The scarcity of independent publications with a cultural focus in South Africa underscores the importance of supporting existing ones and nurturing the creation of new ones. Independent publications serve as crucial cultural artifacts, embodying a society’s self-representation and cultural awareness. They have the power to shape the zeitgeist and develop a shared language, sometimes even elevating obscure narratives into mainstream consciousness and merging with popular culture.
A cultural ebb and flow exists in which the mainstream draws inspiration from the underground, while the underground loses its drive without something to resist or rebel against. This dynamic leads to the growth and cohesion of society. It could be argued that this dualism is one of the primary drivers of culture in any given geography. The rubric forming the foundation of this dualism includes four key elements: art, design, craft, and discourse. Any publication that encompasses more than one of these elements can be considered for inclusion in the collection.
The Colophon Collection aims to preserve and showcase important art and design publications in an effort to promote support for resistance, counterculture, underground, and independent editorial design. It serves as a physical and digital record of South Africa’s historic output. The collection contains complete or near-complete issues of various publications, including Bitterkomix, iJusi, Sheet, Stet, ADA, The Bloody Horse, Heresy, MK Bruce Lee, and Jungle Jim, among others. All featured publications on this site are original physical copies from the archive.
The Colophon Collection is an ongoing and continuously expanding resource, with the goal of becoming a comprehensive online repository for all significant publications that align with the scope and focus of its physical collection. New additions to the archive are constantly welcome and incorporated.
The publications featured here represent only a small portion of the extensive archive within the Colophon Collection, which houses thousands of unique South African publications. As the collection continues to be documented and new acquisitions are added, this selection will expand.
The Colophon Collection also includes a number of incomplete or missing volumes from publications such as Izwi, Ophir, Wurm, Pax, Lantern, Speak, Staffrider, Purple Renoster, Ensovoort, Donga, Prima, Contrast, The Classic, Spado, Taaldoos, New Coin and others. If you have any information, leads, suggestions, contributions, or offers regarding these publications or any others, please feel free to contact Colophon here.
To keep growing and help fund the collection, Colophon has a shop that makes any excess items from the archive available to purchase. All profits made from this shop are used to support the collection.