Recently appointed as deputy editor of COSMOPOLITAN magazine, Noxolo Mafu is the former deputy editor of Huffington Post South Africa. An experienced content producer and video presenter, Mafu is a Rhodes University journalism graduate, and produced and directed Soweto Rising, a short documentary that received international acclaim.
Why did you choose a career in media and how did you specialise in video/the visual side of it?
I have always loved working with people and was very drawn to the media industry since I was little girl. I was convinced I would be a YoTV star and I loved any activity that was related to sharing stories or getting to know people. I am a huge chatterbox and soon enough my interests in television, theatre and storytelling all led me to this incredible industry, which allows you to explore a range of skills. The focus on video stemmed from a love of visuals and the power that comes from representation or lack thereof. I have always understood the power of visuals and how they can inspire, educate and even liberate one’s imagination and goals.
I have always felt it exceptionally important for women to be at the forefront of those industries because the impact of these industries is so significant.
What have been the highlights so far?
I have had the opportunity to meet some incredible people through the work I do. I have had the opportunity to film an incredible documentary called Soweto Rising, which really moulded my love for storytelling, and lifestyle and fashion stories.
- Working and documenting some of the countries most gear-shifting protests, such as Fees Must Fall.
- Being part of exceptional brands, such as Cosmopolitan South Africa, which do so much to prioritise the voices of women, and really are focused on developing that voice in a relevant and authentic manner.
The biggest challenge and thrill of being in the magazine business, and working in print having come from an online background?
The greatest thrill is having the time to create content – you are able to really delve into a topic or feature in a way that is not often possible in the online space. This does mean you have to think well in advance and create content that will matter even when it’s released two months after conception.
The challenge would have to be planning and managing for both the print magazine and the digital platforms. This requires exceptional planning and also being agile, which is something I have learnt from my online background. It’s a refreshing challenge and creates opportunity for great crossovers.
The three things you can’t live without?
Who is your superhero and why?
Women are my superheroes. It’s no secret we constantly have to work harder than most to stay safe, get paid equally and manage other facets of our lives, such a motherhood and the like. I guess I am very motivated and inspired by the tenacity women have and the stories that come from people trailblazing in their careers and standing up for their rights and space in society. It’s incredible to watch and I only hope that we create a space for young women to understand this as a norm.
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