The Comms Spotlight: Kemantha Govender, Communications Manager, Wits School of Governance

While our Comms Spotlight for this week started her career as a journalist, she’s built a successful career over the past two decades. Kemantha Govender currently uses the power of Communications in her role as the Communications Manager at the Wits School of Governance. In her interview with us, Kemantha shares her love for Communications as well as some valuable advice for professionals starting their careers in Communications.


How did you begin your career in Communications?

I started freelancing for a Government Communications online publication and then got into the higher education space. Before that, I worked as a journalist and content editor.


What do you do in your role as the Communications Manager at the Wits School of Governance?

I am responsible for the overall Communications Strategy at the School which encompasses Internal and External Communications, Media Relations, Stakeholder Relations, Social media, Crisis Communications and managing the website.

While all these parts are important, storytelling is my favourite aspect of my job.

Can you tell us about a campaign or project you’ve worked on that stands out to you?

Any campaign that involves making education and research tangible and accessible. For example, getting our academics to teach journalists or other stakeholders on curation of the National Budget or how to understand and prepare for election coverage at different levels of government.


What do you love the most about working in Communications?

Being the connector of all things in the workspace but above all highlighting the value all my colleagues bring to the table, especially women. Working in communications is a creative space and you really get to hear people, their stories, their dreams and disappointments and you understand how important this field is so much more than writing social media posts or press releases.

Tell us about a major challenge you’ve faced in your professional journey and how you were able to overcome it.

Getting people to see the strategic value of communications and marketing. There is global research that highlights this issue, however, the role of the communicator is evolving, especially since COVID-19 and it’s a step in the right direction.


What advice would you give to anyone reading this who is thinking about starting a career in Communications?

Learn yourself, then the organisation and form strategic partnerships within the organisation. Prioritise Internal Communications, if your staff are brand custodians – half your battle will be won.

As a communicator, understand the importance of confidentially. Read. Read. Read. The best advice I got as a Journalist is to understand how the economy works… if you do this, you will understand a lot.

Trust your intuition and find your voice in storytelling. Please do some career planning (also something I wish I had known a bit earlier in my career) – Communication is a field where you have to be intentional about your words and actions.



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