Masanda Peter worked in the mining industry for eight years. During her time at the rockface, she realised mineworkers didn’t have a voice in the media. So she founded her company, Dadero Communications and Concepts, and launched Mineworker magazine.
A quarterly title, which publishes print and digital versions, Mineworker focuses on news and life events in the industry, safety, technology, finance, health, ex-mineworker engagements and mining industry news.
“Mineworker magazine will share knowledge and stories from the industry. Many great people, mining industry giants and innovations have come from here—the mining industry, and we want to celebrate that,” says Peter. “This magazine is intended to stimulate engagements and show who mineworkers are and also appreciating the great work they do on a daily basis. We will no longer wonder nor speculate about the life of a mineworker as we will ensure that we cover it in and provide the perfect lens for the readers”.
Revolutionary thinkers, radical movements, innovators of our time – these are what the mining industry stands for, she says.
1. Why did you decide to branch out with your own business/venture, rather than work for other companies or corporates?
I had been in corporate for more than 22 years working in various sectors and I knew that one day I would branch out on my own. Many opportunities had presented themselves before and I would let them pass but this opportunity was persistent and I knew that I had to go for it. I had been running my own media company on a part time basis and freelancing for various publications so it was also a matter of taking what I was doing part time into full time work, trust myself more and give this project my all.
2. 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?
Mineworker Magazine, is a publication serving mineworkers in South Africa. It is a magazine that is elevating the voice and understanding of who mineworkers are and giving insights into the lives of mineworkers. I worked in the mining industry for close to a decade and while in the space, I picked up that there was a gap where in-depth understanding of mineworkers is concerned. Mineworkers play an integral part in the South African economy yet we do not understand and get to hear from them and their work environment. They are the ones that get into the belly of the earth and do the hard work, now let’s get to understand the journey, understand the challenges, the wins and the life of a mineworker.
In 2022, the South African mining industry recorded 49 fatalities and through the magazine we will also strive to understand what the challenges are and why there are injuries and fatalities and whether there could be valuable insights shared so that lives are preserved in the mines as one death is one death too many. All of this will be coming directly from the mineworkers. Mining is about people and we get to engage with the people.
3. What challenges did you face as a media entrepreneur and how did you overcome them?
The challenges would be keeping up with the demands of starting a new business and ensuring that one has a solid team in achieving the objectives. I have to mention though that the feedback from mineworkers has been overwhelmingly positive and that is encouraging as most have started sharing their stories of being mineworkers. This makes the journey worthwhile.
4. How is the current load shedding nightmare affecting your business and what strategies have you employed to tackle the challenges?
Load shedding – there are articles to compile and there are people to engage with and there are meetings in between, there is work to be done but load shedding is putting a damper. I have devised a strategy to work around the times and if I have to wake up in the wee hours to make the deadline, I do that and one just has to make the best with the current situation. It is quite a challenge but in business you do not give up, you find ways and means to make things work. Load shedding has slowed down some of the processes which is not good. This is the part of service delivery where government is failing us as business owners.
5. 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?
The moment that warms my heart is when mineworkers reach out and say “benikade niphi, where have you been as I want to share my mineworker journey with you” – that is a special moment and the human connection also, to make a difference in people’s lives as there is so much to share from this industry and this is a time for people to understand the people who work in it. The mineworkers are seen, heard. Some of the people who call are the elderly and they have serious questions to ask and they seek information and they believe that the magazine will bring them closer to what they need and to contribute like that to humanity and communities is a great feeling. “Ubuntu” and being a servant is a key element in the journey we are undertaking as the Mineworker Magazine team. We are not about to disappoint our readers and there is lots of work to be done and collaboration with key mining stakeholders will ensure that the objective is achieved.
6. What characteristics do you think make a successful media entrepreneur?
Tenacity, confidence and self-belief will get you ahead. We live in a world of noise but if you know what you want and know what you are doing and are determined to make it work – you’re on a good path. Be stubborn about your dreams. When things get pear shaped- always remember why you started.
7. Your advice to young media entrepreneurs or those looking to start new media businesses?
They must go for it. I live by the words of Steve Harvey “Jump, the parachute will eventually open”. The thought of wanting to start something and seeing time go by scared me the most than being is a ‘guaranteed’ salary space and had to do something about that. Start where you are with what you have and work hard. Knock on those doors and you’d be surprised at how much people want to help. Do it and sometimes do it scared BUT do it. If not now, then when.
8. What, in your view, needs to happen to encourage more media entrepreneurs, and not just that, help them stay the course?
Find what speaks to you within the media space and do it wholeheartedly. Give it your all. Do not get in to test the waters but be in it and stay the course. Your attitude and mental strength are your best assets and reach out to your networks, people are ready to help. Men and women in the industry have been lending a helping hand and that is a humbling moment.
9. How do you ‘pay it forward’?
The Mineworker Magazine is in that space of paying it forward already – listening to people’s challenges and wanting to help them takes a special character and we are doing it. Being born in the Eastern Cape, I know what it takes to access certain facilities and information and If I am the person to assist then we will do it. A servant heart will set you apart from the rest.
10. What quote or passage do you think encapsulates you and your approach to business and success?
“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” — Pele. There is lots of work ahead and it takes a particular mindset to reach your goals. Make it happen.