Johannesburg - Iconic Destiny and Destiny Man magazines are back - only this time they are not published by businesswoman Khanyi Dhlomo’s Ndalo Media, which closed in December 2018.
The Bar Group acquired the two titles from Ndalo Media, which is currently being liquidated after failing to meet its financial obligations to staff and suppliers.
The Bar Group chief executive, Legend Manqele, said print media is not entirely under threat but that a shift has to happen in order for the industry to remain sustainable.
“Print is not dying, the mismanagement of it is causing it to die. Data and access are still a huge issue for most Africans, leaving an untapped audience that may be denied the opportunity to access information which print provides through its longevity and ability to travel for longer.
“There is a decline because print is competing and it needs to be exclusive. It must have a clear direction of where it’s going. There has to be a purpose and a clear intention,” said Manqele.
Manqele said he approached Dhlomo about two years ago to offer her company digital services as a service provider.
The Bar Group, founded in 2014, consists of a number of companies, one of them being The BarLeader TV, which has produced some of South Africa’s most successful reality shows, including Being Bonang and Living the Dream with Somizi.
He said they explored a collaborative effort with Dhlomo from earlier this year, which led to his company moving offices to the same office park as Dhlomo after she retrenched staff.
“We started working and a month in, all communications didn’t go well with the investor and her (I was told). Because we were separate to Ndalo Media, I could pay my team and I carried on with my shows.
“Two weeks later she liquidated and it was a shock to all of us.
“I had seen the people who were affected.
“People who hadn’t been paid for three to six months were there.
“The loyalty ran deep. Some staff members started to feel upset and felt like I was doing something I maybe shouldn’t have been doing.
“The opportunity for me was the magazine,” explained Manqele.
Explaining what sets his media company apart from that of Dhlomo, Manqele said: “Companies need to be efficient and people need to do more than one job. I can direct, shoot, edit, write scripts and also pitch. The business has many platforms. A highly-energised environment for young people is highly important. All our efforts here as a team need to amount to something else, to growth, to other opportunities that we can all contribute to. The biggest risk is usually the biggest winner.”
After acquiring the two publications, one of the key business decisions he took was to publish them bi-monthly as opposed to being monthly magazines.
“I’ve gone bi-monthly because people like us, who consume this magazine, are consumed by a lot of other things as well. So I’d rather up the quality so that the pages survive and live for two months and you can consume it and not feel overwhelmed by it. I want to open up some conversations.”
The first issues of Destiny and Destiny Man magazines published by The Bar Group are the November/December issues and are currently on shelves.