As a son of a miner I was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. I grew up on the East Rand mining town of Boksburg. I matriculated from Boksburg High School. After high school I was conscripted into the South African Defence Force for compulsory national military service when I was 17 years old. After my military service I went to the University of the Witwatersrand. After graduating with a BSc honours degree I worked for a short period for the Department of Agriculture in Potchefstroom as an agronomist. As an obligatory member of the South African Citizen Miltary Force, I was called up to do 3 month camps on the 'Border' which was the theatre of the so-called counter insurgency 'Bush War'. In between postgraduate university studies I also worked as a wage clerk on the South African Railways and as a travelling chemical sales rep. I am currently working as a molecular biologist at the University of the Witwatersrand, where I am employed to do teaching and research. My students and I are doing research into the genomics of strange and weird animals known as entomopathogenic nematodes.