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That is me – André Bakkes.

This photo reveals several things about myself. Firstly, I like experimenting with my camera. Secondly, I am desperately poor (those are cheap sunglasses). And finally, I like Thundercats (enough to wear the shirt, but not nearly enough to mention it on this page).

Now for the nitty-gritty (a term derived from the Viking word nitgrit – meaning “get it over with”)

I was born on September 1, 1976 in Pretoria, and attended Laerskool Constantia Park and Hoërskool Garsfontein. Yes, Afrikaans is in my blood.

After school I studied Law at the University of Pretoria for three years, but realized it’s even more boring than reading CVs. Then I studied Drama at the Method Actor’s Training Centre for two years, went to England for another two and came back with a new-found love for South Africa.

I then studied Copywriting at AAA School of Advertising for yet another two years and finally found my niche when I studied Journalism at Varsity College.

As far as niches go, I could have chosen a more financially prudent one… I’ve passed Go many times without collecting my R200, but at least I earn enough to stay out of jail.

 *yawn*

 Time for an interlude. Check out this cool pic and be intimidated by my Karate Kid stance.

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OK, so what happened after Varsity College?

I finished in 2006 and applied for a junior journalist job at Lowvelder – a highly successful community newspaper based in Nelspruit. My intention was to stay a year, but intention is just a small suburb in the metropolis called Reality.

Two years later I was promoted to senior journalist and in 2010, I was promoted to editor of a satellite community paper called Corridor Gazette. It was a great job, but for the fact that it is the Khaki capital of the world. And there are snakes. And mosquitos the size of locusts!

The word Mpumalanga means “place where the sun rises” in siSwati, but in Malalane and Komatipoort, the sun never sets. As a result, the temperatures soar into the high forties, which is rather ridiculous.

Once I associated “greener pastures” with “anywhere but here” it was time to move on.

The mystery of Cape Town was calling and damn was it mysterious. In 2011 I applied for a post at People’s Post and found out that I accepted a streetsweeper job in heaven. I loved the place, but I’m haunted to this day for signing that dotted line… For that amount of money…

NOOOO!!!!!!!!!

Anyway, I moved to another Media24 publication TygerBurger six months later, but my wallet was damaged. Moving up through the salary structures is demanding…

But I digress.

I’m a writer, photographer, philosopher, philanthropist and philhellenist (I needed one more word beginning with phi-. A philhellenist is apparently a lover of all things Greek. I’m not particularly fond Greece, but I’d rather be a philhellenist than a philistine!)

I’ve also met and done articles about famous people, like President Jacob Zuma, Mathews Phosa, Robert Gumede, Sven Goran Eriksson, Didier Drogba, the Miss World Finalists for 2008, and that other guy – what’s his name again… Oh yes, Julius Malema. Remember him?)

If life was a role-playing computer game then I would now be a level seven journalist with magic armour and a ball-point pen with a +4 attack bonus.

That’s me. Cheers!

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