I am a writer and editor with book publishing, marketing, PR, education and video production experience. I have a degree in Journalism and Media Studies, and an MA in the Cultural Study of Cosmology & Divination.
After graduating from Rhodes University just as South Africa was transitioning out of the Apartheid Era and becoming a democracy, I moved to Johannesburg where I worked as a television researcher, helping to produce a mixture of documentaries, educational programmes and current affairs/human interest series for both independent production companies and various broadcasters.
During this period, I got to work on some amazing projects, including the thought-leading panel discussion programme, ‘Future Imperfect’, and the award-winning three part historical series, ‘Forging a Nation.’ In many ways, you could say that South Africa’s history helped shape both my outlook and career: I came of voting age just as the country held its first free and fair democratic elections; and in the years that followed, I got to meet some of the thought leaders, activists, and business movers and shakers responsible for bringing about these political and economic changes.
Witnessing the politics of hope in action is something I will always be grateful for. However, whilst going through old news footage and film records of SA’s grisly past in the National Film Archives, I was also reminded of how fragile democracy is. A lot of the material I viewed had been suppressed by the Apartheid government through a policy of strict media censorship and the initimidation of journalists during the 1980’s and early 90’s. Again, I got to hear firsthand accounts of this behviour through two former lecturers – Miranda and Roger Harris, a British husband and wife reporting team who covered many of the riots, marches and violent clashes between demonstrators and police for ITV at the height of Apartheid.
For me, this underscored the importance of investigative journalism and the role of an independent media as the ‘fourth estate’ in terms of speaking truth to power and holding the corrupt to account – something that would drive my actions a few years later whilst working for the SABC as a current affairs news researcher and guest co-ordinator, covering the so-called Arms Deal saga. For many political commentators, this scandal sewed the seeds for what would later become known as ‘state capture’ – a story of widescale political corruption, fraud and racketeering that would eventually lead to the charging and jailing of former president, Jacob Zuma, in 2021. In retrospect, I am probably most proud of the behind-the-scenes campaigning and information-gathering I did to get critics of the deal fair coverage and a primetime platform from which to counter what many critics saw as a serious threat to South Africa’s democratic process and a true blight on Nelson Mandela’s legacy.
Five years later, eager for a new challenge and the chance to be more creative, I switched to the advertising and film industry where I became the in-house researcher for The Gatehouse in Cape Town. Here I produced moodboards, video animatics and creative treatments for directors like Brent Harris, Jorge Rubia and Peter Pohorsky, learning tons about filmmaking and art direction in the process. I also got to indulge my love of art, photography, fashion and design whilst assembling an in-house reference library full of glossy magazines and books.
In 2000, I returned to more serious journalism, taking on a contract to work as a news researcher and assistant producer at SABC, the national broadcaster. As well as helping to support national coverage of the first post-apartheid municipal elections for the new South Africa, I also sourced guests for News Hour and Newsmaker, SABC’s two flagship current affairs programmes.
The travel bug bit in 2001, and so began a 20+ year sojourn in the United Kingdom. Continuing my career in journalism, I became a researcher and news librarian for a newspaper group, where I spent the majority of my time factchecking and providing background information for the 400+ journalists working on papers like The Times and Sunday Times.
Tiring of the unsociable hours, I went back to study part-time for an MA in 2006 whilst freelancing as an academic proofreader and research assistant. During this time, I formed a long-standing association with JUK Media, which produces Eurocentric content for the Japanese market, and also helped to source archive footage for a Sarah Brightman retrospective DVD, working closely with her London agent, German music producer and New York-based record company to ensure the right material was located and licenced as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.
After graduation, I spent a year working as a copywriter for a PR firm specializing in editorial content aimed at health professionals. This led on to other roles at the Royal College of General Practitioners, the NHS and Elsevier Scientific, along with a number of healthcare and medical device companies in Europe. As a result, I developed specialist knowledge and technical writing skills in science, health, finance, IT, 3-D printing and food technology.
In 2013, my path segued into books and print when I became a regular proofreader for an educational publisher. More book projects followed in 2013-4 from the Urania Trust (The New Astrology of Towns & Cities) and The Aspinall Foundation (A Life with Animals). And then in 2017, I was given the opportunity to combine my archive research and publishing experience whilst working on a year-long research project for the EW Cole Foundation in Australia. This meant travelling around the UK and South Africa, conducting historical and genealogical research into the early life and family history of EW Cole, the much-loved bookseller and cultural icon, for Under the Rainbow, an updated biography of his life written by Richard Broinowski, published in 2020.
In 2019, I realized a personal dream when I was commissioned to write an illustrated non-fiction introduction to the great love of my life, astrology, for Eddison Books. And so began a new chapter in my career. Although the book is yet to be published due to the crushing economic fallout of 2020 on the book industry, I remain hopeful that this is not the end of the road, and that it will soon find a new home.
Currently, I work mostly as a fiction and non-fiction proofreader and editor for several London-based publishers, as well as helping individual authors to self-publish their work.