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Meet Nkosiyati Khumalo: GQ South Africa’s new editor, the first black editor

Nkosiyati is making history as the first black GQ Editor and although the double title is a bit daunting he brings with him five years of experience at GQ, having worked as the GQ deputy editor and Style editor. “I remember not seeing many people who looked like me at a senior level. That’s even more true when it comes to lifestyle and fashion titles, not just in South Africa, but worldwide,” he says.

Condé Nast Independent Magazines, a subsidiary of Independent Media, has announced the appointment of Nkosiyati Khumalo as editor of GQ, effective July 1, 2017.

Khumalo, 30, has been GQ’s deputy editor since 2013 and the editor of GQ Style since 2015. He joined the magazine in 2012 as senior copy editor, having previously held editor and managing editor positions in contract publishing. Khumalo who is taking over the position from Craig Tyson is charged with representing the brand’s editorial vision and expanding GQ’s presence through new consumer experiences and products.

Read: No glass ceiling for Kenyan born Vanessa Kingori: Youngest and first female publisher of British GQ

Michelle Fenwick, managing director of Condé Nast Independent Magazines, said: “Since 2003, Craig Tyson has been an exceptional editor whose authoritative contribution brought an unparalleled level of editorial excellence to GQ. During his tenure, he further established the brand as the leading men’s lifestyle title in South Africa. We wish him much success in his future endeavors.”

Executive chairperson of Independent Media, Dr Iqbal Survé said: “We thank Craig for his contribution to building the GQ brand to where it is today. We wish him well with his future plans. I have every confidence that Nkosiyati will build on the success and take it to even greater heights. I wish Nkosiyati and the GQ team everything of the very best.”

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In an interview with media update when asked how it feels to be at the helm of such an iconic luxury magazine like GQ Nkosiyati said, “A cliché, but it’s a dream come true. No dream is achieved without hard work and lots of unseen hours, of course, but I’m honored and elated to put my own stamp on a brand that I’ve been following since I was about 14. Even after more than five years of working on the brand, it’s still thrilling to see my name near that logo – and it’s always been a brand with lots of personal significance for me.”

Reflecting on the lessons he has learned from his predecessor he said, “Craig is incredibly patient and unflappable, and that’s something I strive to carry on. He’s also been an incredible example of editorial integrity, which is especially important to preserve in an industry that can so easily be compromised in favor of advertising revenue or social media hits. No matter what, we, as content creators, have to keep our audiences as priority one and maintain their trust, and he’s been an ardent protector of that philosophy. He’s also an incredible writer and really championed finding and retaining that kind of talent, which is core to everything we create, in every format or platform.”

Read: Ghanaian Edward Enninful appointed new British Vogue Editor

Nkosiyati is making history as the first black GQ Editor and the double title is a bit daunting, “It’s a fair bit of indirect pressure – on some level, imagined or otherwise, the fear of making a mistake is almost double because you’re ‘the first’, and no one wants to be the guy that ruins it for everyone else. So, on the one hand, I try to ignore that fact during the day-to-day and instead focus on being the best editor I can be, because if I do, the rest will follow.” He added, “it’s an incredible achievement for me to be part of a global network of some of my own professional heroes, and who truly are the world’s best. I’m quite ambitious, and to be able to have reached that goal before my 31st birthday is a gift and it makes me incredibly excited for the future.”

For the youth wanting to venture into the media and young black editors his advise is simple, “Bring all of yourself to the table. All of your history, all of your knowledge of heritage, and current popular culture will help.”

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