Tapping into success

2012-09-06 11:11

She has interviewed Mbeki, Clinton and Annan. Now Nikiwe’s heading back to the classroom.

When Christiane Amanpour covered the Gulf War on CNN in 1990, 12-year-old Nikiwe Bikitsha watched the screen in awe, knowing that she’d found her calling.

"I thought to myself, that’s what I want to do. I want to have a front-seat view to global events and be the one to impart those stories to the world."

Twenty-two years later, Nikiwe is a well-known and respected journalist in all aspects of the field.

"One of my biggest achievements was winning a print journalism award for a column I write. Winning the Sanlam financial journalism award for the series Africa Inc that Siki Mgabadeli and I produced was also an enormous honour," she says.

Nikiwe is now heading to Arizona in the US on a 10-month Hubert H Humphrey fellowship, which is awarded to mid-career professionals who have shown great leadership ability in their fields.

What sets you ahead of the pack?

I’ve plied my trade across the media spectrum, from radio and television to print.

I’ve been on the field as a reporter, an editor in charge of a newsroom and shaping the news agenda, I’ve been an anchor and current affairs show host.

I’ve also had experience behind the scenes as a producer, so I’ve expe-rimented and tried my hand at nearly all aspects of the news gathering and presentation process.

Your best career move to date?

When I was approached to co-anchor AM Live with John Perlman on SAfm.

I got to work with this giant of an intellect, who shared his expertise with great generosity.

Being at eNews has also been amazing. Over the past three years, I’ve been at the forefront of all the major news events of the day and it has certainly been a fascinating and tumultuous time in the country, a boon for any newshound.

What does your fellowship entail?

Outside of my studies, I’ll also be working at one of the development finance institutions like the World Bank or IMF, because my proposed area of study is economic development.

My time there will coincide with the US presidential election in November, so I’m looking forward to having a ringside seat.

What do you read for inspiration?

I read biographies of great leaders; you gain immense wisdom from reflecting on the steps taken by others who’ve been great achievers.

I’m currently reading The Bridge, David Remnick’s biography of Barack Obama.

Advice for upcoming journalists?

I live by Larry King’s advice that when doing an interview, you have to remember it’s not about you.

Off the record Favourite person My son, because he looks at me with expectant big eyes as if I know everything (he’ll soon find out that I don’t).

It is a love I cherish.

Ideal way to spend a Sunday Hanging out with family and friends on my balcony, having a fantastic meal.

Best place for destressing My family has a holiday home on the Wild Coast. It’s beautiful and pristine there – I find it therapeutic.



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