SA’s media queen on life, love and being back in her home town

2009-09-02 00:00

SHE has beauty, she has brains and a model-sized body that might just leave you feeling that God was a little too generous when creating her.

She is elegant, one of the most recognisable faces in media and undoubtedly one of the best success stories of “sisters doing it for themselves”.

But the best part is that she’s coming to town.

Khanyi Dhlomo will be addressing the women of Pietermaritzburg and is “very excited” about her visit to the City of Choice.

“I’m always excited about coming to KZN because it’s a place where I grew up. I get to see my family. My mother, my brothers, nieces and nephews are all there. When you get a chance to combine work and play it always makes for a satisfying balance,” Dhlomo told The Witness.

Dhlomo is being hosted by The Witness and the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business women’s empowerment desk.

She will come armed with strategies to show people how to “power your passion” in work and different areas of life.

“It seems to me like I will be addressing a group of women who are very dynamic and the kind we target at Destiny. We will give women tools on how to reach their potential,” she added.

Dhlomo’s introduction to the limelight began at the age of 16, when she became the Thandi magazine “Face of the Year” cover girl.

According to Dhlomo, this was after her mother made a decision to enroll her for modelling and ballet, in an attempt to break the tomboy persona she had adopted from having grown up with three older brothers.

“A lot has been written about me since then. I’m now 36, but what you probably don’t know about me is that I’m shy and reserved,” she confessed in her engaging voice.

Dhlomo’s first entry into the world of media started off as newsreader for Metro FM.

She was soon scooped up by the SABC and graced our screens as one of the first black newsreaders.

She has hosted magazine shows like Cosmo and M-Net’s Front Row.

This mother of two boys, aged 15 and 10, has been “Africa’s Face of Lux” and has won numerous awards, including being named the most influential woman in media.

However, she is probably best known for her days as True Love’s editor. Dhlomo took on the job at only 22. She took it all in her stride and in eight years managed to quadruple the sales.

Today she is the founder and editor of the successful high-end women’s magazine, Destiny, which has been on the streets since 2007.

It is published by Ndalo Media, which she co-owns with Media24.

More recently, she added Destiny Man to the stable, which is an “analogous male offering to Destiny” aimed at “accomplished, stylish, affluent and self-assured South African businessmen”.

Add to this two websites, which are business and lifestyle online social and professional networks where business relationships can be forged and like-minded people can engage and inspire each other.

Dhlomo will this month launch her third title, Sport Teen.

She attributes her business savvy to family genes.

“My grandfather was a well known businessman. He owned property and buses, which was a big success given what was possible for black people then. My parents were entrepreneurs. My late father had five degrees and my mother has three. All my aunts and uncles have a strong interest in education and I was inspired at a very young age in work ethic because of that entrepreneurial drive in my family.”

While Dhlomo might never have thought in her wildest dreams when she first started out that she would be where she is today, what doesn’t surprise her is the formula she has followed to success, which has been prayer and planning, combined with visualising her dream.

What does surprise her, however, is how quickly what she created has taken off.

“I always strive to make sure what I do is profitable and does well. But more than that, my key driver is this strong purpose to empower women and contribute to people’s lives for greater success.”

On love, Dhlomo remains tightlipped about her beau. She is set to marry her hunk, Nigerian-American businessman Chinezi Chijioke, in December.

“What I can tell you is I’m excited and very happy.”

Dhlomo holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication and Industrial Psychology from the University of South Africa.

She holds a certificate in media management from the University of Stellenbosch Business School, as well as an MBA from Harvard Business School, which she completed in June 2007.

She is also the former head of SA Tourism in France.

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