About This Project
Our Q&A with Nkosiyati Khumalo;
What is your profession?
I have the immense pleasure of being the Deputy Editor of GQ South Africa and Editor of GQ Style South Africa. Alongside our editor-in-chief and our exceptionally talented teams, I direct editorial content and strategy across both brands, and also participate in ensuring that the brands are successful commercially through circulation, marketing and revenue.
What was your dream job when you were growing up?
I probably had about eight different dream jobs. I wanted to do everything; I seriously considered careers in commercial real estate, television, theatre, automotive marketing, seismology (I spent two years obsessed with earthquakes), and music.
When it came time to decide what I wanted to pursue as a career path, I had to look at what qualities I most enjoyed, and it always came back to interacting with people and sharing their stories. Combine that with the fact that I grew up in a media-hungry household – we always watched the news together; I used to read everything from HG Wells to Sweet Valley High; I loved writing – and my path to media was almost inevitable.
I consider what I do now to be my dream job, for the wonderful opportunity it gives me, at the age of 29, to do what I love and explore so many of my different interests daily; to have the chance to work with and learn directly from the very best in the industry globally; to inspire and support future editors and writers; and to push myself to greater heights.
What does a typical day in your working life look like?
Overall, my working life is about 8% glamorous – meeting global superstars, travelling around the world, unforgettable experiences, and encountering all things luxury – and 92% quite ordinary: hectic pressure and deadlines, lots of problem solving, intense meetings, working weekends and public holidays, jotting down ideas at 3am, etc. My day can take me anywhere. Relationship-building forms a large part of what I do, which takes me to various events after hours. It’s stressful but it’s so rewarding to be able to lead the cultural conversation, even in our small way.
What’s one of your most inspiring experiences in your career to date?
I’m always inspired by the people I get to meet and interview. This year, some of the most special conversations have been with Sanele Xaba and Shaun Ross, two models with albinism who are literally changing the face of their industry; and SA filmmaker Mark Middlewick, who wrote and directed a short film starring Adrien Brody. I also really enjoy creating incredible experiences for our audiences.
But it’s been particularly inspiring to work with professional icons from the media world, including GQ’s own Editor, Craig Tyson; Talia Sanhewe and Kojo Baffoe. I’ve also met and interacted with some of my personal heroes in global media, and it’s great to see firsthand that our playing fields aren’t so very different. Their advice is invaluable.
What is your favourite leisure activity?
I love music and I’ve been singing for most of my life. It’s something I’ve been able to do semi-professionally with some truly talented local and international artists and composers. I also find it a great form of expression; I often say that people haven’t met me properly until they’ve heard me sing.
How do you feel about appearing on the Societi Bistro menu and the dish in particular?
It always feels like coming home, which for me is a tricky concept to nail down, being born in Swaziland, growing up in the US, and now living here in SA. Societi Bistro is just consistently great – a relaxed elegance matched with delicious food and a family feel; and its people make the difference.
Of course it’s an honour to be on the menu (which I’m getting framed)! The dish in particular is outstanding, made with things I cook with regularly at home – and I love prawn. Huge thanks to Peter, Stéfan and the rest of the team!