It’s no easy feat start­ing a busi­ness in the me­dia in­dus­try, but by cre­at­ing in­sight­ful con­tent, these three women have built com­pa­nies that garner huge au­di­ences coun­try- and con­ti­nent-wide

Destiny - - Contents - Writ­ten by Lethabo Nx­u­malo & Ja­nine Jel­lars

KHANYI MAGUBANE, ra­dio broad­caster, film pro­ducer and owner of Zi­nok­wanda Mw­dia & Com­mu­ni­ca­tions

Start-up cap­i­tal: Nil (boot­strapped from the bot­tom up) Turnover: R2,5 mil­lion

Since her early teens, Jo­han­nes­burg­born Magubane’s been in tune with her cre­ative side. Whether she was par­tic­i­pat­ing in po­etry ses­sions, the­atre or de­bates, she was a sto­ry­teller. While it took the guid­ance of many dif­fer­ent peo­ple in her jour­ney to blos­som into the me­dia ti­tan she is to­day, no-one’s in­flu­ence has been more vi­tal than that of her par­ents. “I at­tribute ev­ery­thing I am to them. I grew up in a fam­ily who loved and pro­moted ed­u­ca­tion,” she say

For that rea­son, her path led her to the Univer­sity of Jo­han­nes­burg, where her stud­ies formed the foun­da­tion of her il­lus­tri­ous me­dia ca­reer. She got her start in ra­dio and jour­nal­ism at Talk Ra­dio 702 be­fore work­ing at SAFM, where she be­came well versed in work­ing both in front of and be­hind the scenes.

How­ever, as a story-teller, Magubane knew a ca­reer in film was in­evitable.

“This is what I was born to do. I’ve al­ways loved writ­ing and be­ing cre­ative. I’ve never been sat­is­fied do­ing one thing – I’m al­ways hun­gry to learn and grow,” she says.

“You’ve got to deal with more ‘no’s’ than ‘yes’s’, but the ‘no’s’ pre­pare you for the great mo­ments, once they come.”

Her ven­ture into film­mak­ing be­gan when she was com­mis­sioned to head a project by the SABC to re­pur­pose archival footage and cre­ate new con­tent. From there, she de­vel­oped an affin­ity with pro­duc­ing and di­rect­ing doc­u­men­tary and fic­tional works, in­clud­ing the crit­i­cally ac­claimed Why Are We So An­gry?, Sheroes and Amuke­lani, among many oth­ers.

With an ex­ten­sive pro­duc­tion re­sumé, the 39-year-old de­cided to form Zi­nok­wanda Me­dia & Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, a multi-divi­sion com­pany that of­fers con­sul­tancy, pub­lic re­la­tions and film and TV pro­duc­tion ser­vices. She started the busi­ness in 2011 with no form of cap­i­tal: all she had were a lap­top, a cell­phone and a vi­sion. “I wanted my com­pany to re­flect who I was and be a one-stop shop for me­dia ser­vices,” she re­calls.

How­ever, be­ing a busi­ness­woman came with many lessons. Magubane’s had to learn to value her brand, while deal­ing with the highs and lows that come with sell­ing her agency.

“It’s not as glam­orous as it looks. You’ve got to un­der­stand that re­jec­tion’s part of the game. You’ve got to deal with more ‘no’s’ than ‘yes’s’, but the ‘no’s’ pre­pare you for the great mo­ments, once they come,” she says.

Deal­ing with clients, how­ever, is just the tip of the ice­berg. “One of the most dif­fi­cult parts of be­ing an en­tre­pre­neur is hav­ing to fire peo­ple. It’s never easy, be­cause I in­trin­si­cally be­lieve in de­vel­op­ing them,” she says, adding that she’s a tough, but fair em­ployer who chal­lenges her staff mem­bers to re­alise their full po­ten­tial. “I love help­ing peo­ple dis­cover them­selves. I hire peo­ple to build them.”

While she’s al­ready ac­com­plished what many only dream of do­ing, Magubane has her sights set on more, in­clud­ing ex­pand­ing Zi­nok­wanda be­yond the borders of SA.

“As an en­tre­pre­neur, I’m not just build­ing an em­pire – I’m build­ing a legacy,” she says. –

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