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Hamilton Wende is a freelance writer and television producer based in Johannesburg. He is a regular contributor to From Our Own Correspondent on Radio 4 on the BBC. He is a columnist for The Star in Johannesburg and his articles have appeared in many international and South African newspapers and magazines, including National Geographic Traveler, The Chicago Tribune, GQ, Maclean’s Magazine in Canada, TravelAfrica in the UK, The New Zealand Herald, The Buffalo News in the US, The Sunday Times, Business Day, The Sunday Independent in Johannesburg and many others.
He has been a guest on The Editors on the SABC, and has been a guest lecturer at the Department of Journalism at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, the English Department at The University of Cape Town and at The University of the Witwatersrand, at the Durban Institute of Technology and at the Cape Town Press Club, and the Muthaiga Club in Nairobi. He has also appeared on a number of radio and television programmes including MSNBC, SABC TV, AM Live and on Radio 702.
In television he has worked for a number of international networks including National Geographic, CNN, BBC, NBC, ABC (Australia), SBS (Australia), NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) Al Jazeera English and a number of others. He has covered fifteen different wars in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The countries he has worked in include Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, Rwanda, Congo, Burundi, Sierra Leone, Angola, Sudan, Eritrea, Kuwait, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan.
Journey Into Darkness, a documentary on the genocide in Rwanda he worked on for the BBC with producer David Harrison and correspondent Fergal Keane won the 1994 Royal Television Society’s International Current Affairs Award. A Life Less Fortunate, a film on children in South African prisons he worked on with Belinda Hawkins of SBS won the 1999 United Nations Association of Australia Media Award.
He has written eight books:
Arabella, The Moon and a Magic Mongongo Nut – a charming tweenie thriller about Arabella and the magic mongongo nut that changes her life and involves her in a war between the hadedas and the insects in her garden in Johannesburg
Only The Dead. A thriller set in eastern Congo and Uganda about the hunt for the mysterious General Faustin to free his army of child soldiers called the Claws of God.
House of War A love story and thriller about searching for the lost diaries of Alexander the Great in the badlands of northern Afghanistan while being hunted by Al Qaeda. It was long-listed for the Sunday Times Fiction Award in 2010.
The King’s Shilling. A novel about WWI in East Africa published by Jacana in April 2005. It has been on the bestseller lists in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban and was long-listed for the Sunday Times Fiction Award in 2006
Deadlines From the Edge: Images of War from Congo to Afghanistan. Stories about his journeys into different parts of the world while working as television news producer in different parts of Africa, the Middle East and Afghanistan. It was published in 2003 by Penguin SA.
True North; African Roads Less Travelled is a non-fiction account of his work as a journalist in Africa. It was published in 1995 by William Waterman in Johannesburg. It was nominated for the 1995 Sunday Times Alan Paton Award.
A children’s picture book he wrote, The Quagga’s Secret, published by Gecko Books in Durban was selected as one of the ‘1995 South African Books of the Year’ by Jay Heale of Bookchat. In 1999 it was selected by Cambridge University Press in South Africa for an anthology of South African writing.
He is also the co-author of a young adult novel, Msimangu’s Words, which was published by Maskew Miller Longman and was a finalist in the Young Africa Award 1992.
He attended St. Andrews College in Grahamstown and then graduated from Wits University in Johannesburg in 1984 with a BA majoring in English and submajoring in Legal Theory and Drama & Film. He spent the years after that travelling through Europe, the US and Japan. He studied part-time courses in writing and journalism at New York University. He lived in Japan and the US where he worked as a freelance writer and English teacher. He returned to South Africa in the early 1990s.