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Bay’s Thulani Gqirana new editor of ‘DRUM’

MEDIA24 Lifestyle recently appointed Thulani Gqirana as the editor of DRUM magazine. Thulani hails from New Brighton.

Gqirana takes over DRUM on the eve of its 70th birthday, taking it forward into a digital future after the recent closure of its weekly printed edition.

She holds a BA Hons in Journalism, as well as a National Diploma in Journalism, both from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), and has experience in newspapers, magazines and digital.

She has worked at various newspapers, including The Herald and Mail & Guardian, as parliamentary correspondent at News24 and more recently in magazines as assistant editor of DRUM and Move!.

“We are so pleased to appoint an editor of Thulani’s calibre,” said Charlene Rolls, editorial director of DRUM. “She is attuned to the target market, has a wealth of experience and has an excellent track record of producing great journalism.”

Getting to know Thulani Gqirana

Why did you become a journalist? Have you always wanted to be a journalist?

I’ve always been low key nosey. I loved people’s stories. I remember once listening in on my aunt’s conversation with a friend who was talking about her husband’s antics. Six-year-old me even asked a question (and was reprimanded for listening to grown up conversations). Since then, I’ve just been a fan of stories.

I started reading novels in primary school and I knew I wanted to be a writer; I just didn’t know how to go about it. So, when I got to university and I heard about journalism and what it was, I knew it was for me. And I haven’t regretted it since.

What made you choose magazines?

I started in community news, I ventured into layout and design; then I worked for a daily newspaper; then a weekly. Then I moved to News24, which was purely digital. I wanted to get to know every part of the media industry, and magazines were the next step. I’ve been reading magazines such as Drum, Move, True Love, etc., since I was a teenager, and I wanted to be part of the machinery that can make one smile, cry or laugh, with just a story.

What do you love about DRUM?

I love the history of the magazine firstly. It’s a brand that’s been around longer than I’ve been alive and will remain long after I’m gone.

I also love how this magazine tells stories. It’s not a celebrity, news, politics or sports magazine. It’s the one place where you will find all of these kinds of stories, told in a manner that makes it feel like a conversation.

Tell us a bit more about who you are. Where are you from? Likes, dislikes, faves?

I’m a New Brighton raised, educated and marinated journalist who loves words. I read just about everything, so much so that I used to take books to parties, just in case I got bored. I’ve lived in Cape Town for almost seven years, but Port Elizabeth will always be home.

I don’t understand coffee (don’t hate me) and haven’t had a cup since sometime last year. I absolutely love political series and haven’t watched one single episode of Game of Thrones.

What advice do you have for young journalists who want to work for DRUM?

Read, read, read. It makes all the difference in how you tell a story.

What are you going to do with this iconic brand now that it is digital?

We are going to make sure we keep delivering the same quality of content you knew and loved in the book, digitally. I’m going to make sure that this new chapter we are embarking on with the brand doesn’t mean we lose the authenticity of what makes Drum, Drum.

Who or what inspires you?

My family, my friends inspire me daily. But right now, I’m inspired by what is called “ama 2000”. I love how driven some of them are. They believe in their dreams; they can just start up a business, or a YouTube channel or anything, without waiting for anyone’s approval.

There’s no ‘it’s not for you’ with them. They just go right ahead and do it. I love that they basically have no limits to what they can do.

What would you like readers to feel when they read DRUM stories?

That we are doing it right; that even when we are telling the most heart wrenching stories, we do it carefully and with sensitivity.

I want them to feel like we are telling their stories; that they can relate to each and everything we put up. They are the story, we are the ‘paper’ it’s written on, essentially.

  • DRUM is part of News24’s subscription service. Visit www.drum. co.za to subscribe.
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