Writing

Writing

I offer my services as a writer of non-fiction books, articles and reports. I have extensive experience of writing. My writing has been published in many genres. These include: business and investment, the green economy, renewable energy, history, travel, food, politics, publishing, education and sport.

I am available to write

  • histories, including corporate histories
  • memoirs or a biography
  • a long report or an annual report
  • public relations copy
  • articles (subjects as above, and more)

My credentials as a writer

I have been writing full-time since 1997. I have had more than 50 books published. Most of these have been annual business publications such as Gauteng Companies 2013 (ISSN 1990-6021) and others in the series such Western Cape Business and South African Business.

There have also been history books and educational textbooks. See Publications for a fuller description of each book title. As a freelance writer, I have written articles on a very wide range of subjects. In my time as a business writer, I also gained some experience in writing articles for a corporate client.

History

Books on the history of Grey High School, the Cape Town suburb of Observatory, Langa Cricket Club and Juta & Company, the publishing house, were written between 1997 and 2007. The Juta manuscript was accepted but the book is still to be published. In 2004 I contributed seven biographies to Penguins’ Great South Africans: General Jan Smuts; Eugene Terreblanche; Chief Albert Luthuli; Robert Sobukwe; Danny Jordaan; Cecil John Rhodes; JBM Hertzog.

Education

Since 2010 I have been involved in textbook writing with Maskew Miller Longman and Pearson. I wrote the Teachers’ Guide for Grade 4 History and Geography and was the co-author of English Home Language Grade 11 X-Kit Achieve! and a Grade 12 book of exam scripts and memoranda. I taught English and History for 14 years and was the headmaster and director of a night school for adults for 12 years.

Business and energy

Between 2008 and 2013 I wrote more than 50 books on business and investment. Every economic sector, including energy, has been covered in my writing.

TradeInvest Lagos. A guide to business and investment in Lagos State (Project manager, editor and principal author, Africa Investment Publishing Ltd) in 2008 was followed by TradeInvest Nigeria and TradeInvest Kwara, another state in Nigeria. A series of annual print publications about the economy of each South Africa’s nine provinces was written in this time, together with three versions of South African Business, (published by Global Africa Network, which became Frontier Market Network). The titles of these annual publications (an example of which can be viewed at www.westerncapebusiness.co.za) are: Western Cape Business Gauteng Companies Mpumalanga Companies North West Business Free State Business Limpopo Business KwaZulu-Natal Business Eastern Cape Business Northern Cape Business

Research for these books has given me a very good understanding of the details of economic development in every region in South Africa. Sectoral overviews typically covered:

  • Agriculture
  • Banking and Financial services
  • Business Process Outsourcing
  • Construction and Property
  • Education and Training
  • Energy and Renewable Energy
  • Engineering
  • Manufacturing
  • Mining
  • Oil and Gas
  • Telecommunications
  • Transport and Logistics
  • Tourism
  • Water

In addition to these regular overviews, every publication carried two or more Special Features which I wrote. A small selection of topics include: the Square Kilometre Array Telescope, Chinese interest in mining, the game hunting industry (Northern Cape) the role of ports in the economy, a focus on a Big Five of Tongaat Hulett, Hulamin, Unilever, Bell Equipment and Toyota (KwaZulu-Natal) Sappi’s big investment in new technologies (Mpumalanga) the tourism events industry, rural development (Eastern Cape) Sasol’s expansion plans, rural development, creative industries (Free State) new rail lines for agricultural exports, the importance of logistics, the booming town of Rustenburg (North West) Medupi power station, De Hoop Dam (Limpopo) exciting new architecture, railway workshops boom, new investments in manufacturing, Gautrain, acid mine drainage (Gauteng) exports, the maritime industry, Stellenbosch (Western Cape) funding Africa’s infrastructure drive, the Southern African renewable energy private producers’ programme, SA after 20 years of democracy (SAB).

For the website www.frontiermarketnetwork.com (the successor to GAN), I wrote feature-length articles on a wide variety of topics including African infrastructure, African trade finance, the concept of the aerotropolis, the renewable energy industry and conducted interviews with Spanish Consul-General and Danish and Swedish investors and investment bodies. For Frontier, I travelled to Denmark on a water study-tour and filed more than ten stories about water and related Green Economy issues.

Public relations

While working for Global Africa Network, I wrote articles for Transnet Engineering for inclusion in publications such as Eastern Cape Business. The pages were branded with the TE logo. I visited workshops in Cape Town, Uitenhage and Durban, conducted interviews and wrote up my experiences. (see pdfs)

Freelance contributor to:

The Weekender, Mail & Guardian, Sunday Independent, Sunday World, Cape Argus, Cape Times, The Times, Sunday Times, SA Cricket Action, Sports Illustrated (SA), Wisden Cricket Monthly, The Sunday Times and The Observer, (UK), Inside Sport (Australia), Hindustan Times (India). Subjects include a play about WP Schreiner, elections in Guyana, the Italian village of Mandela, cricket, cricket history, braais, hockey, rugby, dressage champion, JM Coetzee and cricket, yachting, Charles Fortune, kite-flying, profile of soccer club owner, golf in Wales, food, travel in West Indies, nation-building and Cape Town’s Olympic bid. Book reviews for Cape Argus and Mail & Guardian.

Interested in my writing services?

contact me

TRAINING

Training, mentoring and cricket coaching

Training

Training for writers is offered. My background in teaching and journalism equips me to work with and train writers.

I am familiar with, and can offer guidance on, the appropriate styles for

  • news stories
  • feature-length articles
  • interviews
  • history books
  • text books
  • minutes of meetings and agendas
  • memoirs and others types of writing

How to write a good lead is one of the skills that I can impart. Other aspects that could be covered include

  • interviewing techniques
  • writing for an audience
  • logical content organisation
  • how to pitch a story (for freelancers).

Mentoring

I am available to mentor young writers as a follow-up to the training process, or independently. This could involve brain-storming before a story is written (or about a writing brief), commenting on drafts and being available as a sounding-board.

In terms of reading manuscripts, my main areas of content expertise are history, business and cricket. With regard to style, presentation, organisation, language use, tone, punctuation and paragraphing, my background as an English teacher has prepared me to comment on any type of writing.

My credentials

Training

I have a Higher Diploma in Education (Rhodes University), taught for 14 years at a high school and was the principal and director of a night school (Cwesi Adult Learning Centre) for 12 years. I was a tutor in the University of Cape Town History Department for one year.

During my time at Global Africa Network, a business publishing house, I was the initiator and co-presenter of a training programme for writers. This included a set of lectures on the principles of business writing, interview techniques and some practical exercises; writing assignments and interviewing and photographing in the field.

Mentoring

Through my involvement in Langa Cricket Club and Langa Hockey Club I have done a lot of mentoring, both to the clubs (committee organisation, writing of agendas and minutes, etc) and to individuals in terms of career guidance and general mentoring.

I have been the ‘reader’ on many occasions for authors wanting comment on their manuscripts in draft form.

Interested in my training services?

contact me

Research

Research

I am a qualified and experienced researcher and I would be glad to consider research in any field.

My own training and history is largely in

  • history (mostly South African, political and sporting)
  • urban development
  • publishing
  • business and investment in South Africa
  • business and investment in Africa
  • education
  • the green economy, including renewable energy
  • cricket and cricket history

My credentials in research

My training as a historian and as a journalist has prepared me to do research. I also love it.

I have a BJourn from Rhodes University and a History Honours (first class) from the University of Cape Town.

When the late Kadar Asmal was Minister of Water Affairs, he hired me to sort out his papers in preparation for the writing of his autobiography. I enjoyed the task of categorising this most eclectic collection of papers, from the Irish Anti-Apartheid Movement, through the battles about whether or not to build dams, to the struggle for freedom of the Kurds.

I have at various times assisted other authors with information or searched for items at the archives or in the National Library.

Research for my own books has obviously given me good practice in research skills. Topics include black cricket history, a Cape Town suburb, one of South Africa’s oldest schools, South Africa’s oldest publishing house and a range of business books. See Publications.

For the six years to 2013 I did research on the economies of South Africa’s nine provinces, South Africa, three Nigerian states, Nigeria and Africa. This research was in support of my writing as the author of books which included TradeInvest Nigeria, South African Business, Western Cape Business and Gauteng Companies.

Interested in my research services?

contact me

Editing

Editing and proof-reading

I am available to edit or proof-read any text. I can also be a reader of manuscripts in my areas of expertise.

The level of these services is negotiable. In terms of editing, you may, for example, only want a light read-through for style consistency or you may want a more thorough edit that includes every aspect of grammar. There is only one kind of proof-reading, and that is detailed proof-reading.

As a reader for content, I can offer considerable experience in several fields, most particularly:

  • history (mostly South African, political and sporting)
  • urban development
  • publishing
  • business and investment in South Africa
  • business and investment in Africa
  • education
  • the green economy, including renewable energy
  • cricket and cricket history.

My editing and proof-reading credentials

I was an English teacher and I am active as an English textbook writer. As a journalism student, I worked in holidays as a sub-editor on the Rand Daily Mail and the Mercury. I have attended a proof-reading course run by Russell Martin at the Centre for the Book. I proof-read the extensive footnotes in Professor Andre Odendaal’s book about the founders of the African National Congress, The Founders (Jacana). The proof-reading of another of Professor Odendaal’s books, The Blue Book (Fanele), was a big challenge because it contained many detailed statistics and scorecards. Woolmer on Cricket (Virgin), by Bob Woolmer is another book I proof-read.

Interested in my editing and proof-reading services?

contact me