#JesuisSaxAppeal: Has the RAG mag crossed the line again?


It is that time of the year again, when students at the University of Cape Town (UCT) get heavily drunk and take to the streets of Cape Town to sell SAX Appeal Magazine. This age-old tradition is part of UCT RAG’s fundraising – selling the satirical magazine to as many people as possible overnight and in the wee hours of the morning to raise money for Shawco, a health and welfare charity organisation run by students.

This year, the festivities took place at Mzoli’s – a popular bar in Gugulethu that is frequented by students during UCT’s orientation week. After a night of partying, students took to the street to sell this year’s magazine, themed “50 Shades of Sax”, a reference to erotic romance novel-turned-film 5o Shades of Grey. The cover depicts a white man, a Mr Grey lookalike, holding a whip while overlooking the Cape Town townships.



Although the overall reaction to the cover is one of pride and approval, not everyone was sold on this “satirical” cover.

This is not the magazine’s first controversial or offensive cover. In 2009, there was an uproar about cartoons featured in the magazine that were deemed blasphemous towards Christianity, including a cartoon of a woman with her legs lifted up shouting “Pervert!”, with the caption “God sees everything”.

It’s strange that a magazine that raises funds for Shawco, an organisation that operates predominantly in townships, would use such an image on its cover.

In recent months UCT has also come under fire for the lack of transformation within the institution and then this happens.

What do you make of the Sax Appeal magazine cover? Let us know in the comments section below!

– Images via @UCTRadio and @DuncanPatrick98 on Twitter


  1. Sax has done it again, famous for stirring the pot and getting the hairs up on people’s backs! I think in true brilliance this cover and contents is everything that sax stands for and uct should be proud to back the 2015 edition. The magazine is aimed at making people think for themselves to formulate their own opinion, to bring taboo topics to the for front of conversation. I think this article clearly underestimates the value (not to mention monetary value given back to underprivileged areas around cape town) of sax appeal. It is a tool promoting progressive thinking! The comments made above seem to be spoken from a place of ego and attention seeking. If you feel so strongly about the cover choose not to buy it! Choose not to read it! But make an active choice to commit to your own opinion. Instead of a pathetically reducing something that is good and harmless to yet another “race” debate, that line of argument is boring and apathetic, it is old news. Get over it ! Turn over the front cover to the first page where you will find a condom attached to it! Talk about that rather!

    On behalf of the SAX Appeal Editorial Team, we regret the hurt caused by this year’s cover photo.
    We understand the concern about what is perceived by some as racist or patronizing undertones of the image; but we would like to state unequivocally that our intention was not to make light of racism or to humiliate its victims.
    Our intention was to open up discussion about the problematic power relations in South Africa. The legacy of apartheid has left a tragic divide between rich and poor, black and white, rural and urban – a divide that is still perpetuated daily. Just as the themes of 50 Shades of Grey allude to power dynamics in sex, our hope with 50 Shades of SAX was to discuss the other power dynamics that still pervade our society. Even though the privileged no longer oppress the underprivileged daily with batons or whips, we hoped that the cover image would inspire discussion about the secretive, underhand ways in which the privileged still get their way. These issues, including those within the magazine, such as the discussion around homophobia in Islam, the psychiatric profile of God and of golf being representational of white privilege, were included in the magazine to bring about such discussion.
    In this way, SAX 2015 has taken a very different turn compared to previous editions. Sensitive topics were not written about to ridicule the marginalized or disadvantaged but to induce meaningful discussion about these topics. These are issues that we did not think we could avoid discussing, but if we missed the mark in our attempt at discussion, we regret the effect that this has caused.
    We hope that this perspective might add to the debate that has been sparked on social media and that it might point it in a direction that is critical and constructive around issues of race and socioeconomics


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