Jacana Media – South Africa’s only major independent and owner-managed book publisher – needs your help!

Jacana Media has launched a funding appeal called #PressPrint:


Please help Jacana Media to #PressPrint and stay alive

Over the past 18 (yes, 18!) years, we have provided the cutting edge of critical, adventurous and independent South African literature.

Having secured, through a buy-out, a future for the company in August last year, we are now the only major South African publishing house that is independent and owner-managed. But thanks to the pandemic, we are facing a potentially ruinous few months with no income at all.

Even though we have slowly started trading again we only get paid for these sales at least two months after they have happened.

We need your support to keep the firm alive, to pay fair salaries, to keep publishing, and to continue to pay our printers and suppliers.

This year we plan to publish another 50 titles that will disturb, provoke, stimulate and entertain. Our children’s books come in all colours and languages. Our natural history titles are a source of reference and inspiration for nature lovers. Our non-fiction titles investigate, uncover and frequently change the way we see the past and imagine the future. Our fiction tells the truth about South Africa.

The Jacana Literary Foundation (JLF), a not-for-profit organisation, runs literary competitions: the Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award for best poetry in all languages; the Dinaane Debut Fiction Award; and the Gerald Kraak Award and Anthology, a collection of exceptional works which explore, interrogate and celebrate the topics of gender, sexuality and human rights. We were the original publishers of The Caine Prize for African Writing.

Through the JLF and our publishing, we give voice to the unusual, the brilliant, the queer and the brave. We’re independent of spirit and by inclination. We have claimed the freedom to publish what we like and to never ever have to shut up, so that we can continue giving you, the readers, books that are urgent, necessary, shape-shifting and mind-expanding.

But now we need your help. We have a responsibility to keep on publishing, but we face an alarming few months without any income. Our applications for government funding have come to naught.

By donating an amount of R30 per month for a year you can help us #PressPrint, and keep the books flowing. If you would prefer and feel able to donate a once-off amount that would be lifesaving.

We’d like to acknowledge your support, and every one of your names, should you wish, will be added to a list of donors printed at the back of each book we publish during the next year.

Ten per cent of all contributions will be donated, in books, to community libraries.

Please help us to keep going and to keep publishing!

We thank the following individuals and organisations for their support for our appeal:

‘Over many years, Jacana was one of the few publishers willing to work with myself and with PRAESA on the development of multilingual children’s literature in South Africa. They have always pioneered creating high quality storybooks for children (and adults to share) in African languages as well as English. We need them to continue enriching the literary landscape to support positive and successful literacy trajectories for all children.’ – Carole Bloch, PRAESA

‘Thanks to Jacana’s livewire publications, from Paris one can hear the pulse of South Africa beating.’ – Denis Hirson, author of I Remember King Kong (The Boxer)

‘Books are what we need. To tell those who will come after – that today we are here – and that this is our life. Those who craft the road for their delivery must be acknowledged, and in time likes these, saved. So yes, Jacana Media must be saved.’ – Denzil Taylor, award-winning journalist

‘Congratulations to Jacana on 18 successful years as an independent, owner-managed publishing house. Covid-19 has presented most businesses with unprecedented challenges and whilst we have only been able to make a very modest contribution of R1000, please accept it as a small token of our faith in you and our wish for your continued success.’ – Doreen Morris, producer, Blue Zone Media

‘Jacana has been an insistent voice of solidarity in a still-barren landscape for queer African and South African readers and writers. Its proud support of Gerald Kraak and other queer and trans writers has promoted literary exposition of the subtleties and anguishes and joys of our lives. It must and will continue doing so.’ – Edwin Cameron, former Constitutional Court Judge

‘Around the world the bookshop is back. Support books that go into these places of wonder. Support #PressPrint by Jacana.’ – Ferial Haffajee, associate editor at Daily Maverick

‘Jacana and its publications have been major players in the vibrancy of South African intellectual life. Jacana is a national treasure. Everyone committed to a rich public sphere must work to keep it going.’ – Isabel Hofmeyr, Global Distinguished Professor, NYU and Professor of African Literature, Wits University

‘We are human because of the stories we share. We understand life, the world, time, each other, through the stories we tell. And an institution like Jacana is fundamental to allowing us to access the stories of who we are. They need our support.’ – Khadija Patel, journalist and former editor-in-chief of Mail & Guardian

‘The South African literary landscape wouldn’t be the same without Jacana Media, run by incredible women who pour their lives into the work they do and publish some of our most memorable South African books. Help Jacana Media keep the good books flowing by donating as little as R30/month.’ – Kopano Matlwa, author of Coconut

‘Of course, I wholeheartedly endorse Jacana as an essential publisher in our country. Jacana has been unflinching in its support for literature and nurturing of new and ground-breaking literary talent.’ – Mandla Langa, author of The Lost Colours of the Chameleon

‘I endorse this funding call. Jacana is the cutting edge of South African publishing, and has produced so many of my favourite South African books. It makes this country’s intellectual life so much richer and its political debate so much sharper; we can’t afford to lose it.’ – Mark Gevisser, journalist and author of The Pink Line

‘Independent publishers play an important role in society and in making the world a better place. This pandemic has affected indie publishers in unforeseeable ways. Now is the time more than ever – amid great social, political, and economic uncertainty – for book lovers to support Indie publishers like Jacana. Not only do the folks at Jacana publish great books with love, devotion, and passion, but they are dedicated to nurturing young talent and publishing important works by unheard voices that you will not find anywhere else.’ – Michel Moushabeck, publisher at Interlink Publishing

‘Jacana Media has been an exceptional publishing partner to advance equality and freedom for homosexual and bisexual women and men, and transgender and intersex people in Africa. We cannot afford to lose such an extraordinary ally in our struggle. Please support this appeal.’ – Neville Gabriel, Chief Executive Officer, the Other Foundation

‘Without fail, every year the Jacana catalogue is packed with titles I either wish I had written or can’t wait to read.’ – Rehana Rossouw, author of What Will People Say and New Times

‘Help keep the Jacana Squad in business and on the ball. If dropped or lost, our literary heritage takes a beating!’ – Ronnie Kasrils, author of Catching Tadpoles and political activist

‘Jacana is an essential service. The health of our imagination depends on it.’ – Sarah Nuttall, Director, Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research, Wits University

‘Jacana is one of the most important independent publishers in South Africa, and has a notable record of bringing new voices and fresh perspectives into scholarly and public debates. Losing this publishing house with greatly diminish our intellectual space.’ – Shireen Hassim, political scientist and historian, Carleton University and Wits University

‘It is a very challenging time. Jacana Media remains a very vital stakeholder in curbing the huge reading problem that South African children face and it would be very unfortunate if they cease to exist.’ – Sunitha Amod, Biblionef South Africa

‘Jacana is so much a part of the heart and soul of our intellectual imaginaries, if it perishes we die. Save our souls.’ – Tawana Kupe, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Pretoria

‘Jacana is exactly the type of publishing house South Africa (and the world) needs. Independent, unconstrained and genuinely influential. Please do what you can to keep them alive!’ – Tim Richman, publisher, Burnet Media

Categories Africa Non-fiction South Africa

Tags Jacana Media

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