#BehindtheSelfie with... Bongiwe Tshiqi

This #CSIMonth, we go behind the selfie with Bongiwe Tshiqi, editor of Bona magazine - a 63-year-old brand and the only magazine in the country that publishes in four different languages: English, Zulu, Sotho and Xhosa.
Tshiqi captions this: “I really struggle with taking pictures of myself; I never know what to do with my face but, here goes. Hoping I look semi-normal #crossingfingers.”

1. Where do you live, work and play?


Live – Paulshof, Johannesburg
Work – Craighall Park, Johannesburg
Play – All over the country (and bits of the world, when I can afford it!)

2. What’s your claim to fame?


I’m quite an irregularity in the magazine space, I went from digital editor to editor of the whole brand.

3. Describe your career so far.


It’s been quite a journey. Having quit hard news on radio for the magazine industry a few years back, I’ve moved between a variety of very different publications in Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg, before finding a very comfortable home at Bona.

4. Tell us a few of your favourite things.


African fiction; feminist literature; travelling; food; anything gin-related; Rihanna; flowers; late mornings; perfume; and Atlanta, the series.

View this post on Instagram

New office friends in full bloom... ��

A post shared by Bongiwe Tshiqi (@bongiwetshiqi) on


5. What do you love about your industry?


The informal and unique ways in which we can share stories and influence culture; helping to redefine concepts of self-worth, beauty and fulfilment.

6. Describe your average workday, if such a thing exists.


No such thing, and that’s exactly what I love about it.


I thrive on change and appreciate the fact that each day presents new challenges and I’m forced to constantly keep innovating.

7. What are the tools of your trade?


Creativity, strategy and an ability to act in the interests of others, not just yourself.

8. Who is getting it right in your industry?


Editors and content creators who have stopped trying to make their readers fit into a specific mould, but rather cater for the different ways in which their readers identify and express themselves.

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9. List a few pain points the industry can improve on.

  • The industry still has a very limited view of beauty and success.
  • Lack of digital innovation.
  • Always looking to the west for ideas instead of creating our own standards and unique ways of solving our problems.

10. What are you working on right now?


I’m working on the July and August issues as I type my responses.



11. Tell us some of the buzzwords floating around in your industry at the moment, and some of the catchphrases you utter yourself.


The big buzzword is: disruption/disruptors – we’re all looking at ways in which we can change the status quo and innovate. Without this, the industry will die.

I’m constantly saying/asking myself three things:
  • What’s the long-term strategy or pay off for this?
  • Will your reader like this?
  • Focus on your own race!

12. Where and when do you have your best ideas?


Weirdly enough, it’s always while I’m driving to and from work. This is strange because I detest driving and am usually in a hurry to get it over with!

13. What’s your secret talent/party trick?


I can sew, from pattern-making to the final product.

View this post on Instagram

Sunday morning... ��

A post shared by Bongiwe Tshiqi (@bongiwetshiqi) on


I actually used to have an online store with a friend in Durban, selling our own designs as well as antique items.

14. Are you a technophobe or a technophile?


Definitely a technophile. I worked as a digital editor for a long while and discovered a lot about how print and digital can co-exist. It isn’t the doom and gloom that’s been forecast for print.
Being technophobes as leaders in media is the problem. We can’t capitalise on something we fear or disregard.

15. What would we find if we scrolled through your phone?


Lots of photos. Instagram is the only social media platform I’m really active on.


Crossword, general knowledge and puzzle game apps. Lots of music and food delivery apps.

16. What advice would you give to newbies hoping to crack into the industry?


Focus on your work and let it speak for you. It’s a hard industry, but it’s not quite the hopeless disaster area many of our parents made it out to be.

Simple as that. Follow Tshiqi on Twitter and Instagram; and visit the Audit Bureau of Circulations’ press office, as well as Bona magazine’s Facebook, ‏Twitter and Instagram feeds for the latest updates.

*Interviewed by Leigh Andrews.
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About Leigh Andrews

Leigh Andrews (@leigh_andrews) AKA the #MilkshakeQueen, is Editor-in-Chief: Marketing & Media at Bizcommunity.com, with a passion for issues of diversity, inclusion and equality. She's also on the Women in Marketing: Africa advisory panel, and can be reached at ...
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