Writer’s Profiles

September 2nd, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Alex Papadopulos

Alex was born in 1980 to immigrants from the UK and Greece (sounds so gypsy-like). He lived in middle-class suburbia since he was born and received a education from private schools ranging from a Hebrew nursey school to an all boys Catholic school, all of which taught him important lessons in life – what those lessons are, we are sure to find out.

After completing school he went on to complete a Bachelors of Information Technology degree and used it the best way he could – to travel to London and Europe for a year. Once that was out of his system he seemingly buckled down to start a career, which eventually led him to his current job in the United States.

He is now married, recently bought a house and again lives in middle-class suburbia.

Colleen Figg

Colleen was raised in the Southern Suburbs of Jo’burg in the 70’s and 80’s and attended two prestigious schools (not simultaneously) where she spent a lot of time mucking about, back-chatting teachers, bunking school and generally thinking she was an advanced member of the species.

In the intervening 25 odd years she has realised she is in fact an advanced member of the species but that it is better to keep factoids like this under her hat as they tend to alienate people and make them feel insecure.

For the past two years she has maintained a very successful and well read bi-weekly column on the well-known News24 media site, and now, in the interest of progress and further learning curves, she has thrown her lot in with www.oldtakkiesindaba.com as she believes this will turn out to be something great in terms of dialogue, which this country’s people so desperately need.

She also maintains a blog on the News24 Blog site which has been in existence for over a year. Prior to that she has had a blog on MySpace and that has been in existence since 2005.

She loves writing. And blogging.

She lives at the sea and works for a firm of architects in her spare time.


Diva was born in the smallest big city in South Africa, Port Elizabeth, along the East Coast. The second of three sisters, she spent her formative years in the even smaller town of Upington, in the Northern Cape, when her parents separated. Her family eventually moved back to Port Elizabeth when her parents reunited, but the reunion did not last and a large part of her younger life was spent between homes.

Now living and working as a Quality Engineer for a software company in Cape Town, she started her career as a lab technician at the institution from which she earned her Diploma and later her Degree in IT.

A 30-something single mother, she divides her time between her son and mother (who lives with her), her work and her friends, while indulging her love of good books, good food, cocktails, red wine and adventure whenever the opportunity arises.


An Eastern Cape farm girl who has always wanted to see the word and to know how it works. After a few brief years at home her parents deemed it fit to send her to the local hostel of a very small little town where life was never dull and people very strange. She progressed from a small Afrikaans community to a big English Girls School where life seemed to swing around and her world changed.

What followed was many years in Stellenbosch, where studying seemed dull in comparison with everything else to do. She managed to finish her degree and started to get the hang of it so she continued on further. After a few years the next logical step was to move to one of the most exciting cities in the world.

She now lives in London, a city she enjoys very much and from where she has the opportunity to see the world. She misses the farm and youth, even though she still has to find out what it feels like to be a grown-up.

Pablo Masie

Pablo Masie was born in 1983 at his grandmother’s house in a place called Winterveldt (on the outskirts of Pretoria, where Mabopane and Soshanguve meet). He spent the first seven years of his life there until moving to Soshanguve as Winterveldt was still under President Mangope, the old Bophuthatswana.

After completing his education at a technical high school he moved to Jozi in 2002 and has been staying in Marshalltown since then. In 2003 he went to Wits, to redo his maths and science, in the hopes of getting into a good tertiary institution (unfortunately it did not work out).

In 2004 he decided to go to college to study mechanical engineering but realised that it was not one of the things he wanted in his life and later enrolled in a music technology course. In 2006 he became Mr CJC and that inspired him to take up modeling seriously and looked for an agency. He gained experience in the entertainment industry through two years of modelling after moving on after realising that the financial and intellectual stimulation is not enough.

Right now, he is working in a well known bank, in what he says is, “considered a real job” but does have plans to go back to school to further his career and education.

Carla Nunes

Carla Nunes first popped up on the radar in 1983 in the vicinity of Kensington, Johannesburg. Her mother from England and her father from a small island off the coast of Portugal called Madeira; Carla was never sure where she really belonged. However, as time went on, she found her way and now considers herself proudly South African. She attended a prestigious Catholic convent in the East Rand, where she later matriculated. Now working for a publication in Rosebank she is fulfilling her lifetime dream of being able to communicate with people through the power of the written word.

The Cloudgazer

The Cloudgazer was born at a very young age. He grew up in the 80s listening to Duran Duran, Culture Club and Wham! He was the proud owner of a mullet before he was thirteen, and went to his Bar Mitzvah dressed as Michael Jackson.

He made his transition to manhood at approximately the same time as South Africa emerged from the Dark Ages.

Karabelo Mokoena

I was born in Sebokeng, a township just out of Johannesburg. We soon moved to Soweto and I was enrolled into Redhill Nursery School. My time would be spent between Morningside, Sandton and several different locations in Soweto. Luckily I received a bursary from a young age, so financially my going to a private school did not cripple my parents, both of whom were schoolteachers, financially.

During my school holidays I always went to the Orange Free State, which is where my mother’s family was based. By the time I was 6 years old, I was speaking 6 of the 11 official languages. This flair for languages continued through my school career where I did English, Afrikaans, Zulu and French.
Although I was a gifted student, I leaned towards the arts.

I enjoyed creative writing, but my true talent was acting. I was given a scholarship to study Accounting once I had completed my schooling, but to my parent¹s horror, I dropped out and found another scholarship to study Advertising. I have been a Copywriter ever since, with stints of presenting and acting for 8 years.

I am an example of a child of the new South Africa. With so many different influences, and knowing 8 of the 11 official languages, I get on with everybody!

Motheo Moleko

Motheo was born in the mid 80s – what seems like the other day, but really isn’t. He grew up in Johannesburg whilst spending much of his off time visiting family in Rustenburg. “One foot in the burbs, and the other firmly planted in the hood” is what he describes his somewhat (but not quite) vagabond-like ways and he accredits it as being the reason he understands people of vastly differing backgrounds.

An entrepreneur determined to change the world, he spends much time musing philosophically, thinking politically and waxing lyrically. Finishing off a degree at UCT, Motheo is now a proud Capetonian encouraging people to think, then comment.

Ann B

She considers herself to have been a stranger all her life, as one of the children of young immigrant parents, she was often teased for her weird English accent. She landed in the old Transvaal as a 4 year old and lived in a small town about an hour’s drive from Johannesburg. At school she was a loner who was addicted to books and did not socialize much. After school she went to teachers training college but her first stint of teaching prac. persuaded her that it was not the correct career choice. She then joined the working plebs starting at a bank. She is currently, in her parlance, “an office jockey” for a company based in Gauteng.

In her mid twenties she developed a hearing problem that created further challenges in communications with others but after surgery this has been remedied somewhat. This isolation has given her a slightly off centre perspective of the world, a case of the “outsider” looking in.

She is currently a married, working mom with a passion for the internet, especially news and sports. South Africa is her home and is where she is bringing up her children to be South Africans who are proud of their diverse heritage.

Rob Valentine

Rob was born in 1982 and has been having birthdays every year with no sign of quitting. An occasional writer with at least two unpublished books gathering dust in a cupboard, he splits most of his time between teaching, running a website with tens of visitors and finding new and interesting ways to waste time.

Wendy Birt

Wendy was born in 1975 in the old Transvaal. (She now lives in a flat in Gardens, Cape Town with her cat-dog Oscar.) At the age of six she wanted to be a traffic cop, so she could hide in the bushes. Then came the marine biologist phase (aged 13), the lawyer phase (thanks to LA Law) and finally, the shrink phase.

Four-years-at-Maties later, that didn’t work out. So, she now works in advertising (for her sins) as a copywriter. She regularly indulges in updating her blog and rewrites the first (and only) page of her book with passionate abandon (in her head, late at night, when 503 keeps her awake with their techno habit). She’s a self-professed and unashamed curtain-twitcher and possibly the worst speller you’ll ever read.

Christopher Georgiou

Chris was born in the early 80’s somewhere in the backwaters of a Johannesburg hospital to 2 concerned Cypriot parents. “Most parents would be concerned if their child was born with facial hair” says the bearded man before me. “I actually shaved this morning” he continues. Once Chris had left the teat, an aptitude for drinking out the bottle, projectile vomiting and poor decision making became prevalent. Chris sullenly admits that by the time he had finished high school, not much had changed for him. When asked his opinion about the Old Takkies Indaba, he declares with a glint of melancholy in his eye, “Those ‘93 Jordans, with the white straps across the top. Those were my favorite old takkies”. I have my doubts about this man’s mental capacity.

Moving out of high school and into the varsity side of life, music occupied much of Chris’s interest. The soothing sounds of bands like The Offspring and Metallica could be heard emanating from his room during his “quiet time”. He explains this with the eloquent phrase, “I used to like it hard back then”. Chris went on to finish his bachelors and post grad in Logistics and is currently working in a corporate field completely unrelated to said studies. “That is why I am so good at my job” says the corporate sourcing buyer. What ever that is.

Over the years Chris has been inclined towards the written poem for expression but today prefers to write without the “teenage angst, heartache and performance enhancers”. The prospect of offending the public with such a writer’s portfolio is alarming. That is, if he had any kind of significant portfolio to speak of. But fear not fellow reader, because most people won’t understand a single thing that this man writes anyway.

Zak Wood

Zak is a wastrel and a drifter, currently wasting the prime of his life doing things he really enjoys, rather than anything which might result in long term stability, or “prospects”.

He currently lives in China, where he is learning to be tolerant.

The question he is asked most often these days is “If you’re really from South Africa, why aren’t you black?”. Zak loves this question, and the frequent acceptance of his answer that it’s because he stays out of the sun, because that’s all you need to say about race, isn’t it? It’s just about sun, man, nothing more.

Nevenka Ristic

With a name like Nevenka, and parents called Janet and Dragoslav, it was destined that she would be somewhat different, and well, confused. Nevenka is a dabbler. She dabbled in Philosophy for six years (which just confused her more) and is currently dabbling in cooking, writing, travelling, exercise, and most recently, the carving of a wooden Noh mask. When she is not dabbling, she is teaching Japanese teenagers to say I eat rice instead of, I eat lice. Nevenka does not want to teach English in her real life, but is enjoying it at the moment because it allows her to live out her childhood fantasy of becoming an actress. When all her students can say I eat rice correctly, she plans to return home to South Africa and become a kimono-clad-Noh-mask-wearing sushi critic.


SANDYRULZ was an advertising creative who was able to give up when she was old enough to know and still young enough to enjoy it.

Thus, she is able to sit here and type this, escaping winter, in the beachfront apartment in Umhlanga Rocks, with it’s all-year-round-summer, far away from her beachfront apartment in Cape Town, which is hanging in the midst of a windy-rainy-grey-ball-of-depression.

She is childless and single – thus, she is able to sit here and type this, escaping winter, in the beachfront apartment in Umhlanga Rocks, with it’s all-year-round-summer, far away from her beachfront apartment in Cape Town, which is hanging in the midst of a windy-rainy-grey-ball-of-depression.

Thanks to the Two Money Wizards Of The North (dad and brother), she would’ve been the maid who is about to ring the doorbell.

This will force her to either go surfing or running – depending on what waves Aquaman will grant us with today, as He has been a miser the last few days.


Chatsubo was born in 1980, and was immediately enrolled into the Afrikaner induction program. Raised in an industrial town as a thinker among factory workers, he only ever had cheap takkies like “North Star” and “Hi-Tech”. Usually wearing them to destruction (which wasn’t that long), and enjoyed tuning into “Tekkies”.

He left the factories and dirt to go study in the bastion of afrikanerdom that is Pretoria. There he completed both his B.Sc. and B.Sc.Hons. degrees in Computer Science. After that he moved to Johannesburg and found a profound love for the place and it’s diversity of people and opinions. Although he still travels back and forth over Gauteng province so much that he considers most of it his home.

He loves nothing more than to deconstruct the assumed, and to search for truth over opinion. As such much of what could be described as “Afrikaner” has been shrugged off, and now prefers more the title of “person”.

Pani Savva

A 27 year old Greek South African who has lived in South Africa his whole life. A currently unemployed soon-to-be attorney who has always played too many video games, he goes online too much and thinks about things a little too deeply and fluctuates between stoic and cynic.

Michelle Cowan

Born in Zimbabwe in 1974, but raised mostly in Johannesburg, South Africa, Michelle obtained a degree in English and Law from Wits University before branching into everything other than English and Law. Fifteen years later, she has come full circle and is actively seeking a career in the publishing industry, as her love of the English language is now demanding to be used, rather than simply toyed with.

Michelle has lived in South Africa most of her life, but spent a year living in the USA before marrying a science genius whose career has taken them first to Norway and then to England.

Good Charlie

He’s terribly young (born in 1988) and already has dreams of owning his own fleet of Bentley Continentals. He has been called, amongst other things, a counter revolutionary and a coconut. He is terribly proud of the fact that the government has expressed its disapproval of him, but he is also just as chagrined for having voted for Cope in the previous elections.

Sipho Hlongwane (who would much rather be referred to as Good Charlie, thank you very much) is a University of Cape Town dropout, and now works in the manufacturing industry. Whenever he remembers to, he studies towards an LLB at UNISA. He writes book reviews for a radio station, and hosts a weekly broadcast on the same station.

Good Charlie has a raucous blog on letterdash.com (previously blogs.24.com), and would like to publish a book in the future, if he can only get down to actually writing it.

He presents the younger perspective of South Africa, though one that is not laced with quasi-political musings that one has come to expect of South African youths who have an ‘interest’ in the many happenings around South Africa.

Robin Hawkins

Robin Hawkins was born in Durban in 1954, and spent his entire school life in the three Port Natal schools, where his mother taught Afrikaans. Growing up in a very English enclave his school years were spent either as Afrikaner vrot Banana, or Daardie Ingelsman met lang hare, so needless to say he preferred to avoid schoolmates.

He started writing verse in both English and Afrikaans while still at school, but his ambitions toward verbal art really became concrete when he moved to Stellenbosch and had the privilege of studying under the late Dirk Opperman. At Opperman’s insistence he had some work published by Tafelberg in a collection of poets in the mid 70s but soon relinquished the printed word in favour of writing music and “lyrics” for the band he founded in the early 80s, ARTVARK and he remained active in that area for about 15 to 20 years.

With the demise of the band, he continued writing text, but remained convinced that paper-publishing was a waste of time, and now produces work on his blog, in both English and Afrikaans. He also relishes a home-grown Cape Flats form of Gonzo-journalism, where anything is open to question or discussion. His kids see him as the oldest “punk” around, and he is proud of the label. To him, rules will always be mere points of departure.

Poppy Fields

Poppy slid into the world on a typically wet Cape evening in the mid-70s. She was cruelly separated from The Mother City in her 6th year and forcibly transplanted in big, bad Jozi where she proceeded to become a typically spiky Joburger. The next 20 years passed unremarkably.

In 2001, Poppy unexpectedly became an ex-pat, although if you refer to her as such you are likely to receive a swift, pointy-booted kick to the shins. After meeting on the internet, Poppy and the Nice Canadian Boy she enchanted with her exotic accent decided to throw caution to the wind and get married. She now lives in Canada’s Wild West with the NCB. It is remarkably similar to the Highveld.

Poppy enjoys arguing over whether South Africa is a real country or not and takes great pleasure in driving through the Canadian wilderness with unlocked doors. Her armour-coating is slowly wearing off and she can almost (almost) be friendly to strangers now. She is deeply horrified by the decline of her grammar in the New World and misses being able to insert uniquely South African concepts and exclamations into conversation.

If you ever meet a North American who knows what a “geroeste doos” is, it is likely a result of Poppy’s dedication to international cultural relations.

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