- Joan, please share with us a bit of your history:
I was born in Sunland, Eastern Cape Province in 1948. I was the 3rdyoungest of 8 children; 4 boys and 4 girls. After school I studied missionary work at Hugenote Kollege Wellington, Western Cape Province, but later changed my career path to social work. I started my career in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal Province at the Dutch Reformed Church. After I met my husband-to-be we decided to reside in the same city instead of in different provinces to further avoid a long-distance relationship.
I am passionate about family and communities and love to make a difference in people’s lives. My vision is to empower people – including children – and inform them about their uniqueness, potential to grow, and to empower them to make informed decisions when facing challenges.
On 4 May 2010 I obtained my Doctoral Degree in Philosophy on the subject of Social Work at the University of South Africa. Being a registered social worker with many years of experience in the service field, I am an expert in victim empowerment. I worked for 19 years at different churches and 25 years for the State. My latest contribution as a state official was with the National Department of Social Development, Pretoria, on the preparation and implementation of ‘Act No. 7 of 2013: The Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act, 2013’.
- Why and how did you start with your writing career?
After retiring from government in 2013, I was faced with the challenge: What now? What can I do which will give meaning to my day-to-day life. During that period, two months after retirement I was in a hit-and-run accident and was forced to slow down and depression set in. With a very dark cloud over my head and lead in my heart, I walked to a cell group one night. I was actually dragging my feet because they felt too heavy. I told the group that night that I needed a purpose in life; to give meaning to my day-to-day life again. It was then that I decided to put pen to paper and record the knowledge I gained during my career.
- When was your first book published, and how many books have you published so far?
From this work experience, I verified my specific knowledge garnered during eight years by writing the book ‘Human Trafficking – the Hidden Crime’, published in 2015. This book is an educational book and specifically for professionals in practice. The book was highly recommended in Gauteng Province during training sessions.
The need was born in my heart to make a difference in the lives of South Africans by sharing my knowledge to empower individuals, families and community members. The book: ‘The World around Us – 21st Century Slavery’ is finalised and will be launched during September and October 2017. The view is that this book should be available in most households in South Africa.
‘You may choose to look the other way but you can never say that you did not know’– WILLIAM WILBERFORCE
My gratitude goes to Groep7. Ilette Strydom is a remarkable woman, as are her team members. She also demonstrated patience with me as a self-published writer.
- Do you have any other books in the pipeline?
Yes, my latest book will also be available in most South African languages by the end of 2017.
I still need to get the message about slavery across in ‘talking books’. This will become available as and when donor funding is received.
Another challenge will be to write my autobiography.
- Where and how do you do your research?
The last research conducted was desktop research.
Furthermore, I need to conduct research on the implementation plans of government and also on the inputs, outputs and challenges facing them, as well as the best practices on trafficking in persons. With God’s grace, I still need to work on the approach early next year.
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