The change is in your pocket

The Big Issue is a socially responsible non-profit organisation that enables willing unemployed and marginalised adults to take responsibility for their own lives through a developmental employment programme.
Issue #228
24 March


On the cover: Shedding light on the current electricity crisis – why are we in the dark, and what can we do to take the power back?

Jane Raphaely: South Africa’s undisputed media doyenne pens a poignant letter to her younger self.

Mother of cheetahs: One woman gets the opportunity to raise three cheetah cubs – and awareness for a species under siege.

Running for a big issue: How 24-year-old Brandon Finn ran 400km in 10 days, raising over R20 000 for The Big Issue.

Exclusive interview: Bestselling American author Jodi Picoult talks about her latest novel, her biggest issue and her proudest achievement.

Opinion column: Ben Trovato turns the table on email scammers.

What’s on in Cape Town? Festivals, shows, markets, gigs and other experiences of interest in February and March.

PLUS: A 4-page pullout guide to the South African Eco Film Festival


The dark side of South Africa

The electricity crisis has rendered South Africans powerless, in more ways than one. With the help of energy expert Chris Yelland, we assess the damage and find out what you – and the country – can do to become less dependent on coal and Eskom.

jane raphaely

Jane Raphaely: The Importance of undivided attention

She founded FAIRLADY in 1965, Cosmopolitan in 1984 and the only edition of O, The Oprah Magazine outside the US in 2002. She has won numerous awards for professional and humanitarian achievements, having played a pivotal role in magazine publishing and the empowerment of South African women. But does the mother of our media industry have any regrets?

mother of cheetahs

Mother of Cheetahs

Situated on the flat, scrubby plains near Ceres, Inverdoorn Game Reserve has a successful cheetah conservation programme. But when their first litter was under threat from predators, the staff had to make an important decision: leave three defenseless cubs at risk in the wild, or raise them safely by hand. We speak to the young conservationist who took them into her home.


Running for a big issue

Four hundred kilometres. Ten days. One man on a mission: to raise awareness of an epic event in South African history, as well as money for an organisation that he’s always admired.

jodi picoult

Being Jodi Picoult

Having just released her 24th novel – which is set in Botswana and said to be unlike anything she has written before – bestselling American author Jodi Picoult talks to us about elephants, empty nests and the enduring presence of the people we love.

dont miss

Don’t Miss

Eric’s story: Eric Kina may have only been at The Big Issue for about year, but he’s already a firm favourite with both customers and fellow vendors. “It’s great to be chosen as Vendor of the Month,” he says, “because I will get to see myself and my story in the magazine. I will feel like a celebrity.”

Mphilisi’s story: Mphilisi Bennet Kamsela has always struggled to hold down a permanent job. Having sold The Big Issue on and off for seven years, he’s been waiting for a chance to change his life for the better. And now that he’s completed a forklift-driving course, his patience is finally paying off.

Phumelele’s story: Phumelele Maake has seen many changes at The Big Issue, having sold the magazine on and off for 17 years. We find out why this month’s Vendor to Visit needs all the support he can get.