An achieved journalist, author and outspoken critic, Mondi Makhanya visits the Daily Mail newsroom to give a nostalgic talk to aspiring student journalists.
Manto Tshabalala Msimang, exposing her as a liar and thief with a bold headline in the Sunday Times resulted in Makhanya facing a criminal investigation and immense amount of harassment – this being his most controversial and darkest moment in his career thus far.
Makhanya’s career started off at the Weekly Mail where he worked for five years. Other milestones in his career include working for the Mail and Guardian, being the editor-in-chief for Sunday Times and Avusa Media newspapers. Makhanya has since resigned from this position to write a book.
Makhanya addressed the students by saying, “you are entering into a profession where you are paid to enjoy yourself. Every single second is fun.”
Idealism; commitment and objectivity are a few qualities Makhanya pointed out as key to a journalists’ career.
The Zuma rape case is where Makhanya described his loneliest time of decision making in his life as a journalist. Being editor-in-chief of the Sunday Times held much responsibility which shadowed his choice in running the story.
“Every newspaper is the first rough draft of history”, said Makhanya. Creating change in the world and causing an impact which is there forever is important for a journalist and therefore “your commitment to accuracy is vital for your reputation” Makhanya said.
Makhanya showed great love and energy when he spoke of the South African media. “Do not be passive in defending that space of freedom, do your greatest journalism.”
Makhanya expressed that his goal has always been to merge politics and writing to tell stories. His goal for the future is to edit a small town daily newspaper before “he goes off to meet his maker” he said.
Makhanya admires Mandy Wiener for her achievements as an author and journalist, simultaneously.
Makhanya confessed that he has a fascination with bank robberies, “it’s a glamorous crime,” he said. He aims to write a book on South Africa’s ten greatest heists.