confidence and uplift themselves.
Then there’s Sergio Carciotto of the Scalabrini Centre, who co-ordinates the refugee rights group’s Unite as One programme. Through the programme run at several Western Cape schools, Carciotto and his colleagues work to change young people’s perceptions of foreigners in the hope of stamping out xenophobia in the next generation of adults, leaders and lawmakers.
The news section of the magazine features an in-depth report on how the City of Cape Town aims to tackle “information poverty” via its pilot project bringing Wi-Fi to two townships — Mitchell’s Plain and Khayelitsha.
A follow-up report on the City’s controversial “work-for-food” programme then breaks the news that implementation of the feeding scheme will be delayed for a second time. The delay comes after what is perhaps the most significant evolution in the planning process thus far — that the pilot won’t contain the highly controversial employment component that once defined it.
As usual, the magazine carries a jam-packed art and entertainment section with art and theatre highlights for the coming month, as well as music and literature reviews.
Another highlight is an interview with Scarborough-based Marc Maingard, who is widely regarded as one of the top five luthiers (guitar-makers) in the world.
The Big Issue also visited the set of TV show Hectic Nine-9 and met all the presenters as the pioneering show for youth, created by youth celebrates its fifth year on air.
Read it all plus much more in the October edition — on sale from a vendor near you for just R20.
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