Zinester: publishing the voiceless

by Stine Fantoft Berg in October 2015
Everything

It’s no secret that we love magazines, especially when they’re made by passionate people telling stories that matter to them. With so many brilliant new magazines arriving every day it’s easy to forget that not everyone has the means to tell their own stories, so we were very interested to hear about the work of Zinester.

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The non-profit organisation combines citizen journalism and DIY production techniques to co-create zines with people who are, in the words of Indian author and Man Booker prize winner Arundathi Roy, “the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard”. The aim is to bring amazing, authentic, unbiased stories direct to the eyes and ears of the world.

The Zinester team recently finished a month-long pilot project in Kibera, the Nairobi neighbourhood considered Africa’s biggest slum, during which they spent more than 40 hours teaching street children at the Wings of Life Children’s Centre how to make and publish their own magazines.

Besides giving the children the tools to create their own zines, they also taught entrepreneurship and advised on how to most effectively tell their stories. The spreads from their zine, Chocolate City, give a unique glimpse into the realities of the children’s day-to-day lives.

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Behind the initiative are Tom Grass, journalist and former researcher at Saatchi & Saatchi and Tribal DDB, and Australian photographer Harrison Thane, who both work for the Nike Foundation’s Girl Effect Initiative in Africa.

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A thousand copies of the Chocolate City zine were printed and they’re available through Zinester’s Kickstarter campaign, which aims to raise £3,000 to cover their next workshop, with the women of Umoja – a small community of Samburu women in northern Kenya who have banned men from their village in order to put a stop to sexual violence.

It’s great to see the simplicity and accessibility of print being put to such good use – if you want a copy of your own, head over to Zinester.org’s Kickstarter page and show your support.





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