An overachiever par excellence, Nkosiyati Khumalo demands to be taken seriously and the world rises to meet him. GQ South Africa is one of the nation’s most stylish men’s lifestyle media brands and Khumalo is at the helm to make sure that it stays right there at the top. He is the third editor-in chief of GQ South Africa and the first Black editor-in-chief globally.
Born in Swaziland and raised in the United States, Khumalo has always known what he wanted to do with his life. “I loved reading and writing from a young age and as I grew older, I found I loved speaking to people and finding out their stories and sharing them accurately; that’s when I knew that there is nothing I’d rather do but media, in order to represent stories correctly,” he says.
Khumalo dropped out after his first year at university due to financial constraints and began doing odd jobs. In 2008 he moved to South Africa, hungry for success, where his chutzpah enabled him to grow from strength to strength. Being in a new country revitalised his passion as he sought to understand the market and the gaps that needed to be filled. In various capacities and jobs, Khumalo did everything from working in retail to managing a choir to freelancing until he was employed by GQ as an intern.
His position allows him to push boundaries and take each issue to the next level. Khumalo says that as a child, he rarely got to see Africans being represented fully in their beauty, talent and creativity and his driving motivation is being able to change the narrative. His new cover strategy has shaken up the magazine industry in South Africa and elevated stories and photography to a whole new level.
Khumalo pursues a wide variety of channels to provide opportunities for up and coming talent. He is particularly passionate about imparting writing and public speaking skills and wants everyone to know that “the veil is now off and you have access to me — tag me, pitch your ideas, let us collaborate, I am open to new perspectives”.
He’s definitely one for the history books.