Achmat Dangor lives in Johannesburg, South Africa. He has published four novels, Waiting for Leila (1981), The Z Town Trilogy (1990), Kafka’s Curse (1997) and Bitter Fruit (first released in 2001), as well as a short-story collection, Strange Pilgrimages (2013). Bitter Fruit was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for 2004 as well as the 2003 International Dublin Impac Award. Dangor’s new novel, Dikeledi, will be released in August 2017.
Akin Omotoso studied drama at The University of Cape Town. He won The Standard Bank Young Artist of The Year in 2007. Television work includes directed on A Place Called Home (for which he won Best Director at The South African Film and Television Awards). Akin has produced and directed four feature films. God Is African and the award-winning Man on Ground (official selection to Toronto and Berlin and AMVCA Best Director). His box office hit romantic comedy Tell Me Sweet Something won him a second-Best Director Award at the 2016 AMVCA’s and Best Narrative Feature Film at The BlackStar Festival in Philladelphia. His film Vaya, premiered at The Toronto International Film Festival on September 9th, 2016 and won The Special Jury Prize for Outstanding Film at AFRIFF 2016. Vaya has since played at the Berlin International Film festival and was the opening night film at the New York African Film Festival. In 2017, He won Best Director for Vaya at The African Movie Academy Awards. His new film A Hotel called Memory won The Audience Prize for Favorite Experimental Film at The BlackStar Festival in Philadelphia. He is in post-production on the documentary The Color of Wine and has just completed principal photography on The Ghost and The House of Truth. His acting credits include Lord of War, Shake Hands with The Devil, Hector and The Search for Happiness, Queen of Katwe, A Hotel Called Memory and Catching Feelings.
Alan Glass is a communications consultant, producer, published author, songwriter and voice artist.
He is best known for co-creating the highly successful children’s music series Beautiful Creatures with Ed Jordan. They have released seven albums and have achieved platinum and four gold albums in South Africa and have been acknowledged by the music industry with two SAMA nominations as well as by the South African theatre industry with a Naledi award for best children’s production in 2010. They have released four children’s books ‘Mafutha the Elephant’, and ‘Imvubu the Happiest Hippo’, ‘Lucas the Lazy Lion’ and ‘Harry the Hungry Hadeda’.
Angela Makholwa lives and works in Johannesburg. The Blessed Girl is her highly anticipated fourth novel, following on from the bestselling Red Ink (2007), The 30th Candle (2009) and Black WidowSociety (2013).
I was born and raised in Chiawelo, Soweto. I grew up with my mother and my two sisters. When I was seven years old I played the drums on the streets with my friends and dreamed about recording songs and one day becoming a producer. By the time I was 16 I had become involved in drugs and gangs. But my life changed one night when my friend was shot and killed. So, I went to live in the suburbs with my uncle. I got a job at a car wash as a valet technician and stopped taking drugs. In 2014 I moved to a place called Fleurhof, on the west side of Johannesburg, when my mom got an RDP house there. I have a company called Zaiboo Concepts and I get small jobs doing posters and business cards for local events. I currently DJ every Monday evening at a club in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.
Astika Chetram is brand-manager in Johannesburg, South Africa, a mother of three wonderful little monsters, and a children’s book writer.
She started creative writing and poetry at school and never stopped. “A good story can unlock thoughts and actions. It can whisk you away to another world, to change you, and to bring people together.”
Audrey and Phiway Mbuyazi are storytellers, and singers – passionate about spreading their love of literature and reading as well as translating European Classics and their own original stories into isiZulu.
Nigerian author Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Her debut Stay with Me gained recognition as a Notable Book of the Year by The New York Times and Best Book of the Year by The Guardian, The Economist and The Wall Street Journal. It was also shortlisted for the Baileys Prize for Women’s Fiction and the 9mobile Prize for Literature. Ayọ̀bámi has worked as an editor for literary magazine Saraba since 2009.
Baba-Tamana Gqubule is an Economist at TIPS (Trade and Industrial Policy Strategies), a non-profit economic research institution that aims to provide economic policy research in response to public policy needs. She has a Masters in Development Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London and a Bachelor of Economics Honours degree from Rhodes University. She is interested in contributing towards the development of policy interventions targeted towards dismantling processes that yield to structural inequality in South Africa. She is also the founder of a group informally known as “Rhodents with purpose”, a network of Rhodes Alumni that aim to provide financial and peer-group support to disadvantaged students at Rhodes University.
Her debut novel, Hum If You Don’t Know the Words, has been translated into four languages and was chosen by The Globe and Mail as one of the best 100 novels of 2017. The novel received many starred reviews and has been compared to both The Help and The Secret Life of Bees. O, the Oprah Magazine described it as ‘radiant’ while Library Journal listed Bianca as ‘a writer to watch’.
Her second novel, If You Want to Make God Laugh, will be released in 2018.
Bontle Senne is a book blogger and literacy advocate. She is a former managing director at the Puku Children’s Literature Foundation, a trustee of READ Educational Trust and a part owner of feminist trade publishing house Modjaji Books. Shadow Chasers: Flame of Truth is the third book in the Shadow Chasers series.
South Africa’s Good Things Guy Brent Lindeque and one of MKRSA’s most talented contestants Andrew Ross left the My Kitchen Rules show on a high note and are ready for a spectacular future.
Brent & Andrew were the first and only team to score a 10 out of 10… twice! The team scored a perfect 10 for their Cheesecake in the instant restaurant round and then again for their Chocolate Fondant in the semi finals. They also went on to cook up a storm serving incredible dishes throughout the first season of the show.
The new hit South African show officially launched on the 13 August 2017 and quickly became the cooking show of the year! There was good food, drama and a mash up of uniquely South African contestants.
But now that MKRSA is behind them, the modern family duo are ready for their next adventure… and for that adventure, the #BrenDrew team will be taking on the Great Food Trip, a concept showcasing South Africa’s best hidden gems while celebrating great food and great people too.
Candice Noakes-Dobson, mother of a daughter and real-life owner of pony Pancakes, wrote her first book as memoir of what happens at the farm so as to raise funds for South African Riding for the Disabled Association (SARDA).
The second book was strongly driven by the passing of Darrell Rea, an extraordinary helicopter pilot and firefighter. After Darrell passed away in a helicopter crash, fighting a fire in Bainskloof, she wrote the second book for his son, so that he would know what a hero his father was.
Carol Gibbs lives and works in a nineteenth century barn in the picturesque village of Greyton in the Western Cape.
Besides her love of Cape Town, storytelling, history and all things old, she is also an artist. Her work reflects these interests and takes the form of collages, paintings and three dimensional assemblages. Subject matter often depicts her social concerns. She has sold antiques, high class junk and art for forty years.
She has two children and four grandchildren, and a rescue dog named Bailey. The sequel to All Things Bright and Broken will be available in the near future.
Cath Alexander lives in Johannesburg with her family. After nearly ten years of full-time teaching, she resigned to concentrate on raising her two young children and nurturing her love of reading and writing for children. Cath realised there was a gap that needed to be filled in terms of sharing the diverse cultures and ways of life in South Africa with children.
Cecilia Di Cecco is an Italian from Abruzzo, a small province on the Adriatic coast of the central Italy. She landed in Durban 13 years ago as a cellist to work with the KZNPO, which gave her the opportunity to play in many different places in KZN and all over the country.
She has played at weddings, funerals, private parties and political events and was lucky enough to eat everywhere and taste food from many different catering companies. Cecilia was thrilled to discover so many new spices and herbs as well as new dishes.
After meeting her husband, she started to experiment more in the kitchen by introducing local spices into Italian dishes. Cucina in South Africa is the result of the work done in the last 3 years and includes 70 original Italian recipes with a local twist.
Born in Joburg, Christopher Hope worked as a journalist, and published two books of prose before moving to London in 1975. An esteemed writer of both fiction and non-fiction, Christopher’s won numerous awards, including the Whitbread Novel Award for Kruger’s Alp in 1984, and his novel Serenity House was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize in 1992. He is also one of the co-founders of the acclaimed Franschhoek Literary Festival.
Claire Bisseker is the economics editor of the Financial Mail. She has won the prestigious Sanlam Financial Journalist of the Year Award twice, and the award for the economics category numerous times. Bisseker lives with her husband and three daughters in Franschhoek. She is an avid hiker and kloofer.
Cora Groenewald resides in Sunninghill with her two children, husband and bulldog. She is in love with South Africa and its people. Currently she writes children’s books and is a stay at home mother. She loves traveling, trying new things, plays the guitar, cycles and cooking. Her playful spirit often gets her into trouble, but she does not mind that.
Corinne Rosmarin has many years’ experience in writing, editing, proofreading, commissioning and content creation.
As a former magazine feature writer and editor for magazines such as ELLE, Cosmopolitan and Little People, she has an in-depth understanding of the media world.
Her training includes a B-Journ degree and recent courses in social media and fiction writing. She has a passion for the English language and is quick on the draw with words and ideas. She has a skill in finding the story angle that will best engage an audience and an ability to put that into words. Corinne has a passion for childhood literacy and gives talks at schools focused on literacy issues and inspiring children to read. She is author of a Book Dash book for children and is in the process of writing a children’s book.
David Letsoalo has been described as one of the top birding guides in South Africa by those in the know and was awarded BirdLife South Africa’s Eagle Award in 2007 for being the Top Local Bird Guide in South Africa – the only person to ever win this title. Apart from his sound birding expertise, he has sharp eyes and ears essential for the often frustrating forest birding experience. The reason why a birding outing with David is magic, however, is because of his infectious enthusiasm. When he sees a Black-fronted Bush Shrike for the hundred and second time, he is just as excited as the first time. He patiently explains its position until everyone in the group has found it and then gives in to excited comments – ‘it is so beautiful, wow, can everyone see it?’ David changes his pace and his level of information depending on whether he is guiding a twitcher or a beginner, a hiker or a slow-pacer. He also shows his interest and enthusiasm about everything the group is seeing, be it a huge tree, a mushroom or a butterfly.
David has a knack for finding the elusive Black-fronted Bush Shrike, Narina Trogon, Yellow-streaked Greenbul, Green Twinspot, Orange Ground Thrush and White-starred Robin in the Woodbush and Kurisa Moya forests. He also has stake-outs for Cape Parrot and Bat Hawk in the area. David has developed an intimate knowledge of the Woodbush indigenous forest and keeps track of several nest sites, including the Red-breasted Sparrowhawk. He persuaded Birdlife Polokwane members to help him secure a nesting platform for a pair of Bat Hawks in the area – a task which required bows and arrows, mountaineering experts and no fear of heights.
Fortunate to be in an area with many environmentalists, David is sought after in the area to be part of conservation projects. He was a monitor for the Blue Swallows Working Group since 2001 and participated in the Earthwatch International research projects monitoring the Blue Swallow in Haenertsburg and surrounds. He was the node co-ordinator of six Eco-schools and started Bird Clubs in many of the local schools. He is responsible for raptor monitoring in the area and has been involved in numerous Environmental Impact Assessments with an avian conservation component. He is a co-ordinator for the Cape Parrot count and has done research monitoring the Cape Parrots in the Woodbush Forest, in association with the University of Witwatersrand for the past 3 years. He has also started the Cape Parrot Educational Project in this area, to educate and generate enthusiasm amongst the youth.
David has participated in many bird-ringing exercises in association with the University of Limpopo initiated the Birds In Trees Educational Project to bring conservation issues to young people in the area. David is also part of a team who initially put together the CAPRICORN-LETABA BIRDING ROUTE, which stretches from Polokwane, through Magoebaskloof and Woodbush to Tzaneen. This is now an integral part of the Greater Limpopo Birding Routes. David has been a member of the BirdLife South Africa Council, representing the Bird Guides countrywide. He also mentors the Limpopo Guides and assists in training workshops. David is a Trustee on the board of The Ben de Boer Trust, formed to support and empower the Limpopo Bird Guides.
David Letsoalo has always had a passion for the environment and began his career as a self-taught birder. David explains: ‘Born in the foothills of the Wolkberg in the Drakensberg mountain range, I went to Gauteng to search for greener pastures after completing my education. Life there was too busy and complicated for a country boy like myself and in 1996, I went back to the country. There, my employer, Karin Boyum would ask me every day what birds I had seen in the day time around the plot. This got my interest going and by the end of the year, Karin bought me Roberts Birds of Southern Africa as a present. Later, her brother gave me a pair of binoculars to ease my views in the field.’ David soon became a familiar face at all the bird-club meetings and nature talks in the area but his big break came when Stevan Evans of EWT BSWG organised sponsorship from SAPPI and SASOL for David to go for training at Wakkerstroom. David says this was like a dream come true – passionate and knowledgeable people to meet and wonderful birds to see. Equipped with bird ID and tour guiding expertise, David has been guiding in the Magoebaskloof-Woodbush area of Limpopo Province since 2002 and has helped countless enthusiastic local and international birders boost their lifers list.
For David, birding is more than a job – it is a joy, a passion and an obsession. For fun, he walks for miles looking for nests or replenishing feeding sites and most enjoys testing himself on the Roberts CD’s bird quiz. His favourite bedtime read is the Red Data Book or Roberts 7, and so he is developing superior pecs as well. David’s kids have learnt to put up with their father’s lifestyle, even if it takes him away from home a lot. His daughters have found the best way to spend time with him is to take up birding themselves!
David is currently the Head Bird Guide and Assistant Manager at Kurisa Moya Nature Lodge, a beautiful, tranquil property near Polokwane and Tzaneen in the Limpopo Province. Here, five different habitats converge and so varied bird life is abundant. The biggest draw-card about Kurisa Moya (apart from David) is that the Woodbush forest extends onto the property and so forest birding is spectacular. He also guides to birding hotspots nearby like Mamabolo Grasslands, the montane grassland, Polokwane Game Reserve and environs or down to the tropical lowveld of the Tzaneen area. David guides guests and other twitchers with an insatiable enthusiasm and zest.
A living legend in the birding world, David has been the focus of numerous magazine and newspaper articles including Die Beeld, Africa Birds and Birding Magazine, Limpopo Living Magazine, The Star Newspaper, Getaway Magazine and Country Life Magazine. He has also been interviewed for radio and television slots including Kaelo, Miracle Stories on SABC 2, 50/50, Supersports and for BBC3.
David Letsoalo is available as a guide per hour or per day. Fees vary depending on the size of the group and the hours spent out birding. Day-trips and Guided tours can be arranged by David at Kurisa Moya Nature Lodge. Contact him on +27 (0) 71 658 6980 or +27 (0) 83 568 4678 or + 27 (0) 82 200 4596. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org website: www.krm.co.za
Breathe - Strategising Energy in the Age of Burnout
Dr Ela Manga is an integrated medical doctor committed to bringing heart back into the art of medicine. Her background in western medicine, study of wisdom traditions and deep curiosity has informed her unique approach to health and wellbeing.
Drawing on her intuition, experience and scientific enquiry, Ela partners with her clients to design individualised processes that support body, mind and heart. She provides a compassionate but challenging space for her clients in their journey to wholeness. Ela is a catalyst for change in the lives of individuals, groups and broader society.
In her first book, BREATHE: Strategising Energy in the Age of Burnout, Ela discusses her approach to mental, physical and emotional health through real-life case studies. Ancient wisdom and continuous research drives her healing philosophy which is accessible and relevant to all. Ela is an expert in the field of energy management and uses modern medicine as a framework to delve deeper into the root causes of illness by drawing on safe and natural healing systems. Breathwork plays a fundamental role in Ela’s understanding of energy and believes it is a powerful way to support people in their healing process.
She is a sought-after speaker, both locally and internationally, and has a revolutionary way of facilitating groups for profound transformation. Writing remains a passion for Ela and she contributes to various publications, both in traditional and online media, while working on her next book. Ela is the founder of Breathwork Africa, an organisation which advocates the use of breathwork for transformation on all levels and in all communities. Breathwork Africa offers training and support to practitioners who want to integrate breathwork into their daily life and take the message of breath further afield.
Ela has a thriving practice in the beautiful Muldersdrift area where she consults with individuals, families and groups. She facilitates monthly Breathwork sessions, runs retreats and workshops, and offers one-on-one Skype sessions.
Emma Sadleir is South Africa’s leading expert on social media law. The company she founded three years ago, the Digital Law Company, specialises in educating and advising corporates, employees, schools, parents, teachers, and universities on the legal, disciplinary and reputational risks of social media.
Much of Emma’s work involves creating social media strategies and policies for corporates and schools, drafting social media agency agreements and providing training and workshops on social media law.
Emma is the co-author of Don’t Film Yourself Having Sex… And Other Legal Advice for The Age of Social Media. The book was described by Professor Jonathan Jansen as “the most important textbook” a university student will buy. Emma is also the co-author of the social media section of the legal textbook, “Communications Law”, published by Lexis Nexus in January 2015. Her second book is titled, Selfies, Sexts and Smartphones: A Teenager’s Online Survival Guide.
Ferial Haffajee is a South African editor and journalist.
She is currently editor-at-large, Huffington Post SA and also editor of the African National Centers for Investigative Reporting (ANCIR) and is a researcher at the Public Affairs Research Institute.
Previously, Ferial was editor-in-chief at the Mail&Guardian and City Press. She is a regular analyst and commentator on radio, television and elsewhere.
Ferial is a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network and a member of the Africa Leadership Institute fellowship. She has won numerous awards for journalism and for her support of media freedom.
Fiona was educated at Rhodes University and the University of the Witwatersrand. She has worked as a journalist, reviewed books for the Times and Sunday Times, and also writes for the Mail and Guardian’s Thought Leader website. She has acted as an external examiner for the University of Cape Town’s MA in Creative Writing programme, and has been a judge of the Twenty in 20 Short Story Competition and the Bessie Head Short Story Award.
Fiona is the author of the Trinity series of novels, and the Sisterz series of mobile phone novels, which was commissioned by the Shuttleworth Foundation. Many of her short stories have been published in magazines and collections. SPIRE is the second instalment of Fiona’s Burchell Sisters Trilogy. The first, the thriller Now Following You, was published by Modjaji Books in 2015 and was the third of Fiona’s novels to be nominated for the Sunday Times Fiction Prize.
Fiona lives in Johannesburg with her family.
Frans Rautenbach is an advocate and labour lawyer at the Cape Town Bar. Between 2001 and 2006 he consulted to the governments of Uganda and Tanzania on labour-law reform, licensing and business laws, and economic cost-benefit analysis as a legislative policy tool. In 2012 he appeared as part of the legal team of the Free Market Foundation in a constitutional challenge of section 32 of the Labour Relations Act, with strong emphasis on economic and policy implications. His interest in the impact of labour law on unemployment and industrial unrest resulted in two books on labour deregulation: Set the Workers Free and Liberating South African Labour from the Law. His other publications include Labour Litigation, In all Labour Profit and Your Kruger Park Guide, which gives advice on his favourite pastime – holidaying in the park with his family.
Fred Khumalo is the author of the novels Bitches’ Brew, which was a joint winner of the 2006 European Union Literary Award, and Seven Steps to Heaven. His memoir, Touch My Blood, was shortlisted for the Alan Paton Prize for Non-fiction in 2007, and his most recent book, #ZuptasMustFall and Other Rants, was published in 2016. His short fiction has appeared in various anthologies, literary journals and magazines. He holds an MA in Creative Writing from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, where he lives.
Fred Strydom is the author of the novel The Raft. He studied Film and Media at the University of Cape Town and has also published a number of short stories. He currently works as a creative strategist and scriptwriter in Johannesburg, where he lives with his wife, son, two dogs, cat and two horses.
Gary Hirson is an author, professional photographer and independent publisher of 3 interactive development titles for children introducing different age groups to; the gift of imagination, goal- setting, and tools to help grow self-belief. His first book has been translated into Afrikaans, IsiXhosa and IsiZulu and second book translated into Afrikaans. All the books are currently being recorded by Tape Aids for the Blind and will soon be available as audiobooks.
Glynnis Breytenbach is an advocate who has, in a career spanning 26 years, earned a reputation as one of the country’s most formidable state prosecutors. She is now a member of parliament and the Democratic Alliance’s shadow minister for justice.
When the Golden Goose Doesn’t Lay Eggs: Lessons on Potential
I am Grant Senzani, a business owner, sales consultant and author. I empower individuals and companies to achieve more through a systematic process of firstly understanding themselves and thereafter enlightening them on a process that allows them to achieve the goals they set. My experience is born from serving as a director of several NGO’s where I created programs that took our members from finding their potential to finally actualising. My book, When the Golden Goose Doesn’t Lay Eggs: Lessons on Potential, highlights these processes.
Gregg Hurwitz is the New York Times bestselling author of 19 novels, including HellBent (2018). His novels have been shortlisted for numerous literary awards, graced top ten lists, and have been published in 30 languages.
He is also a New York Times Bestselling comic book writer, having penned stories for Marvel (Wolverine, Punisher) and DC (Batman, Penguin). Additionally, he’s written screenplays for or sold spec scripts to many of the major studios (including The Book of Henry), and written, developed, and produced television for various networks. Gregg resides in Los Angeles
Arabella, the Secret King and the Amulet from Timbuktu
Hamilton Wende is a freelance writer and television producer. He is a columnist for The Star in Johannesburg and a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4.
His articles have appeared in many local and international newspapers and magazines. In television he has worked for international networks including CNN, NBC, BBC, ABC (Australia) amongst others. He has written many books: Only the Dead, House of War, The King’s Shilling, Deadlines from the Edge: Images of War from Congo to Afghanistan and True North: African Roads Less Travelled and several children’s books including his latest, Arabella, the Secret King and the Amulet from Timbuktu
Dr.Helena Dolny (see www.helenadolny.com) works with issues that speak to both intellect and heart. Her PhD was on land markets and their relevance to land reform. Then President Nelson Mandela appointed her as CEO of the Land Bank. She faced the challenge of leadership and institutional transformation She later retooled with a Masters in Executive Coaching. She coaches individuals and teams and teaches at a Henley business school.
Her other work is talking and writing about why it is so important to live a life in which we engage with our mortality. She believes this results in less suffering, less conflict, increased longevity, reduced end-of-life spending and more joy. Before Forever After is her 4th book.
Distance and Desire: Encounters with the African Archive
Hlonipha Mokoena received her Ph.D. from the University of Cape Town in 2005. She is currently an associate professor and researcher at WiSER (Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research) at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. Her articles have been published in: Journal of Natal and Zulu History; Journal of Religion in Africa; Journal of Southern African Studies; Ufahamu: A Journal of African Studies; Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies; Image & Text and Critical Arts.
Pic credit: Nonzuzo Gxekwa
Ex-lawyer Ishay is an award-winning travel and food blogger. In her blog, Food and the Fabulous, she writes about locals, cuisines, travel guides, and topical issues and current affairs. She also writes for a variety of print and digital media, e.g. Sunday Times Travel UK, Mail & Guardian, Business Day, Olive Magazine, Fine Dining Lovers.
Jayne Bauling writes fiction and poetry.
Her Young Adult novels have been awarded the Macmillan Writer’s Prize for Africa and the Maskew Miller Longman Literature Award. Her short story Flight was shortlisted for the 2012 Commonwealth Short Story Prize.
She won the inaugural African Writing Prize for Flash Fiction with her story Settling. Her adult and youth short stories have been published in a number of South African anthologies. New Keepers just won silver at the recent Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature
Journalist and author Jacques Pauw was a founder member of the anti-apartheid Afrikaans newspaper Vrye Weekblad in the late 1980s, where he exposed the Vlakplaas police death squads. He worked for some of the country’s most esteemed publications before becoming a documentary filmmaker, producing documentaries on wars and conflicts in Rwanda, Burundi, Algeria, Liberia, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone, among other countries.
When he left journalism in 2014, he was the head of investigations at Media24 newspapers. He has won the CNN African Journalist of the Year Award twice, the Daniel Pearl Award for Outstanding International Investigative Reporting in the US, Italy’s Ilaria Alpi and the Nat Nakasa award for bravery and integrity in journalism. He is the author of five books: four nonfiction and one fiction. They are In the Heart of Whore, Into the Heart of Darkness, Dances with Devils, Rat Roads and Little Ice Cream Boy. Three of his books have been shortlisted for major literary awards.
James Clarke has been writing for daily newspapers since the age of 16, first in Birmingham, then in Johannesburg. Early in his career he developed an interest in environmental affairs, both urban and rural, and he has written extensively on the topic ever since. He was one of the three founders of the Endangered Wildlife Trust and has written a range of books, mostly humorous. More recently he published Overkill with Struik Nature.
Jassy Mackenzie is the author of eight previous novels. Her thrillers are published in the United States and in Germany to great acclaim and have been shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and an International Thriller Award. She lives and works in Johannesburg.
Jonathan Kaplan is a celebrated international rugby referee and former world record-holder for most Test caps. He made two life-changing decisions at age 47, the first was to blow his whistle for the last time and end his career as a professional rugby ref. The second was to become a single parent.
Jo Watson, is an award-winning writer of romantic comedies. Collector of colorful, kitsch things that usually sparkle. Adidas addict, Depeche Mode devotee and proud Wattpad writer!
Jo loves telling stories and above everything, considers herself a storyteller, no matter what the medium.
Joanne Jowell is the author of the bestselling biographies On the Other Side of Shame: An Extraordinary Account of Adoption and Reunion (2009), Finding Sarah: A True Story of Living with Bulimia (2011) and The Crazy Life of Larry Joe: A Journey on the Streets and Stage (2014). She lives in Cape Town with her husband and three children.
Joanne Macgregor is a Harry Potter fanatic, bakes the best choc-chip cookies on the planet, and is addicted to chilis and bulletproof coffee.
She started her professional life as a high school English teacher and loves writing about, and for, teens. She is the author of several books for Young Adults, including The Law of Tall Girls, Hushed, Recoil, Refuse, Rebel, Scarred, and – for younger YA readers – Turtle Walk, Rock Steady and Fault Lines.
John W. Fredericks was born in a township on the outskirts of Cape Town. His father was a dustman and his mother worked in the abattoirs. He spent most of his growing-up years on a refuse dump searching for books to read and anything of resale value. Reading opened his mind to a whole new world and at a young age he decided to become a writer. Through strife and struggle and with very little education he set out to reach his goal, but first he had to rise above the stigma of prison and poverty that had become his heritage. He has written a number of film scripts, including the acclaimed Noem My Skollie.
Prof Jonathan Jansen is a leading South African educationist, commentator and the author of several books including the best-selling Letters to My Children. He is the former Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Free State, where he earned a reputation for transformation and a deep commitment to reconciliation. He is married with two children.
Joni Brenner is an artist who revisits the same subject – whether live model or skull – over and again, a practice that informs her understanding of learning through doing, looking closely and recognising shifts. Her belief in the value of repetition underpins her fascination, and her collaboration, with the Marigold beading co-operative. She is a Principal Tutor in History of Art at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.
Marigold is the contemporary beadwork co-operative active in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe today, with whom I have engaged deeply for the past six years to produce these continuous loops of hand-loomed beads. The work produced by Marigold embodies excellence. It’s there in the combination of technical precision alongside a mesmerizing and alive creativity; but there is also in this project a commitment to a sustained effort that comes in part from an urgent need for this project to work. It is against a backdrop of ongoing uncertainty with respect to Zimbabwe’s future and that of its people that this exquisite beadwork emerges, and I do find it moving that such intact beauty is even possible in a context of such longstanding distress.
The book Making Marigold: Beaders of Bulawayo is a portrait ofthis co-operative presented through short stand alone narrative vignettes and over 200 photographs offering insight into the making and development of the Marigold co-operative and in particular, the work that has emerged through the collaboration with artist Joni Brenner.
Joni Peddie is a behavioural strategist, professional speaker and writer; a founding Member of the Enneagram Institute of SA; an accredited EQ Asessor (The Emotional Intelligence network: The Six Seconds Organisation) and the co-author of the FAB Quotient™ Book: Experience Resilient Energy and Fight Fatigue.
On a personal note, Joni is a mother of two students at University. She loves to travel locally and internationally with her hubbie. She’s passionate about finding ways to Feel FAB (Fuel; Activate & Behave) and won’t stop until she gets her message out to the 7.4 billion people in the World. The exponential growth in ‘dis-ease’ can be halted. We each need to take control of how we eat, move and sleep. Joni ‘energizes’ herself by running trail runs, marathons and ultra-marathons …a lovely way to see the world!
From a broken, suicidal, autistic teenager, who dropped out of school at 15, comes a remarkable 300-page self-published coffee table book telling a story of courage, and triumph of the human spirit – Josh’s Big Year.
In 2012 15-year-old South African school pupil Josh Crickmay, unable to cope with the demands of the classroom dropped out of school. What followed was a deep and debilitating depression kindled by the belief that he would never be able to fend for himself. Severely suicidal, Josh landed in hospital and was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome or High Functioning Autism.
Certain that unless they did something radical, they would lose their only child, Josh’s parents Andrew and Kathy, quit their jobs and embarked on a quest to give Josh a reason to live and to function in life without a formal education. They did this by building on and kindling Josh’s interests in birding, photography and writing.
For an entire year they travelled to every corner of Southern Africa and spent seven weeks in the Amazon and Andes in what is known in birding circles as a “Big Year” which involves identifying as many bird species as possible in a single year, inspired by the movie of the same name.
The entire project represents Josh’s own work from photography to layout and design. His writing is a delight, honest, self-effacing and laugh out loud funny in places but sobering and tear-filled in others.
Ernie and Liesl Els had this to say: “This book has a transformative effect; like turning on a flashlight in a dark room. For readers the book serves as a delight for the senses – visually, thanks to the diverse and brilliant photography, and emotionally, through the way in which the book navigates Josh’s emotional journey”. This sentiment is shared by founding art director of Getaway magazine James Berrange who said, “the effect this book is going to have can hardly be imagined”.
The book took nearly 3 years to write, with the first edition completed when he was 16. The book is hoped to impact and give encouragement to a world where one in 68 people are thought to be on the Autism spectrum.
Josh’s plan is that Josh’s Big Year will be the first in a series of books as he video blogs his adventures and highlights conservation issues.
Julian Jansen is an author and award-winning investigative journalist. He was one of the first journalists on the scene of the De Zalze murders. He investigated the case in depth and reported on it for the Sunday weeklies Rapport and City Press, where he has been working for over a decade. He and his family live in Strand, Cape Town.
Kate Mosse, OBE, is an international bestselling author with sales of more than five million copies in 38 languages. Her fiction includes the Languedoc Trilogy, Labyrinth (2005), Sepulchre (2007) and Citadel (2012), as well as The Burning Chambers (2018).
Kate is the Co-Founder and Chair of the Board of the Women’s Prize for Fiction, known as the Bailey’s Womens Prize for Fiction as of 2014, and in June 2013 was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to literature. Kate was born in Chichester, and she now lives in Sussex.
Dr Kelly Marnewick is the Senior Trade Officer in the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Wildlife in Trade Programme. She was previously the manager of the Carnivore Conservation Programme and has been at the EWT for eight years. Her role in the Wildlife in Trade Programme sees her focusing on trafficking in various wildlife species, addressing issues around illicit and illegal trade, handling the conservation canine project and offering the scientific support to the programme. She has a particular interest in the captive breeding and keeping of carnivores for trade has been an active spokesperson on this topic. She has a PhD from the Centre for Wildlife Management at the University of Pretoria where she focussed on Cheetahs and African Wild Dogs, is a member of the IUCN Cat Specialist Group, Canid Specialist Group and the African Lion Working Group. She is also a council member of the Southern African Wildlife Management Association. She enjoys mountain biking and has completed several multi-day stage races and is also a keen runner. She has a four-year-old son who is teaching her to identify dinosaurs.
Lara is an avid photographer, blogger, writer and content marketing specialist. Her book ‘What on Earth am I?’ is a wonderful picture book with more questions than answers about the world. It follows a young child’s over-active imagination, which often leaves them confused about exactly what kind of creature they may be.
Lauren Segal is a partner of Trace, a design and exhibition company. Her recent projects include the the permanent exhibition for the Johannesburg Holocaust and Genocide Centre and the Museum of the Constitution at Constitution Hill. She has co-authored five books: One Law One Nation; Great Lives, Pivotal Moments; Mapping Memories; Number Four; the Making of Constitution Hill and Soweto: A History. She lives in Johannesburg with her husband and two children.
Lebohang Masango is a Masters candidate in Social Anthropology at the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa. She is also a children’s book author, feminist, poet, freelance writer and social commentator. Lebohang’s debut children’s story Mpumi’s Magic Beads is about friendship, self-esteem, discovery and beautiful hair in Joburg city. This particular journey began when she was chosen as one of the influencers for Standard Bank’s #Today campaign in which she organised a storytelling event for children in April 2017.
Mahdiyyah Wadee lives in Johannesburg, South Africa. She is only 10 years old and is schooling at Kingsmead College, an accredited Thinking School in Melrose, where she was inspired to love birds and nature. She is hoping to pursue her childhood hobby of writing with the intention to create awareness amongst children, with regards to endangered birds, deforestation, loss of habitat and global warming. She hopes to make a difference to the survival of all living species, in this one and only biosphere that we know.
Malebo Sephodi is a development worker and social commentator on development, identity and gender issues. She goes by the name of Lioness and describes herself as a life nomad. She is the founder of Lady Leader, a platform that allows women to just be.
Mandla Langa was born in 1950 in Durban, South Africa. After being arrested in 1976, he went into exile and has lived in Botswana, Mozambique and Angola, where he did his Umkhonto weSizwe (the armed wing of the African National Congress) military training, as well as Hungary, Zambia and the United Kingdom, where he was the African National Congress’s cultural representative. A writer and journalist, he was the first South African to be awarded the Arts Council of Great Britain bursary for creative writing, and he has been a columnist for the Sunday Independent and the New Nation. In 2007, he was the recipient of the presidential Order of Ikhamanga in Silver for his literary and journalistic contribution to democracy in South Africa. He is also the author of several acclaimed novels, including The Lost Colours of the Chameleon, which won the 2009 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book in the African region.
Mandy Wiener is an award-winning investigative journalist and author of the true-crime bestsellers Killing Kebble: An UnderworldExposed and Behind the Door: The Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp Story as well as the acclaimed memoir My SecondInitiation (co-written with Vusi Pikoli). Wiener has been reporting on crime, the courts and politics in South Africa for more than a decade.
Both Killing Kebble and My Second Initiation were short-listed for the prestigious Alan Paton Sunday Times Literary Award and chosen as Jenny Crwys-Williams’ Books of the Year in 2011 and 2013 respectively.
Maryanne and Shayle Bester are the creators of the “Cool Nguni” picture book series, as well as other South African children’s books. They are sisters who grew up on a Free State farm, and graduated from the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, Shayle majoring in Fine Art and Maryanne in Dramatic Arts.
Mark Heywood is a leading voice in the current political crisis in South Africa. He heads Section27, a human rights organisation based in Johannesburg. He was a keynote speaker at the Daily Maverick’s The Gathering in 2015 and 2016, and the first stand-in for Redi Tlhabi on Radio 702.
Mark Shaw is director of the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime and senior visiting fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science’s International Drug Policy Project. He was until recently National Research Foundation Professor of Justice and Security at the Centre of Criminology, University of Cape Town, where he is now an adjunct professor.