x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Majid Magazine celebrates 35 years

The best is yet to come for the beloved children's publication, says the editor-in-chief.

Mr Majid is one of the magazine's beloved characters. Courtesy Majid Magazine
Mr Majid is one of the magazine's beloved characters. Courtesy Majid Magazine

The Abu Dhabi-based magazine Majid is published by Abu Dhabi Media, which also owns The National. Majid's editor-in-chief, Fatima Seif, tells us more.

Congratulations on the anniversary. I can imagine there is a very jovial mood in the office.

We have this philosophy here at the magazine where we don't celebrate the end of a particular year. We celebrate its beginning because, like the children that we write for, we are forward-looking. We are very excited at the achievement because many of the writers - and me included - grew up with this magazine. It means a lot to us.

When was the first time you encountered the magazine?

I was in school when I first saw the magazine. I remember my teacher used to give it to us for free. I remember being amazed that such a magazine could be produced in the UAE at the time. It had something for everyone and you would read it at bits at a time so it would last the whole week.

Before long, my schoolmates and I were obsessed. Every Wednesday we would wait until the man on the motorbike came with the new editions and we would race like butterflies to see which one of us will get the first copy.

The magazine grew to be published across the Middle East and North Africa. Did you sometimes ever fear some of the comic characters would not be relatable to all readers?

We try to keep the stories as general as possible so it can relate to children from the UAE, to those in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Tunis. That is from everything from the humour to the stories as well. For example, one of the most popular comic characters is Kaslan Jiddan, who wears a kandura. Children from the Arab world love him because his stories are general and everyone can relate to them.

Also, in terms of the comics, yes they are funny to the kids who read them but there is a good message behind them as well. That is also part of the philosophy of the magazine, to always impart knowledge as well.

Is it becoming more challenging for Majid to stand out among the sea of children's satellite channels and high-tech gadgets like the iPad?

That is something that we have to all be aware of in the industry but when it comes to children's reading habits, and I am talking about the Arab world here, there is still a great appetite to receive knowledge physically through books and magazines as opposed to the iPad.

I think this is very important, particularly on a social level, because reading educational books and magazines is the best way to instil a love of reading in the child. Also, it helps create those wonderful family moments that we all cherish where parents and their children read together.

Surely with such a special year the magazine has a lot in store for readers?

We have called our anniversary The Year of Reading. We are having a competition where children are awarded monthly for reading the most books. This is measured by the child writing in the title and a summary of the books they read. This will be a great way to keep them interested and excited in reading but also in trying to understand what the story is about and the messages behind it.

sasaeed@ thenational.ae

Majid, a weekly publication, is out every Wednesday. For details go to www.majid.ae

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