Phumelela Mashego

Managing editor, Nine80 Digital Media

Phumelela Mashego is the managing editor of Nine80 Digital Media, a pan- African digital publishing company designed to reach and engage with Africa’s youth. Her work involves devising and managing ways to create fresh content and digital platforms that connect to its target audience, which already tops more than a million viewers every month across several countries. The popular digital platforms she manages are Youth Village, which has portals in South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Nigeria, as well as SA Hip Hop Mag, OkMzansi, Kasi Lyrics and Botswana Youth Magazine.

The range also includes platforms that serve as reference sites, classifieds advert markets and gaming sites, some of them drawing the largest youth audiences in their field. Through her leadership the platforms have grown their viewing figures and provide people with developmental information on areas like education, employment, entrepreneurship, opportunities and health. Her work also entails identifying new markets and spotting youth consumer trends, to make sure the team’s journalists across its network are constantly in touch with new digital developments and strategies that can reach African youth more effectively.

Mashego (29) has been the managing editor for four years and her contribution has helped Nine80 Digital Media win some prestigious awards and recognition from organisations including the SA Innovation Summit, Tech4Africa, Apps4Africa, Zimbabwe Achievers Awards and Forbes. Mashego says she is driven by the need to facilitate development in the lives of young Africans by using digital media, which has achieved a massive penetration in almost every country.

Her zest for development has made her instrumental in pushing Nine80 Digital’s expansion across the continent. Commenting on what drives her, she says: “The need to create platforms that speak to African youth and their realities, and being the go-to platform for African youth who want to be the influencers, shapers, creators and innovators that our continent needs.” She anticipates massive growth in the digital media space and believes that whilst Africa is more connected than ever, there is still a need to explore creative ways of reaching audiences who have poor connectivity and don’t have access to the technologies and gadgets of more developed nations.

This is a field she plans to explore extensively in the future to help make the spread of information across the continent more equal.

— Lesley Stones

Twitter: @Phumimc