Bona Continues To Make Bold Choices and I love it!

Bona Magazine is doing something that, in my opinion, puts the magazine at the top of the list for relevance and potential for sustainability in the times of magazines circulation sales decline.

When I was growing up back in a village in North West, magazines and books were my beacon of hope for a better life. Reading magazines opened this whole new world of inspiration and offered an escape from my reality of living in a four roomed house with my family of seven. I used to save up money to buy Drum, TV Talk (when it stopped being free) and People magazine. 

Back then Drum used to be a magazine that put people on its covers just as they are at the precipitous of a career peak or people who had achieved some level of success. It was aspirational, and for a black kid like myself it was a platform I looked to to gauge an artist's validation as a power player in the entertainment industry. Of course all that is gone now from Drum. 

With Drum having taken a different turn, there has always been a vacuum in the industry for a magazine that will fill that aspirational gap for celebrity culture. True Love is bit too glossy to be considered that. True Love cover stars are people who have made it ... or perceived to be. We needed a magazine that will not only look at people who are covered everywhere. 

Bona magazine may have just become that magazine. Whenever I am involved in a conversation about #OpenUpTheIndustry, I am at pains to stress that the industry does not need to be opened — it already is. There are over 300 faces that you see on your tv screens every week. There are plenty more who work in radio and digital spaces. It is not that we need new faces, it is that our entertainment media only focuses on the success and careers of 5 girls and Maps Maponyane... (No shade to Maps, I love him, but you get the point).

I have always asked; why don't we have actors from shows like Scandal on etv with over 4 million viewers getting any covers or media interviews. Why are presenters on Vuzu considered celebrities when they are watched by way less people than any actor on etv or SABC? Why do they deserve the attention than all these people who have a wider audience? 

Well, I have been observing Bona Magazine, and I am happy to say I see it as turning the tide. For the past year and half they have been putting people on their covers who would not get that chance anywhere else. 

Their latest cover is another step in that awesome direction and I love it! Truth be told, I didn't recognise the other lady but I looked her up and was like; oh that's the girl from Scandal. Now I know her name is Thuso Mbedu. And that's the whole point. The argument that you cant put a random actress on the cover because people wont know her, is nonsense. Bonang, Boity, Pearl and Lerato were not born known to the masses, the media introduced them to the masses.

We also know that these 'It girls" don't necessarily sell. Grazia and Marie Claire had Bonang on their covers last year and both their sales declined in that circulation quarter. Marie Claire sales dropped to 20 703 from 30 666 when comparing figures with the same figures for that time the year before. Same for Grazia in the corresponding time, the Bonang cover didn't help as Grazia sales fell to 14 813 from 21 184. I mention Bonang covers because she is the biggest star in SA, is the most followed celebrity and supposedly has the biggest fan base.

All I am trying to prove here is that there is plenty of room to expand the scope of media coverage and attention. Taking such a step makes business sense and would be a good investment in having a wide pool of talent and opening up new avenues for content for these magazine companies.

Congratulations to Bona for continuing to make these bold choices at a time when everyone is just trying to play it safe. I genuinely hope they get rewarded for this effort so they can continue to take a chance on 'unknowns'.

Please go out there and buy this issue on stands now!!

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