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The Big Issue

Back to the Big Issue.I was supposed to come back to it some two weeks before.Going back on my words once again.But here is a late glance at the magazine.

And I’d like to start by congratulating the team for launching such a wonderful magazine.I find it exciting and creative.

The explantion on the Welcome note enlightens on what the brand is all about.

          ‘We are a magazine sold on the streets of

           Addis Ababa by homelss and socially

           excluded people.The basic concept is that

           vendors buy the magazine for a small

           fraction of the cover price ,then keep the 

           profit they sell it on to the public.’

The magazine contains 36 pages and contents like news up from the streets, a glance at low life with stories and pictures of the tunnel children,the Abyssinia Film Award, profile, interview with an American-based Ethiopian writer and extracts from his book and list of eight Ethiopian ‘greatest’ heroes.

It is nice to know that it is a thematic magazine which means there is always an issue to be explored and some surprise lurking around the corner.

The main theme for Issue One happened to be heroes.And to use the editor’s words, ‘there is a hero peeking out of practically every page.’

‘The Tunnel Children’, a feature story by Mesay Birhanu and Will Connors, the latter a blogger of Things We Should Have Written Down, lays down a challenge to all readers to get vision of the desperate plight of thousands of children.

Children eking out an existence on rubbish dumps, tunnnel and sewers and drainage holes.The article brings us into world that most of us  never see, the children ‘navigating their way throughthe crwods, unnoticed.’

It is not all a tale of explotation, abuse and shameful neglect but also of intellegence.

‘Over tea in a small cafe, Dawit, 12 a boy with a far keener brain than most kids his age ,gave us lessons in civics, math, and linguistics.He is eager to get back into school, and was showing off all that he still remebered.’

The Big Issue’s big issue raises an admittedly- difficult question ,’Who is the greatest?’, and eight writers ‘came up with two runners, three emperors, a novelist, a playwright and a millitary leader.’

Dr. Richard Pankurst is one of the writers who voted for Ras Alula, ‘who would have been the choice of his mother, the suffrage Sylvia Pankhurst’.

Blogger Andrew Heavens of Meskel Square  voted for Emperor Tewdros,Wegesha of the webblog Aquamada for Tsegaye Gebre-Medhin, Ersasu of the webblog Carpe Diem for Bealu Girma, Richard Nerukar for Haile Gebreselaasie. 

It is a nice thing to  remember heroes of the past and look around at the heroes of the present.But the question could be a little tricky. Bealu Girma is a great wrtier but is he greater than Haddis Alemayehu?

Well, the editors are apparently  aware of this  and even asked readers to vote their heroes, which might get published in the next issue.So vote for one.Is it late now?

Well done and keep it up.

(The Big Issue is printed by United Printers and the price is 3 Birr and 2 Birr goes to the vendor).

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Categories: Magazines
  1. yaya
    November 22, 2006 at 8:02 am

    Good start.Hope to see more of them in the future.

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