Thirty-year-old Slindile Khanyile has a fine journalism pedigree, having made a name for herself in her previous position as a writer at Business Report
. Added to that, she has also paid her dues and excelled in the rough and tumble world of sports journalism!
After starting her writing career at the SABC, Khanyile got the opportunity to write on soccer for the South African Press Association (SAPA) in Johannesburg and later moved to the Independent Newspapers' sports desk in Durban where she covered soccer, athletics, boxing and swimming for all the stable's English titles, before joining Isolezwe
on the soccer beat.
That all adds up to seven years as a sports journo.
Good credentials for her new position as weekend editor in charge of Isolezwe
's soon-to-be-launched Saturday edition, Isolezwe ngoMgqibelo
and the well-established Sunday title, Isolezwe ngeSonto
"I grew up watching soccer with my family so I learnt the game and fell in love with it. When I was studying journalism, I wanted to specialise in soccer writing at some point but believed I first needed to get news reporting experience. I estimated I would be a general news reporter for at least five years before I could think about specialising but it happened a lot quicker."
She chose journalism as a career because she had always enjoyed reading in both English and Zulu. "I also like travelling and I haven't been disappointed in my job - it has taken me to so many small towns and big cities in South Africa and Africa as well as to India, New York and Dubai."
Her biggest stories include the tragedy at Ellis Park when 43 people died in a spectator stampede during a football derby and the management tussle at Transnet which culminated in Siyabonga Gama's suspension, dismissal and then reinstatement.
Khanyile is clear that soccer will be a dominant feature of the new title which owners, Independent Newspapers, are confident will storm the market."Yes, the Saturday paper will be about soccer although other sporting codes will be covered as well as entertainment, social happenings and women-biased lifestyle features, among others."
Married with a six-year-old daughter, Khanyile says being appointed editor is the highlight of her career. "It gives me the opportunity to grow and do something different. I like the challenge of launching a paper that will encourage people to read on Saturdays in a language of their choice. Starting from scratch is so exciting."
Back on soccer issues she said the standard of Bafana Bafana had improved significantly since Pitso Mosimane's appointment as coach. "I expect Bafana Bafana to do well at next year's Africa Cup of Nations - it will probably be one of their best performances since their decline set in after 1998."
Where would she like to see the Saturday paper a year from now? "I would like it to grow the Isolezwe
brand and be a paper that people cannot live without, providing news and views which are not available in the daily and Sunday publications or editions."* Isolezwe ngoMgqibelo launches on Saturday, 27 August.