The words "fear" and "failure" do not exist in Masindi Mkhize's vocabulary. As the founder of Eza- KwaZulu News, one of the mostly read community newspapers in the province, Mkhize, 30, has proved that nothing is impossible.
Since the launch of her newspaper a year ago, which has made her one of the few black women to own a media business, Mkhize has been working day and night to ensure its sustainability. Although not profitable, Mkhize, who is driven by the need to inform and educate her people in Kwanyuswa and surrounding areas, manages to print about 30000 copies a month and reaches more than 250000 readers.
A journalism graduate from Peninsula Technikon, Mkhize fell in love with community newspapers when she was in Grade 10 and has never looked back.
Her commitment and contribution to the development of community newspapers has not gone unnoticed. She has been nominated as a finalist in the Cosmopolitan Movers and Shakers competition. Her other achievements include having nurtured and mentored some journalists now employed in the mainstream media.
Mkhize is determined to see her business grow. She tells Khanyisile Nkosi why she won't let it fail.
Q: Many people have started a newspaper business and failed. How do you plan to sustain yours?
A: I did not get into this business to make money. I did it to help my community know what's happening around them. The majority of them do not have money to buy newspapers, so this was my way of contributing to the betterment of my community. I also realised that I was good enough at what I do to start my own newspaper.
Q: Was it difficult to start the business?
A: Not really. The challenge is getting advertising because without it the business won't survive.
Q: Do you find it difficult to get advertising?
A: There are times when I have to work very hard to convince clients to advertise. Some people don't take me seriously simply because I'm a woman. Some even tell me that a woman cannot run a newspaper but I am not discouraged.
Q: Running a newspaper can be time consuming. How do you juggle your roles as a businesswoman and a mother?
A: I work from home, which gives me more time to spend with my children and family.
Q: What has been a major challenge in your business?
A: Getting advertising.
Q: How does it affect the business and how have you dealt with the situation?
A: Community newspapers cannot survive without advertising, that is why I work tirelessly to ensure that people place ads in my newspaper.
Q: Were there times when you felt like quitting?
A: Yes, mainly because of financial constraints. I used my own savings to print the first four issues, but as I'm determined to see my baby grow I'm going to work even harder. EzaKwaZulu News is here to stay.