Born to be a leader in journalism

Some people are born to be leaders and Dora Sithole is certainly one of them.

This award-winning scribe and world-acclaimed chef joined True Love magazine in 1987 as a food writer despite having no formal journalism training.

Two decades later she is not running the magazine's kitchen anymore but the whole show.

Sithole is the new editor of one of South Africa's leading women's magazines. She took over from Busisiwe Mahlangu in February.

Though she still has a long way to go, she is optimistic that the transition from food editor to magazine editor is the beginning of good things to come for her and the team.

Zinhle Mapumulo spent some time with the vibrant Sithole.

Question: After being in charge of the True Love kitchen for more than 20 years, how does it feel making decisions for the whole magazine?

Answer: To tell you the truth, it feels the same. I have been working with the True Love team for years and I believe we all know where to draw the line.

When I was offered this job it did not feel as if I were being thrown in at the deep end - just that I was given more responsibility.

At one time I was co-editor of the magazine, with similar responsibilities to those I have now.

Yes, I do see this appointment as a great achievement in my life. I have been food editor for years and I believe the time to cut ties with cookery has come.

I needed to face new challenges and I believe that this job will give me that opportunity.

Q: What challenges have you faced as a woman in the media industry?

A: Back in the old days things were really tough for women journalists.

You had to compete with men who were obviously dominant. You had to double your efforts compared with your male counterparts.

But all that has changed. Women and men are now seen in the same light in the media industry.

More and more women are becoming editors, not only of magazines, as in the past, but of newspapers and the electronic media as well.

Q: Your appointment at True Love magazine comes at a time when Media 24 is cutting down on its publications. Does this leave you uncertain about the future of the magazine?

A: Certainly not. True Love is a brand for black women and I do not foresee it closing down.

The magazine has gone through a lot over the years but it has managed to grow bigger each time.

The publications that were closed down by Media 24 were probably not working for the publishers but True Love is.

Q: Are you planning on making any changes on the magazine?

A: I have no drastic plans in mind. The only thing I want to do is to increase circulation and give my readers what they want.