If you ask any young black, millennial, female who decided to actively pursue a career in media, what keeps her going despite the numerous obstacles that pop up along the way, Khanyi Dhlomo’s success story is bound to come up in conversation.
It all began for most when they saw this young woman who, at the age of 20, made history as the first black newscaster for South Africa’s national broadcaster in 1995.
She was still a journalism student at the University of Witwatersrand at the time.
According to Forbes, “sources say during Khanyi’s time at the station, the ratings of the 8 o’clock news hit record highs.” While many attribute this to Khanyi’s good looks, I’d like to think her professionalism had something to do with it (and that’s not just the feminist in me speaking).
Two years later, at age 22, she was appointed as True Love Magazine’s editor. Under her tenure, the magazine’s circulation doubled from 70,000 to 140,000 within the space of a year and the magazine became the most widely read women’s magazine in the country.
She spent quite a long time (by modern media standards) at the helm of True Love and following a tumultuous period in her personal life, she stepped down from her role as editor.
Khanyi reportedly went to recover in Paris and ended up taking a job as manager of South Africa’s Tourism Board in Paris during her time there.
The flame of her passion for the media industry never flickered however.
Seeing as she wanted to start her own magazine and company, she knew a sound business education was exactly the foundation she needed for it. Khanyi then enrolled in the Harvard Business School for an MBA.
While at Harvard, serendipity struck and she met Jonathan Newhouse, Chairman of Condé Nast International (a publishing house which is a BIG DEAL BTW).
Newhouse became her mentor, teaching her the inner workings of the magazine business, insights which would later inform the blueprint for Destiny and Destiny Man Magazine.
And so she founded Ndalo Media; a joint venture with Media 24 (the publishing arm of Africa’s largest media company, Naspers). A company which another one of her mentors, Koos Bekker, just happens to be the chairperson of.
She has also since ventured into the digital space by taking Destiny digital with DestinyConnect.com but it is her latest venture that is of particular interest to me.
My Facebook friends thought I was joking when I posted this but little did they know, I was incredibly serious.
I had just re-read the November 2016 issue of Destiny Magazine in search of a little inspiration and I had come across the cover feature written by Destiny’s deputy editor, Sheena Adams.
In the feature, Adams sat down with Khanyi as well as entrepreneurs, Jena Mukina and Matsi Modise.
In the feature, Khanyi revealed that they will be launching a platform called Mentor Feed (presumably under the Ndalo umbrella).
The idea came about as a result of the company’s involvement in the mentorship space and the struggle Khanyi noticed as a result.
The aim of the platform will be to help those who “struggle with the structure of a mentorship relationship” as Khanyi put it, in addition to bringing mentees together in order to afford them the opportunity of contacting people they wouldn’t be able to reach under different circumstances.
“The website will also offer peer mentorship opportunities as well as comprehensive advice about personal development, careers and entrepreneurship, drawn from carefully curated articles, podcasts and videos,” said Khanyi in the feature.
The plan is to launch Mentor Feed in the first quarter of 2017 and they are also looking into offering key courses via the platform in future.
So you see, guys and dolls, my post was not a joke but an affirmation of sorts. Whether it will be through Mentor Feed or more interpersonal means, Khanyi Dhlomo WILL be my mentor, because everyone who is destined for greatness needs one. And who better to mentor Media Girl than one of Africa’s most influential media mavens?
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Main image credit: destinyman.com