Edited by art critic, Jennifer Sorrell, ADA was a South African cultural magazine first published in 1986 during the height of the apartheid era. Its name is an abbreviation for “Architecture, Design, Art”, which also acted as the magazine’s tagline and effectively defined the focus of the publication. Most issues were printed using a large A3 format, with a design approach typical of the late ’80s zeitgeist in South Africa concurrent to the resistance movements fighting against apartheid, just before independence and the rise of democracy. As such, the magazine delivered an alternative type of journalism that was metropolitan and interdisciplinary, true to the spirit of resistance and transformation in SA at the time, and envisioned a prospective post-apartheid cultural identity.
Fourteen issues were sporadically published between 1986 and 1996. Although it could be argued that architecture is design within the scope of the magazine, art was seen to be a looser term comprising various art forms, including the fine arts, music, literature, dance, theatre, and many more. ADA discovered and supported now-important local talents, all historical contributors to SA culture, many of whom have themselves become cultural establishments.