Juggling Four Jobs No Child’s Play – But Doable
Myolisi Gophe, 9 June 2021
Not many of us really get to do the job we love – and even fewer of us get the opportunity to do it at university, national, continental and at international levels simultaneously. But sports photographer and communicator Sikhulule “Skhu” Nkomphela is a lucky – and talented – guy.
The 25-year-old hails from Cofimvaba in the Eastern Cape, and currently works for the University of the Western’s (UWC) Sports Administration department, and also serves on the media and communications committee of both University Sports South Africa (USSA) and the International University Sports Federation aka Federation Internationale du Sport Universitaire (FISU). And now he’s added yet another committee to that list: he’s just been appointed to serve on the media and communications committee of the Federation of Africa University Sports (FASU).
That’s a lot of acronyms to remember – and a lot of work as well. So how does he cope with performing his duties for all four organisations?
“I get this question a lot – and my answer is always the same,” Nkomphela says. “Basically it’s all about time management. Time makes everybody equal: we all have 24 hours in a day, after all. The question is just this: what do you do with them? That’s what makes one stand out from the crowd.”
Skhu tackles his life four hours at a time.
“I divide my day by six,” he explains: “I spend four hours of my time doing my international FISU & FASU duties; I spend another four hours doing my UWC Sport work; another four hours doing USSA work; and another four hours of uninterrupted time with my family and with the eight remaining hours is for my social life and photography – and sleep, of course!”
For the UWC and USSA appointments, the environmental and water science graduate has renewable contracts until the end of the year, and is serving on the FASU and FISU committees until the end of 2023.
“The Committee will be assisting FASU in developing a better understanding of modern technology, and the potential for university sport stakeholders to forge global and national partnerships from within the sports movement and beyond,” Skhu notes. “As with FISU, my duties will include producing, editing and distributing content; maintaining relations with the media; advising the FASU president; and upholding and spreading the FASU brand.”
It’s on the strength of his work for FISU, in fact, that the FASU appointment came about. Not bad for someone whose undergraduate degree is actually in environment and water science. But Skhu has always had a love for the media – and in particular for the power of photography to capture important moments.
“The gift of photography is just something that’s been embedded in me since I was young. Every time I held a camera, I tried to improve on my skills – and once I really started associating myself with the media space, things just kept getting better.”
Photo: Sikhulule “Skhu” Nkomphela
While he was studying, Skhu and his camera were a regular fixture at sporting events, graduations and more, and he spent ages honing his craft in sports and media. He didn’t skimp on formal training, though, and also completed a short course in public relations at the University of Cape Town to better equip himself for the challenge.
“I’m still hungry to study further, and that’s what I’ll be doing next year while working. I’d encourage everyone who looks to be in my shoes one day to study, study and study.”
Another challenge that Nkomphela had to face was finding his feet in a white-male dominated sport photography industry. Finding mentors in the field helped a lot.
“Every successful mentorship is built upon a strong mentor-mentee relationship,” he says. “Embarking on your career is tough, and being mentored can help you achieve your professional goals and objectives in ways you wouldn’t have otherwise expected.”