Winner of the 2016 John Kannemeyer Award for Biography, awarded by the SA Independent Publishers' Association.

Just Imagine

When South Africa started experiencing power outages in 2007, a young South African started thinking about what he could do. Michael Mcebisi Msizi thought about his time as a political exile in Denmark, and he thought about his family's home in the Tsitsikamma — and the wind that blew there.

In 2016 the Tsitsikamma Community Wind Farm (TCWF) will start producing electricity from the 95 megawatt capacity installation.

This book tells how Mike's ambitious idea was shaped into a remarkable reality. Cleaner energy company Cennergi, the lead developer and majority shareholder in the TCWF, is the publisher of Just Imagine. The story of Mike Msizi, the Tsitsikamma Mfengu and the Tsitsikamma Community Wind Farm.

Mike tragically did not live to see the wind farm operating so the book is a tribute to him. Just Imagine also tells the fascinating and little-known story of how the Tsitsikamma Mfengu came to live where they do in the Lower Tsitsikamma. They gained the land under colonialism, lost it under apartheid and gained it again just before the democratic era. It is a story of perseverance and courage in the face of adversity.

In telling the three stories, Just Imagine shines a spotlight on traumatic aspects of South Africa's past, but also shows that South Africans are capable of achieving great things when hard work is applied to ambitious dreams.

The book was the winner of the 2016 John Kannemeyer Award for Biography, awarded by the SA Independent Publishers' Association.

John Young captures the tragedy of our history but also the excitement of what Mike Mcebisi Msizi contributed to his people and their future.  A must read for anyone interested in history or in the future of our country.”
— Thomas Garner, Cennergi Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, Tsitsikamma Community Wind Farm.


South African Business Publications

Annual journals giving up-to-date insights into the economy of each of South Africa's provinces, and an annual publication called South African Business. I researched and wrote these books between 2008 and 2013, and picked up again when publication was resumed in 2016. Published by Global Africa Network.

Detailed overviews are provided of all major economic sectors, such as manufacturing, mining, agriculture and tourism. Where a province has a specific sector, such as automotive (Eastern Cape) or maritime (Western Cape), these are analysed separately and Special Features focus on unique projects or events: the De Hoop Dam (Limpopo), the Square Kilometre Array telescope (Northern Cape) and articles on Sappi (Mpumalanga) and Sasol (Free State).

The Premier's office or provincial government generally endorse these publications and they have been very well received by provincial investment agencies, advertisers and readers.


The Spirit of the Tower The Grey 1856-2006

The history of the Grey schools of Port Elizabeth on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Grey High School. I wrote the book and was the project manager in seeing that this 260-page hard cover book was laid out, edited, produced and printed on time for the anniversary celebrations. The text contains a full review of the chronological history of the High and Junior Schools from the time of the first classes on the Donkin Reserve. The narrative section, enlivened with the anecdotes and memories of past pupils and former teachers, is divided into four eras. Specific aspects of the Grey's history are covered in thematic chapters which cover topics as diverse as the School Song, Art, Religion, Sport and Cadets. A separate chapter is devoted to the magnificent buildings and architecture of the Mill Park campus, to which the school relocated in 1915.

Observatory, A Town in the Suburbs A History of Observatory 1881-1913

First published in 1998 by the Josephine Mill Press, the book came out of my History Honours thesis at the University of Cape Town. Richly illustrated with maps and photographs, the book traces Observatory's rapid growth from a largly neglected rural area to a thriving village that developed an identity of its own. The great catalyst for the area's fast development was the discovery of minerals in South Africa's interior: this spurred immigration and drove the need for new areas for people to settle in and for industries to establish themselves. The municipality of Woodstock, under which a large part of Observatory fell, was one of the fastest growing urban economies in the world at the time. The rise of local institutions such as the churches and the library is covered in detail, as are the issues of class and race.

Langa Cricket Club - 21 Years

Editor and principal author of the publication that celebrated Langa Cricket Club's 21st anniversary. The publication was distributed around South Africa by what was then the United Cricket Board of South Africa. Income for the club was derived from advertisments that I sourced from Castle Lager, PPC Cement, Safmarine, Bakers, Total, the Cape Times, MTN, KPMG, Standard Bank, amongst others. I have written many newspaper and magazine articles on cricket and several on cricket history. In addition, I have done a lot of reading, proof-reading and editing for Professor Andre Odendaal, the leading authority on black cricket history.

X-Kit Achieve Grade 11English Home Language

Co-author together with Betsy Tucker and Justin Kennedy of this book of English questions and answers for publishing house Pearson, 2012. The X-Kit is a very popular and well-regarded series, providing opportunities for revision and self-testing in all the sections covered by the English syllabus. Major sections include grammar and textual editing, comprehension, visual literacy, poetry and literary devices, transactional writing, summaries and creative writing. I am co-authoring another Pearson publication for English First Additional Language in 2014.

Nigerian Business publications

I have authored three books on business and investment in Nigeria: TradeInvest Lagos (2008); TradeInvest Nigeria (2009); and TradeInvest Kwara (2010/11). All three were published by Africa Invesment Publishing. In the case of TradeInvest Nigeria I was the principal author, project manager and editor. All of the major sectors of the economy were analysed in detail, both for the national publication and for the two state books. Special features included articles on the opportunities offered by free trade zones, power generation in the region, a cement factory in Sokoto state and case studies relating to agriculture and furniture manufacturing.

Great South Africans

I contributed seven brief biographies to the Penguin Books project, Great South Africans, in 2004. My subjects were General Jan Smuts, Eugene Terreblanche, Chief Albert Luthuli, Robert Sobukwe, Danny Jordaan, Cecil John Rhodes and JBM Hertzog. I also proof-read a number of the other biographies.


Energy and the green economy


Client writing