I started writing a book about Johannes Kerkorrel in 2010, but quickly gave up when I realised that I knew nothing about writing.
In 2013, I enrolled at a local university to do my Masters in Non-Fiction writing and again took up my pen (or keyboard, to be more precise). I still know nothing about writing.
I have a full-time career and a family, so I write early in the morning, each day when my brain is fresh and not filled with the mundanities of everyday life.
Apart from the book, I would love to make a documentary about Kerkorrel and his impact on South African culture and politics. I completed a Graduate Certificate in Documentary film making at the Australian Film Radio and Television School, to learn about this medium. Unfortunately, to date I have not been able to secure funding in order to make a movie.
Kerkorrel was a genius, who grew up in the arguably one of the most complex countries in the world during its most critical and violent phase. Telling the story of how he and his collaborators contributed to the massive changes that swept South Africa in the late 80s is a demanding undertaking that I think would challenge even an experienced writer.
There have been times when I have been consumed with doubt. Months when I have written nothing. I have experienced setbacks and have felt that I should just give up and leave this project for a “real” writer, with better connections and access to people who were close to Kerkorrel.
Mostly though, I have had the privilege of speaking with interesting people who have generously shared their stories with me. This is what has kept me going.
After two years, I am still plugging away at my PC while I watch the passing of the seasons through my study window.
Sometimes I feel Johannes’ presence with me and it seems like he is willing me on, but then I realise that I am probably just sleep deprived.
All the photos on this site (except where otherwise indicated) were taken by Steven Hilton-Barber and are used with the kind permission of Bridget Hilton-Barber.