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Sharon Van Wyk


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Sharon Van Wyk

Nickname: 'Shaz'

Director Painted Earth Productions

Currently resides in: Gauteng, South Africa

Born in Cambridge United Kingdom

I have been involved in mainstream journalism and media for 30 years, starting out as writer/production editor on music magazines in the 1980s, progressing to daily newspapers, where I spent the latter part of the 80s and all of the 90s.

At the start of the 21st century I turned freelance, working for the Mail & Guardian, where, as Travel Editor, I launched the paper's travel section, Escape. From there I branched out into a range of different publications, web and blog-sites.

In 2006 I launched my own media company, Painted Earth Productions, which "farms" me out to various clients and allows me to write and produce primarily natural history documentaries for international broadcast. We have a digital publishing division, Cool Beech Publishing Emporium, which publishes digital magazines.

I specialise in environment/conservation and eco-tourism, specifically in the safari industry, and cover issues in sub-Saharan Africa focusing on responsible tourism, conservation and environmental initiatives. I consult to the safari industry as well as write about it.

I still work as a "traditional" travel writer, and am sent on assignment regularly, contributing to various print and digital publications.

I have a lot of experience in the tourism industry and was involved with the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association's Gauteng chapter, as chairperson and serving on the national exco.

In 2011 I became a rugby writer and was appointed co-ordinating editor and chief writer for Naas Botha's digimag, Rugby Mentor, in April 2011. Rugby Mentor ground to a halt in June 2012, but I continue to be involved in rugby from a media perspective.

In recognition of my achievements in the conservation field, I was awarded a South African National Parks Kudu Award in 2010 in the category of Environmental Media for my individual contribution to conservation in southern Africa.

I was also awarded a Siemens Profile Award for excellence in science journalism in 2005.

Business Address

0184, South Africa, 0184

Professional Portfolios

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Winning a Kudu Award

in Sharon van Wyk

Professional details

Current Position(s)

Trainer | Aurecon Group
Pretoria, South Africa | May 2013 - present

Building, Construction and Engineering

Training writers in Aurecon's Proposal Facilitators' department

Director | Painted Earth Productions
2006 - present

Broadcast Media, Multimedia and Film

I run a busy media house.

Contributor | Africa Geographic
2005 - present

Broadcast Media, Multimedia and Film

Writing major features on conservation, environment and eco tourism for Africa Geographic magazine

Previous Position(s)

Editor/Chief writer | Naas Botha's RUGBY MENTOR magazine
2011 - 2012

Broadcast Media, Multimedia and Film

Running the editorial for Naas Botha's digital monthly magazine

Chief Writer - GO GAUTENG | Gauteng Tourism Authority
2010 - 2010

Broadcast Media, Multimedia and Film

Supplements writer and editor | Mail & Guardian
2006 - 2011

Broadcast Media, Multimedia and Film

Travel Editor | Mail & Guardian
2003 - 2005

Broadcast Media, Multimedia and Film

Travel Editor: Writing and editing weekly travel section/supplement

Contributor | Mail & Guardian
2001 - 2011

Broadcast Media, Multimedia and Film

Freelance contributor and supplements writer/editor

Night Chief Sub Editor | Editorial | Pretoria News
Pretoria, South Africa | 1991 - 2001

Broadcast Media, Multimedia and Film

Educational history


Chesterton Community College, Cambridge, United Kingdom (1978)


Cambridge College of Art and Technology

1978 - 1980

BA - English, Art, Art History, English Literature



Kudu Award | 2011

Siemens Profile Award | 2005

Shortlist and nomination

Business Writer of the Year | 1988

Eco Design for Tomorrow | 1985

Kudu Awards | 2011

Siemens Profile Award | 2005

media exposure

Various broadcasters | 2012

Purchase of and flighting of Big Boy: An Elephant's Story, a documentary written, produced and directed by Sharon van Wyk in partnership with Paul Henning under the auspices of Painted Earth Productions

Various | 2001

Published widely in various media titles

Longevity | 2011

Special feature on transformation

Africa Geographic | 2005

Contributor since 2005

Mail & Guardian | 2003

Contributor/Writer/Special Projects Editor

Mail & Guardian | 2002


Mail & Guardian | 2001


Cambridge Evening News | 1988

Achievement in writing

RAI Italian National Broadcaster | 2012

Big Boy: An Elephant's Story - Director/Producer

Competitive Accomplishments

Medallist | County Showjumping Championships | 1978

Junior showjumper

Quarter finals | Cambridgeshire County Junior Tennis Tournament | 1979

Junior tennis player

Academic Achievements

Degree | 1980


A Level | 1978

English Literature

A Level | 1978


A Level | 1978


O Level | 1976


O Level | 1976


O Level | 1976


O Level | 1976


O Level | 1976


O Level | 1976


O Level | 1976

English Literature

O level | 1976

English Language




Shop Steward/Chapter Representative, 1991 - 2002


Shop Steward, 1988 - 1991


Chairman, Gauteng, 2005 - 2009


Member, 2009 - 2012


Chiawa Partnership Park

Supporter, 2010 - present

Assisting with media exposure, facilitation and comment on the development of the pioneering community-driven partnership park in the Chiawa GMA of the Lower Zambezi Valley/National Park in Zambia

Predator Compensation Fund

Supporter, 2011 - present

Assisting with media support, exposure and facilitation with the Mbirikani Group Ranch and Predator Compensation Fund in Kenya as part of the Great Plains Conservation initiative

Fair Trade Tourism

Supporter, 2002 - present

Assisting with media exposure and facilitation for various sustainable and responsible tourism initiatives in South Africa with a strong accent on community involvement, upliftment and development

Conservation Lake Tanganyika

Supporter, 2013 - present

Assisting with media exposure for conservation efforts and anti poaching campaigns in Nsumbu National Park in Zambia

Conservation Lower Zambezi

Supporter, 2003 - present

Contributing to the conservation and protection of the Lower Zambezi Valley in Zambia through consistent media exposure and facilitation


Peter Borchert, Founder & Publisher, Africa Geographic

""I have known Sharon for a number of years both as a film maker and as a freelance writer for my magazine Africa Geographic. Sharon is a journalist of high integrity who immerses herself in her areas of specialisation which are Africa's natural heritage and the environment at large. She is intelligent, gets to grips with the subject of her focus, and produces very good work to deadline. It is with great pleasure that I write this recommendation and I and my colleagues look forward to working with her into the future."" - 2010

Sarah Borchert, Editor, Africa Geographic

""As Sharon's editor at Africa Geographic, I have thoroughly enjoyed working with her on a number of features. She is organised and thorough, does her research and writes very well. She respects deadlines and has always been very professional in her approach. A very trustworthy and reliable colleague."" - 2010

Muzi Mohale, Webmaster,

""Sharon has contributed highly thought provoking content on over the years. She is passionate about the travel industry in Africa and is not shy to highlight misgivings within the trade."" - 2012

Megan Alves, Director, The African Chapter

"Sharon is fantastic in her prompt services and reliable output. Her creative and intrigued nature produces high quality work and the results are super!" - 2010

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