The CIO South Africa Community just keeps growing

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Meet Nomahlubi Sonjica, our new community manager.

Nomahlubi Sonjica, a Gqeberha native and former CHRO South Africa managing editor, has recently been appointed as CIO South Africa community manager. Reabetwe Rabaji, managing editor of CIO South Africa, sat down with the seasoned journalist turned expert community builder to find out what she's all about.

Nomahlubi, or Hlubi as she is affectionately known, grew up in Gqeberha, where she received the majority of her education, but later moved to Makhanda to further her studies after matric, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Rhodes University. With a career spanning more than 10 years, Nomahlubi worked as a journo in a variety of industries. However, she enjoyed her stint as a courtroom reporter the most.

“I worked as a courtroom reporter for many years, and what stood out the most to me was the enormous amount of knowledge I gained,” she says. “It helped sharpen my analytical skills, critical thinking, and how to interrogate issues, as well as teaching me some interesting legal jargon.”

While a courtroom rush was the order of the day for Hlubi back then, telling real-life stories also spoke to her. She enjoyed writing about real South Africans and their struggles, particularly those in disadvantaged communities. “Profiling recognisable individuals also resonated with me: I wanted to get to know the real person (on a personal level), not just who the public perceives them to be,” she explains.

“The nice thing about law is that you get to deal with facts rather than hearsay: you also get to understand why certain cases win or lose (most people don't understand how it works), so having insight into what led up to that conclusion was great.”

She contributes a unique perspective to the CIO SA Community. Hlubi is a proponent of women's empowerment who hopes to use this platform to give extraordinary women a voice in a male-dominated industry.

“When I looked at the CIO community in general, I discovered that there aren’t enough women of influence who are represented in this community – I feel like we have enough influential women who could make a valuable contribution, but aren’t doing so,” she says. “We need more women who will actively participate in IT-related activities and discussions – something I'd like to change.”

Hlubi is especially looking forward to some of our events this year that will highlight our female CIOs, such as our upcoming CIO Women’s dinner, which she will host, and the Women’s Day event in August.

She has always considered herself a shy person who enjoys being behind the scenes, and this new role allows her to explore some of her hidden talents, such as public speaking, which she is most excited about.

“This community and being its community manager allows me to step out of my comfort zone and tap into a space I previously didn’t consider nor had the appetite for, like public speaking. Last year, I had my first experience with public speaking and hosting at the CHRO dinner: I was in my element, and it tied in with my passion for women empowerment.”

Hlubi enjoys reading books – multiple books at once – when she is not building communities or writing. She says she enjoys reading fiction as a form of escapism. And when it comes to real life, autobiographies are the order of the day.

“I’m currently reading Viola Davis’s Finding Me: A Memoir and Danielle Steel’s Blue,” she says. “I love fiction and have always enjoyed reading Danielle’s books when I want to escape reality and not think about the serious stuff. Her books are also very immersive; you can picture the characters and feel as if you’re a part of the story she’s telling.”

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