Media diversification is the name of the game for fraycollege alumnus Slindile Khanyile. In September 2020 Khanyile and her partner Langa Khanyile launched Umbele, a Zulu business portal with all the latest news on economics, labour, personal finance, and agriculture.
The launch of the e-publication coincided with South Africa’s commemoration of Heritage Month; a commemoration that celebrates and promotes the country’s diverse culture and heritage. Slindile, who is the former editor of the daily Zulu-language newspaper Isolezwe, believes that language is one of the core pillars of heritage.
“A publication like this will go a long way towards fulfilling our passion of preserving and advancing isiZulu, and practising our vocation,” she said.
Langa described Zulu, the most widely spoken language in South Africa, as the ‘new English’ and said the establishment of a quality niche publication is an exciting prospect. “Online is the future, and business is the lifeblood,” he added.
The launch comes at a time when many industries across the world, including the media, are seeking ways to improve financial sustainability amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.
As African countries adjust to the ‘new normal’ and attempt to repair the damage that the pandemic inflicted, Slindile says the business sector will be critical in the rebuilding of the economy. This, she says, is why is so passionate about Ubele and the work they are doing.
“Business news is much-needed. It’s intricate and complex, which is why it is important to tell these stories in a language that makes them accessible to an even wider audience. Understanding how to look after money and to stretch your finances has never been more relevant,” she says.
Before becoming editor of Isolezwe, the flagship isiZulu publication of Independent Media, Slindile also worked as a financial journalist and sportswriter.
Langa has worked at a number of publications including DRUM Magazine, Isolezwe, Business Report, The Mercury and the Sunday Tribune. During his tenure at the former Independent Newspapers, he was a sub-editor, features writer, columnist, and senior journalist.
Slinidile and Langa hope to diversify the local media landscape with their new venture. Umbele is published by Likhanyile Media, where Silindile is co-director and the head of digital publications. Langa is the managing director of Likhanyile Group, Likhanyile Media’s parent company.
“We grew up with and were inducted into quality journalism – not sensational and partisan journalism,” explains Langa. “Quality journalism courses through our veins, and that is what we hope to practise and advance amid these times of a sceptical, disenchanted public.”