“The women who made me”
Author of The Inside-out Man talks the women who have shaped him.
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.
Out Man by Fred Strydom (Penguin Random House; R230), is available in book stores.