For me, storytelling is an ongoing personal journey: an interrogation of my own integrity and authenticity. My motivator is the exploration of the human condition and the pursuit of truth, particularly in the deep layers of the subconscious. What drives us, forms us, defines us? What are we most scared of? How do our actions (both spoken and silent) keep us trapped in suffering? We are our most beautiful when we are vulnerable – can I, as director, create an environment where it is safe enough for you to fully bare your soul?

I have been telling stories using all sorts of media all my life. I performed throughout my school career but the closest I ever came to being an actress was a 3-year part time stint as a professional clown in my twenties. It was then – safely masked with whiteface make-up – that I really began to study people…what makes them happy, sad, intrigued, repulsed, bored? What really captures the viewer’s imagination when you have nothing more than your body as a tool?

I had studied politics and photography at University. Our country was burning at the time and I felt strongly moved to be part of change. It was a dark and wild time and the camera became an effective weapon and shield for me. I submerged myself in the search for truth through the lens, allowing beauty to eventually seduce me away from the all too harsh political reality of the time.

In the mid to late 80’s, I started to play with audio visual as a medium – making 35mm images ‘move’ and interact to music and narration on huge screens in both commercial and expressionist environments. I loved it. I learnt then some of the power of the conversation that emerges when two images are juxtaposed next to each other. The editor (the manipulator?) was awakened. I worked within one of the great advertising agencies at the time, under the mentorship of one of South Africa’s greatest ad men – Brian Searle-Tripp of Ogilvy Mather, Rightford, Searle-Tripp and Makin.

I fell pregnant while working at the agency. It was a huge turning point in my life. It wasn’t a planned pregnancy and I wasn’t married. I knew that having a child was going to mean putting my dreams on the back burner for a time. But it was also a privilege and a responsibility that I was excited to embrace.

By the late 90’s, freedom had come to our country and I had kept my daughter and myself alive by founding and running a graphic design company based in Johannesburg – The Red Iron Rooster. But the push to immerse myself in the sort of story telling I had always been aiming for – filmmaking – became unavoidable. In 1997 I formed my own production company and became fully involved with documentary filmmaking.

Since then, I have made many documentaries on a variety of subjects – my first major documentary being ‘Cinderella of the Cape Flats’ – a 58 minute film about women in the clothing factories of Cape Town that has been shown at festivals all over the world. It had its international premiere as the closing film at the Vision Du Reel festival in Switzerland in 2004 and was first screened on SABC1 on the 19th of July 2004. The film has found a home in University libraries around the world as a sociological reference document.

In 2009 the call came that shifted my focus and my direction once again. I was invited to join the crew of South African ‘Survivor’ as a content director. I had been fascinated by reality television so I jumped at the chance. Since then, I have been working more and more in reality television. It still intrigues me. I know that the minute we pick up a camera, ‘reality’ ceases to be real and becomes a construct but I am totally committed to finding ways to ensure that ‘reality’ stays as authentic as possible. For me, it is a field where the human spirit can reveal itself – if it feels safe enough to stay real and not be manipulated by the production machine.

Although predominantly a director, I have experience in most fields including cinematography, scriptwriting and editing. I collaborate with and produce content for South African and international production houses and corporate companies. I also produce content on a pro-bona basis for non-profit organisations. TSiBA University is one such organisation I have been documenting and producing content for since 2006.

In essence, I am an organic storyteller, filmmaker, creative thinker, problem solver and an adventurer. I like to be in control when letting go and letting be is the key. I am naturally curious and both empathic and compassionate with the ability to hear on levels beyond the voice so have gained a reputation as a ‘people whisperer’.

In recent years I have found myself working frequently in food television and it has helped to feed a great personal love of the kitchen and the joy of cooking for loved ones. Cooking shows are fast-paced, demanding and at times quite brutal, but they are also a great deal of fun to be a part of and offer the incredible capacity for personal growth for all involved.

For three years I have been in production on a feature documentary; Tears of the Mbashe River. The film offers a haunting and poetic account of the exhumation of the remains of 12 hanged men, and the return of their “missing” bones to their families, 53 years later. It raises issues around displacement, belonging and violence – both systemic and individual – and it’s impact on communities and families, as well as putting a spotlight on the importance for human beings of knowing where our ancestors are laid to rest.

Having turned 60 in middle of 2020, I have spent a significant time re-imagining how I might show up and contribute to the world and my community for this next phase of my life. What has emerged are a number of unexpected yet totally engrossing projects using storytelling with different mediums as an artistic expression and as a social intervention around sensitive and taboo subjects.
Currently, I find myself consulting on various documentary and reality programmes and I recently designed and presented a masterclass in storytelling for colleagues in the television industry. This course is easily adaptable for many other disciplines and avenues – storytelling is, after all, at the heart of our connection to each other and the world we live in and an essential tool for finding purpose and meaning.
I am available for conversations – big and small – around any creative project trying to find its way into the world.