Focused on the discovery of unorthodox creative talent, ADA crafted an interdisciplinary, pluralistic form of journalism that remains a testimony to transformation for the still young democracy of South Africa today.

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.

There are too many significant moments in the magazine’s history to mention but some highlights include #1, which introduced Manfred Zylla; #7, which featured Helen Sebidi; #8, which featured Fook island ‘citizen’ Norman Catherine on the cover; #9, which profiled George Pemba; #11, which included an early Bitterkomix comic-strip titled “Suidoos” by Conrad Botes; #13, which had a photomontage of president Nelson Mandela by Lien Botha and an interview by Pieter-Dirk Uys with Madiba — the list goes on. The final issue, #14, published in 1996, featured contemporary legends David Goldblatt, Steven Cohen, William Kentridge, and Penny Siopis, to name a few.

Perhaps the most-popular issues were the cultural “A to Z” profiles, which focused on the three largest cities in SA — Cape Town (#11), Durban (#12), and Johannesburg (#14) — which gradually developed a quasi-avant-garde narrative surrounding each scene. Based on the creative energy and cultural verve of the time, perhaps there’s a lesson to be learned from ADA’s prolific formula: intentionally producing culture as opposed to blindly consuming it.

A quasi-avant-garde, socio-cultural, historico-urban documentation of the events that happened between the late '80s and the first democratic elections in South Africa in 1994.

ADA no.1

Year: 1986
Pages: 48
Print run: N/A
Size: A3
Contributors: Jennifer Sorrell, Manfred Zylla.
Other details: Very first issue of ADA, poster by Manfred Zylla inside. Full-colour printing, large format, rare.

ADA no.2

Year: 1986
Pages: 48
Print run: N/A
Size: A3
Contributors: Jennifer Sorrell, David Robbins, Gavin Younge, Aancio (Poncho) Guedes, Patricia Davidson, Timothy Ostler, Dr Andree-Jeanne Tötemeyer, Nigel Penn, Dr Martin Hall, Théo Schneider, Ronnie Levitan, Rodney Constantine, Stanley Saitowitz.
Other details: Cover art by Jackson Hlungwane. Full-colour printing, large format. Features Jackson Hlungwane and Tito Zungu. Very rare.

ADA no.3

Year: 1987
Pages: 48
Print run: N/A
Size: A3
Contributors: Jennifer Sorrell, Nigel Penn, Ronnie Levitan, Timothy Ostler, Gavin Younge, Neville Dubow, Bill Nasson, Suzette Munnik, John Parkington, Royden Yates, Julian Cooke, Jane Taylor, David Bunn, Paul Brislin, Christo Doherty, Stephan Antoni Okreglicki.
Other details: Full-colour printing, large format. Rare.

ADA no.4

Year: 1987
Pages: 48
Print run: N/A
Size: A3
Contributors: Jennifer Sorrell, Nigel Penn, Ronnie Levitan, Imke Behrens, Nana Wagner, Alan Crump, Amanda Jephson, Nicolaas Vergunst, Andrew B. Smith, Marilyn MArtin, Patrick Cullinun, Paul la Hausse, Ivor Powell, Thomas Knemeyer, David Robbins, Elsa Miles, Patricia Davidson.
Other details: Full-colour printing, large format, rare. Features William Kentridge and John Muafangejo.

ADA no.5

Year: 1988
Pages: 48
Print run: N/A
Size: A3
Contributors: Jennifer Sorrell, Nigel Penn, Ronnie Levitan, Rob Amato, Don Maclennen, Ben Maclennen, Jackie Davies, Melanie Hillebrand, Rosemary Lapping, Trish Handley, Menán du Plessis, Eva Hunter, Amanda Jephson, Patty Hardy, Christine Barsby, Chris du Plessis, Carol Brown.
Other details: Full-colour, large format, rare.

ADA no.6

Year: 1988
Pages: 48
Print run: NA
Size: A3
Contributors: Jennifer Sorrell, Nigel Penn, Ronnie Levitan, Steven Sack, Henry Symonds, Gayle Shifrin, Nicolaas Vergunst, Amanda Jephson, Carol Brown, Candy Malherbe, Christine Glover, Steven Watson, Gerard Hagg, Phill du Plessis, Emile Maurice, Don Mattera.
Other details: Full-colour, large format, rare. Features the seminal text by Steven Sack, titled "The Negected Tradition".

ADA no.7

Year: 1990
Pages: 48
Print run: N/A
Size: A3
Contributors: Jennifer Sorrell, Joanne Harvey, Gayle Smith, Ronnie Levitan, David Robbins, Christopher Saunders, Howard Phillips, Cynthia Best, Penny Swift, Rose Korber, Adri Shutz, Luca Menato, Rob Amato, Ben Maclennen, Carol Brown, Johan Liebenberg, Lynne Stuart, Marion Arnold, Nigel Penn, Pieter Martin Duys.
Other details: Full-colour printing, large format, rare.

ADA no.8

Year: 1991
Pages: 48
Print run: N/A
Size: A3
Contributors: Jennifer Sorrel ,Nigel Penn, Ronnie Levitan, Lindy de Waal, Joanne Harvey, Steven Watson, Shamil Jeppie, Damon Galgut, Michael Morris, Joyce Ozinski, Andries Olifphant, Sandra Kriel, Jackie Davies, Hayden Ellis, Dorothy Driver, Helen Bradford, Sandra Dodson, Neville Dubow, Stanley Herman, Renée Siegel.
Other details: Full-colour printing, large format, rare. Features David Goldblatt, Jo Ractliffe, and Norman Catherine (cover).

ADA no.9

Year: 1991
Pages: 48
Print run: N/A
Size: A3
Contributors: Jennifer Sorrell, Lindy de Waal, Anja Kussler, Nigel Penn, Ronnie Levitan, Christo Doherty, Steven Sack, Carol Brown, Sandra Kriel, Haydn Ellis, Russell Travers, Eve Bertellsen, Steven Gray, Amanda Jephson, Mark Sanders, Anja Kussler, Stephanie Volpe, Susan Ross, David Barkham, Val Papenfus, Lien Botha, Peter Sullivan, Gayle Shriffrin.
Other details: full-colour printing, large format, rare. Features George Pemba.

ADA no.10 – Special Edition Johannesburg

Year: 1992
Pages: 122
Print run: N/A
Size: A3
Contributors: Jennifer Sorrell, Kath Fotheringham, Ted Botha, Samantha Alison, Kathy Abdulaziz, David Goldblatt, Darryl Accone, Barbara Buntman, Monty Bogatsu, Johnathan Dorfman, Hazel Friedman, Stephen Gray, Mark Irvine, Maureen Isaacson, Rose Korber, Anthony Lange, Louise Meintjies, Julia Meintjies, Nigel Penn, Adrienne Sichel, Melinda Silverman, Larry Scully, Renée Segal, Russel Travers.
Other details: Full-colour printing, large format, rare. Special edition Johannesburg issue.

ADA no.11 – Cape Town A to Z

Year: 1993
Pages: 122
Print run: N/A
Size: A3
Contributors: Jennifer Sorrell, Kath Fotheringham, Petra Mason, Jill Bester, Tony Karon, Adele Baleta, Conrad Botes, Ted Botha, Vivian Bickford-Smith, Jeremy Dawson, Sandile Dikeni, Haydn Ellis, Pnina Fenster, Steve Gordon, Rob Meintjies, Justin Pearce, Nigel Penn, Mteto Mzongwana, Ivor Prinsloo, Rex Quick, Karen Rutter, Amy Waldman, Sudé Walters, Stephen Watson, Gavin Younge.
Other details: Full-colour printing, large format, rare. Special edition Cape Town issue.

ADA no.12 – Durban

Year: 1994
Pages: 122
Print run: N/A
Size: A3
Contributors: Jennife Sorrell, Kath Fotheringham, Emma Lees, Jennifer Glavovic, David Chambers, Richard Benjamin, Ronnie Levitan, Alex Bozas, Authur Bozas, Sally Adams, Rob Amato, Carol Brown, Fiona Bull, Chris Chapman, Dan Cook, Patrick Compton, Alleyn Diesel, Patrick Maxwell, Nicolette du Plessis, Iain Edwards, Rodney Harper, R.W. Johnson, Fred Khumalo, Marianne Meijer, Sandile Ngidi, Themba Nyathikazi, Robert Papini, Debbie Reynolds, Gillian Schütte, Humphrey Tyler, Laurianne Ulyate, Russel Wasserfal.
Other details: Full-colour printing, large format, rare. Special edition Durban issue.

ADA no.13 – State of the Art

Year: 1994
Pages: 122
Print run: N/A
Size: A3
Contributors: Jennifer Sorrell, Blue Milton, Nigel Penn, David Chambers, Jane Parry, Ronnie Levitan, Lien Botha, Ted Botha, Piet de Beer, Patricia Handley, Stephen Garret, Lucinda Jolly, David Krut, Melvin Minnaar, Jabu Mzaliya, Bill Nasson, Lari Rosenberg, Lynne Stuart, Pam Sykes.
Other details: Full-colour printing, large format, rare.

ADA no.14 – Johannesburg Cultural A to Z

Year: 1995
Pages: 122
Print run: N/A
Size: A3
Contributors: Jennife Sorrell, Blue Milton, Julia Fraser, Jane Parry, Ronnie Levitan, Gwen Ansell, Monty Bogatsu, Clive Chipkin, Hazel Friedman, Stephen Gray, Angela Impey, Mark Irvine, Fiona Lloyd, Louise Meintjies, Justin Pearce, Nigel Penn, Adrienne Sichel, Judith Watt.
Other details: Full-colour printing, large format, rare. Second special edition Johannesburg issue.

ADA – Destination Cape Town

Year: 2000
Pages: 102
Print run: N/A
Size: A3
Contributors: Jennife Sorrell, Tracey Murinik, Lynne Stuart, Karen Stuart, Jill Sheard, Leanne Dickerson, Mike Nicol, Vera von Leries, Nigel Penn, Rex Quick, Sheryl Ozinsky, Vivian Bickford-Smith, Rheina Epstein, Evan Milton, Ronnie Levitan, Paul Stuart, Robert Ross, Alex Bozas, Mujahid Safodien, Alain Proust, Jeremy Jowell, Brent Overmeyer, Tanya Cohen.
Other details: Full-colour printing, large format, rare.

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