WELL-KNOWN public intellectual and commentator Songezo Zibi is to join the Financial Mail as part of the weekly magazine’s new leadership. Mr Zibi is at present head of corporate affairs at Xstrata and a founding member of the Midrand Group, an emerging intellectual association challenging the ruling elite.
BDFM publisher and editor-in-chief Peter Bruce confirmed on Tuesday that Mr Zibi will become a senior associate editor at the Financial Mail and would also contribute regularly to Business Day.
“Songezo will provide intellectual ballast that both the Financial Mail and Business Day badly need. He brings a lot of wisdom and thought to the table. We are very lucky to have got him,” Mr Bruce said.
BDFM is currently undergoing an intensive restructuring that involves the integration of the Financial Mail and Business Day newsrooms.
The business is also in the process of being taken over by its current 50% South African shareholder, Times Media, after a 15-year partnership with Pearson, publishers of the Financial Times.
Mr Bruce also recently announced the appointment of veteran journalist Tim Cohen as Financial Mail editor and former Business Day markets editor Ron Derby as his deputy.
“It’s absolutely fantastic to have Songezo,” Mr Cohen said yesterday.
“He’s already made great contributions and will continue writing his insightful analysis and strengthening the various sections.”
Mr Zibi, originally from Mqanduli in the Eastern Cape, graduated from Port Elizabeth Technikon with a public relations d iploma in 1999.
In his final year (1998) he had already joined Volkswagen South Africa as an intern in the company’s public relations department and stayed there for eight years before taking a position as communications manager at Xstrata in 2006.
“I intended to make this shift in December but with (Xstrata’s merger with Glencore) that will be finalised this month I decided to move this forward,” Mr Zibi said.
“I’ve always wanted to be a journalist since leaving high school in 1992, but with the political violence of the time my parents were against it,” Mr Zibi said.
“This is like moving full circle for me.”