“The women who made me”

Author of The In­side-out Man talks the women who have shaped him.

Glamour (South Africa) - - Guide/Inspiration - by Fred Stry­dom

Bron­wen Stry­dom Wife

I’m con­vinced that if I hadn’t met Bron­wen five years ago, I’d never have fin­ished my first novel, let alone my sec­ond. My wife is more than just my part­ner, con­fi­dant and best friend – she has be­lieved in me like no­body else, en­cour­ag­ing me to pur­sue my dreams. Pow­er­ful, coura­geous and self­less, Bron is an on­go­ing in­spi­ra­tion to both my­self and our son, Char­lie-max. The only real credit I can take is that I recog­nised this soon enough and asked her to marry me.

Brenda Ra­sool Grand­mother

Grow­ing up, my brother and I would spend every school hol­i­day with our grand­mother Brenda, and the big­gest les­son I learnt from her is to be to­tally your­self – to ap­ply a what-you-see-is-what-you-get at­ti­tude to ev­ery­thing you do and ev­ery­one you meet. She was a 21st-cen­tury woman born out of her time. Al­though she’s passed, and it was a long and dif­fi­cult exit, my mem­ory will al­ways be of her jiv­ing in the liv­ing room, boast­ing, “I bet your friends don’t have a ma as young as yours!”

Juliet Vo­er­man Mother

I’ve al­ways been amazed by how strong-willed and spir­ited my mother Juliet has been in the face of ad­ver­sity. Only when I got older did I realise how much she did to pro­tect my brother and me, and the dif­fi­cult choices she had to make to en­sure we got the best pos­si­ble up­bring­ing. Sup­port­ive, open-minded, good-hu­moured and as gen­uine as can be, my mother is un­doubt­edly the woman who shaped me more than any­one else.

Caster Se­menya Olympic ath­lete

I re­cently got to work with Caster at an event, and while I’m not the type to fawn over celebs, I have to ad­mit that she is some­one wor­thy of all the hero-wor­ship that comes her way. Larger than life yet mag­nan­i­mously mod­est, Caster’s tale of tri­umph in spite of the most try­ing so­cial ob­sta­cles is one that makes those of other suc­cess­ful ath­letes seem mid­dling by com­par­i­son.

Jenny Mal­lett Teacher

My late Grade two teacher at St Ge­orge’s Gram­mar School has to go down as one of the big­gest and bold­est per­son­al­i­ties I ever en­coun­tered. In many ways, her early pres­ence in my life af­fected me for years to come. Sis­ter of for­mer SA rugby coach Nick Mal­lett, it was no leap to be­lieve they were sib­lings forged in the same kiln, with a tough, no-non­sense at­ti­tude, cou­pled with the rare abil­ity to lead and in­spire in equal mea­sure. Jenny was like no one I’d ever met be­fore, and like few peo­ple I’ve met since.

Sue Townsend Author

When it came to early read­ing habits, I didn’t re­ally want to read about the zany ad­ven­tures of other kids. Sue, how­ever, was the one author who man­aged to con­vince me. Her char­ac­ter Adrian Mole pro­vided the com­fort of know­ing that I was far less alone in the world than I thought.

The In­side

Out Man by Fred Stry­dom (Pen­guin Ran­dom House; R230), is avail­able in book stores.

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