.للقراءة باللغة العربية انقروا هنا
This month two years ago, we pressed the button that launched www.sekkamag.com, the magazine you have come to know. For those of you who have been there since day one, you have watched us evolve and grow in the past couple of years. We’d like to start this letter off by thanking you for your support and loyalty through it all. We couldn’t have reached where we have reached without you. And for those of you who joined us post October 2017, particularly our Arab content readers after the launch of Sekka in Arabic in January of this year, it’s a pleasure to have you as a reader, and to be able to be a part of your lives everyday.
Since the beginning, Sekka has been a predominantly youth effort. When the idea of Sekka first knocked on our door at the end of 2016, we were both in our 20s. The magazine was born out of the need to have more publications that are narrated by the people of the Gulf region because we strongly believed and still believe that if we don’t tell our region’s stories, someone else will, and it won’t be the same.
We searched the region high and wide for budding, rising, and established writers, illustrators, artists, photographers, and videographers to contribute to what was then just a publication in the making. Our first year was challenging from that aspect. Introducing a new a publication, and building readership is not a piece of cake, especially in an age where many print magazines are dying, and where we are constantly bombarded by digital content. Some have told us that we were wasting our time. We were passionate about our idea though, and as challenging as it was, we are grateful to where we reached now. We are grateful to have readers from across the world, in countries as far away as Australia. We are grateful to those who aspire to be part of our contributing team, and growing story. Many of the storytellers you see on Sekka made their debut in our publication. We need more journalists who are from this region. This is why our team invests a lot of time in searching for raw talents, and assists them in sharing their work with the world and to consider journalism as a field they could contribute to.
During the past two years, we travelled through the region, and the rest of the world, to uncover destinations and travel stories that interest our readers, the majority of whom are youth. We met interesting personalities, encountered remarkable stories, and shared the creative works of emerging talents from the region. We appreciate the creative industry of the region, and the support that budding creative writers need. This is why we’ve dedicated a space in Sekka just to share and promote their work. We are also extremely proud that the majority of the artworks you see on Sekka were made by young women who are from and live in our region.
Here in the Gulf, and the wider MENA region, we are living in the age of youth. Our youth are hardworking, ambitious, and have a lot to offer. They also want to express themselves and be heard. That is why our second anniversary issue is dedicated to them. It is a space for them to tell us how it feels to be a young person in the Arab Gulf States today, its joys and its challenges, and to share with us topics that they believe are worthy of more discussion in society.
In this issue, we highlight noteworthy and diverse young Khaleejis who have carved their own paths such as Omar Farooq, a popular Bahraini YouTuber who encourages the youth to try more things and to get out of their comfort zone through his videos, and Abdulrahman Abumalih, the Saudi founder and CEO of Riyadh-based media company Thaminyah, whose growing Arabic podcast “Fnjan” is taking the Arab world by a storm.
Our cover for this issue is illustrated by Hala Al Abbasi, a rising, young Bahraini illustrator whom we have had the pleasure of collaborating with in previous issues of Sekka. She is one of a number of young illustrators in the region whom we have commissioned to illustrate for this issue.
It’s been two years, but it’s only the beginning. We have many big plans but we are confident that with your support, achieving them wouldn’t be a big challenge.
Manar and Sharifah Alhinai