Myolisi Gophe launched the Cape At 6 Sport website and magazine in 2019. It is a title covering the field of amateur sports. Gophe has just published his fourth issue in what has been an extraordinarily difficult year.
With 20 years journalism and communications experience, Gophe was intrigued by the stories he came across as a sports fan, football player, coach and administrator. So he decided to follow his passion and launch a title devoted to those he believed were not getting enough attention: the amateur sports people. So he decided to do something about the lack.
Q. Why did you decide to branch out with your own business/venture, rather than work for other publishers or corporates?
A. I worked in the mainstream media and corporate communications field for two decades, and I felt a need to use the little knowledge and expertise I have accumulated over the years to contribute in helping those I felt were not getting the attention they deserve from the big publishers.
Q. Give us a brief history of your media venture? What gave you the idea? How did it begin, and how has your business journey unfolded?
A. I have always been involved in sport, as a football player, coach, administrator, manager or just as a fan. I guess I was getting bored to coach and manage while at the same time I was intrigued by the amazing stories that I was coming across on the amateur sport fields, which were not really getting the limelight. Yes, there are community newspapers with dedicated sports pages. But I felt there was a room for improvement.
We started Cape At 6 Sport in March 2019 as a sports website and issued our first digital magazine later in the same year. In 2020 we have issued three quarterly editions and we are working on the last edition for the year. What has really given me strength is the willingness of my colleagues to help without any remuneration. Initially, it was the innovative and creative Jesi Townsend who designed the site and the magazine.
Then the rest of colleagues like Nicklaus Kruger and Khanyisile Brukwe followed suit. I mean even Springbok women captain Babalwa Latsha likes the idea and regularly contributes. Now we have a strong team that includes Cardre Goliath, who is a social media expert as well as columnist, Warren Lucas.
We are not where we want to be yet, but we are surely on the right path to get there.
Q. What was the impact of Covid-19 on your venture?
A. Covid-19 is having a huge negative impact on our initiative. For starters, we are a publication for amateur sports in Cape Town and surrounding areas. And there have been no sports activities this year. That affected the quality, especially in terms of visuals, etc. But we managed to be more creative, like many media organisations, to find new ways to get content. Secondly, magazines survive with advertising. Many companies that were keen to come on board changed their strategies and cut off a lot of advertising budgets. Also, our intentions were to print the publication but we could not.
Q. What challenges did you face as a media entrepreneur and how did you overcome them?
A. Starting with a zero rand capital has made things a bit tough. Also, publications come and go, and many of the potential funders are sceptical about the sustainability of the new kids on the block, particularly that many magazines have been closing shop all over the world. But, as stated, the willingness of the colleagues I work with to contribute to the cause with no income has really made things easier for us.
The media landscape is also changing all the time, we need to keep up and embrace the latest developments in order to be relevant and survive. One of our key strategies is to continuously monitor and evaluate our activities. It’s a tedious process but very helpful at the end of the day.
Q. Has there been a moment of success that has really stood out for you and that is your favourite on your journey? To what do you attribute your success?
A. When we issued our first publication late last year was a dream come true to me. I had the same feeling when I saw my first story as a journalist published. The way in which our first publication was received confirmed that we are on the right track. And it was all due to teamwork. I mean there are people who are not part of the core editorial team, like athletes and coaches, who have been assisting us.
Q. What characteristics do you think make a successful media entrepreneur?
A. Relevance, quality and responsiveness to the needs of the readers. And the one that puts development of society and nation building as core focal points.
Q. Your advice to young media entrepreneurs or those looking to start new media businesses?
A. The media is not for the faint-hearted and it’s not a lucrative industry. But it is a critical sector in society. And one has to be passionate about it.
Q. What, in your view, needs to happen to encourage more media entrepreneurs, and not just that, help them stay the course?
A. The media will always have an important role to play in society, not just to inform and educate, but to also hold those in power accountable for their actions. Of course, there will always be temptations to divert from the vision in order to survive. But that is a death trap in itself. It is all about why you have chosen the field and staying focused. Otherwise if you are here for money then you are in the wrong field.
Q. How do you ‘pay it forward’?
A. The African phrase ‘umntu ngumntu ngabantu’ describes my journey in many ways. Many people have helped to get into and remain in the media industry. Giving budding journalists, sales people, etc opportunities to start their careers and to help them grow is key to us.
Q. What quote or passage do you think encapsulates you and your approach to business and success?
A. For the love of the game.
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