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Learn to lead by example

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As the editor of South African Home Owner, one of the most popular local home and decor magazines, Kelebogile Nondzaba learned a lot on her journey to run a print magazine that also has nearly half a million fans on Facebook.

In my eight years as editor, I have learned how different we are as people; how we see and interpret things differently. I learned that it is important to listen to your team. No publisher has all the answers, and sometimes the best solutions and ideas come from your team. I’ve learned that being a leader means being a good listener and when people feel heard and valued, they feel free and safe to speak up and share ideas – and that’s what helps us grow. as a team.

I learned, and am still learning, to be patient; not taking things personally and letting go – especially things over which I have no control. I also learn that I am constantly evolving. I’m learning not to put myself in a box, which is very important.

My media studies degree at Wits University was quite broad in that it included television, print, radio, marketing, and anthropology. But learning on the job was definitely key for me. Theory helps to have something to produce when looking for or applying for a job, but the real learning and experience comes from doing the actual work. I would like companies to consider giving young people the opportunity to learn and acquire skills instead of neglecting them for lack of experience.

Everyone with experience, myself included, is because someone gave them the opportunity to learn and prove their worth. When you’re given an opportunity like this, believe me, you don’t want to waste it. Yes, you will make mistakes, but that’s part of the experience.

My style is to ask questions, do research to see how others are doing things, and always ask, “Why? and then suggest what works for me. I also learned the importance of giving people a chance, no matter what role they play. You will be surprised at what you can learn by listening to different people. I learn by experience and as they say he is the best teacher! J

I think young journalists need to stay relevant in terms of where the media industry is going right now. They need to learn or acquire unique skills that will create different types of content; for example, creating content through visuals or images and videos is important now. We live in a fast-paced world where people don’t have time to read (sad, but true) and so you have to find ways to grab your audience’s attention through visuals.

Finally, I believe that as women we need to learn to embrace each other and provide mentorship where needed. I would also like to see more female leaders and managers in the media industry, especially at the head of the big titles. Women have proven to be much more capable and we have to adapt to our times as a country and in the world.

Kelebogile (Lebo) Nondzaba has been in the industry for over eight years working across different media platforms from print to digital before finding his home with SA Home Owner. She brings an invigorating approach to the magazine and curates content to stimulate her readers with new ideas for their home.


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