Past work and experience

I’m an editor, journalist and campaigner with broad print and web (Mail & Guardian, Research Africa) and some TV experience; my reporting has ranged from theatre to science writing and sustainability. My past areas of specialisation have been science, human rights, the medical and social impacts of HIV/Aids; and more recently, sustainability and climate change. I am a good public speaker; my talks and campaign work currently focus on the intersection between culture, finance and environment.

I have considerable additional experience copy-editing and proof-reading non-fiction and academic texts for publishers and organisations like the HSRC and Foundation for Human Rights. I also have  seven years prior experience as an advertising copywriter with various agencies.

My formal education concluded with a BA majoring in English literature at the University of Cape Town. Since 2013, I have been working on a campaign to persuade investors to withdraw from companies producing the oil, gas and coal that when burnt causes climate change.

Curriculum vitae

  • From 2013-15, in addition to my freelance writing and editing work, I launched a climate change campaign called Fossil Free South Africa.  This has involved considerable ongoing research, lobbying, fundraising and public speaking, especially since the latter half of 2014.
  • In 2012, I continued freelance writing for newspapers and NGOs. I spent a great deal of time working as a volunteer member of the founding organising committee for a new campaign for electoral and party finance reform, My Vote Counts. I also spent considerable time working on creating a new project for publishing sustainability data, and did some fiction editing.
  • From 2010 through early 2012, in addition to freelance work, I was a part-time assistant director, mostly focusing on communications, at the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI). This was a secondment from SAFCEI’s board, and ended after COP 17.
  • In 2009, I wrote articles on climate change and sustainability for The Weekender (the now defunct weekend edition of Business Day), and Project 90×2030; and maintained a blog for Incite Sustainability as an associate.
    I initiated and fund-raised for a project to brief South African editors in all media on climate change-related issues ahead of the COP15 negotiations in Copenhagen in December 2009. This briefing was attended by then UK climate minister Ed Milliband.
  • In 2008, I continued with academic editing, some journalism for the magazines African Communications and MindShift, and editing and concept work for the consultancy Incite Sustainability.
  • In early 2008, I was contracted for four months as editor of the leading African research policy journal, Research Africa, producing twice-weekly electronic newsletters and a monthly print publication. Later in the year, I made a substantial contribution to editing the Centre for Conflict Resolution book, From Global Apartheid to Global Village: Africa and the United Nations.
  • In 2006/7, I worked as a freelance editor, editing and proofreading documents and books for academia and NGOs, much of it for AfriMap (Open Society Foundation), including two books for the Centre for Conflict Resolution.
  • 2003–5: I worked mostly for the Community Media Trust in Cape Town, researching, interviewing and directing for an SABC1 TV series, Siyayinqoba Beat It!, a ground-breaking magazine programme on HIV and HIV treatment, and on their 20-part DVD training series on HIV treatment literacy.
  • From November 2001 till mid 2003, I lived in London, during which time I wrote freelance science stories for The Economist, and freelanced as a sub-editor for Guardian Unlimited (the web edition of the Guardian).
  • From 1998–2001, a period of nearly four years, I worked for the Mail & Guardian. I began as a sub on the website, then moved to the paper where I first covered technology and personal finance. That developed into writing on economics, investigative work, and science and environmental journalism: I wrote several articles on the management of big dams and the work of the Kader Asmal-chaired World Commission on Dams, then still active.
  • In 2001, I became editor of M&G Online. I played a key role in restoring the fortunes of that then neglected part of the M&G brand.
  • 1992–7 saw me working in advertising as a copywriter, for Ogilvy & Mather (one year) and Sonnenberg’s (two years). I freelanced (much of it for then Herdbuoys) for two years, then went fulltime again at BLGK/Bates in 1997.
  • 1991: SADF conscript. 1990:  1987–90: BA (UCT). 1986: Matric, Damelin College.

Skills

  • Writing, research and journalism, especially science, environment and human rights-related
  • Editing (primarily academic and non-fiction, with more limited experience of editing fiction and poetry)
  • Sustainability and environment
  • Public speaking
  • Copy writing
  • Internet (blogging, website management, social media)

Strengths and values

I like and have good instincts for people. I work well with others in egalitarian environments, and enjoy training and mentoring. Respect, encouragement and humour are my preferred management tools.

I’m a strong thinker, writer and editor, powers I turn to communicating clearly and memorably.

I have an adept technical mind, and have taught myself everything I know about building, maintaining and updating websites; and comfortably acquire other computer skills as needed.

My values begin with a firm belief not only in the sanctity of human life and the importance of human rights, but in the importance of grounding these values in our most fleeting interactions with others.

Some personal interests

I read widely, write poetry, enjoy the theatre and concoct great food without lifting a recipe book. I recently began learning to play the violin. I occasionally play squash, row, climb or skate. I run and walk on mountains whenever I can. I am fascinated by the indigenous plants (fynbos) of the Cape, which I photograph and grow when I can. More of all this here.

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