01 Izwi - the Voice
Cover of Wurm 11, April 1969
Wurm (Worm) was published from June 1966 to April 1969. The founding editor was De Waal Venter, an Afrikaans writer and poet, the Pretoria-based poets: Phil du Plessis and Marié Blomerus took over the editorial function from 1967.
"Death of a little magazine" by Stephen Gray was published in the journal Contrast Vol. 11 No. 2 April 1977:
"Izwi – or to give it its full name,
Izwi/Stem/Voice – first came out on October 1, 1971. That was because Phil du Plessis, having put the last few issues of the Pretoria-based
Wurm to bed, killing it with an eleventh number that paid homage to the Sestigers1 as their decade ran out (Wurm 11 included such gestures as a French letter stapled onto a page for André P. Brink), moved to the mines of Johannesburg and thanks to his capacious house and open Sunday meals, extravagant patronage and skill with a Gestetner2,
Izwi was to appear every two months non-stop for 20 numbers until December 1, 1974, when, with 150 writers and poets, and 50 artists behind it,
Izwi, too, bit the dust, like many of its contributors: banned, jailed, exiled, suicided, buried."
"It began mainly because over dinner with Lola Watter someone said that Herman Charles Bosman had run various fly-by-night literary mags, and someone said Stephen Black had always run
The Sjambok in Johannesburg, and someone else said that Nat Nakasa's kind of
The Classic was languishing, and someone else said there must be a place where Johannesburg writers can do something, not post to
Contrast, or post to
Bolt, and that the word Izwe (meaning voice) could be typographically smartened into
Izwi: it would be 40 pages long with 4 prelims, be frequent, be hand-made, duck publicity (and even the word "samizdat"3 was gleefully bandied), and it wouldn't go for smart, undying literary quality – live, younger writers could have their say, and get, through it, to the only newspaper that ever paid some interest,
Rapport. Phil du Plessis and I were already poetry editors of
New Nation, and there were poems that staid monthly could not countenance."
2 The Gestetner was a make of Roneo machine or Roneograph, which was a genericized trademark for mimeograph machines, the name
being a contraction of Rotary Neostyle.