Anton Harber

Professor Anton Harber
Professor Anton Paul Harber is the Caxton Professor of Journalism at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) in Johannesburg, South Africa. He has had a long career during which he has contributed much to the journalism and media industry in South Africa, most notably as a co- founder of the Weekly Mail (now the Mail & Guardian) and in his twelve years as the editor of the Mail & Guardian (2). Much of his career has been dedicated to the training of journalists, something he is still actively involved in today.

Personal Information:

Anton Paul Harber was born in Durban, South Africa on October 27th 1958. He is the son of Phillip Harber and Zara Kissin. He attended high school at Carmel College, a Jewish Day School in Durban. He then moved on to study at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg where he received a Bachelor of Arts specialising in English Literature and Politics. He married Harriet Gavshon on December 22nd 1984. The couple have two children, a son and a daughter, and currently live in Parkview, Johannesburg (3).

Career Information:

Harber graduated from the University of Witwatersrand in 1980. He began his career with a position at the Springs Advertiser as a cadet journalist and later moved on to the Sunday Post (2). He acted as deputy chief sub-editor for The Sowetan during its launch and reported for the Rand Daily Mail up until 1985 as a political journalist (2). Harber was one of the founding journalists of the Weekly Mail (now the Mail & Guardian), an outspoken anti-apartheid newspaper. It was while working as the co- editor for this newspaper that he was prosecuted several times under the terms of the apartheid State of Emergency (2). Later, while still working for the Weekly Mail, he became involved in the training of journalists (2). This program helped to develop many of the journalists who now hold top positions in the South African media industry.

Harber served as editor of the Mail & Guardian for 12 years. He has also held the following positions throughout his media career:

  • Vice-president of the South African Society of Journalists, 1984.
  • Executive member of the South African Press Council 1994-5.
  • Executive member of the Freedom of Expression Institute 1993-4.
  • Executive member of the Anti-Censorship Action Group 1988-1994.
  • Chairman of South African Conference of Editors 1996.
  • Co-chaired task group with the Black Editors Forum.
  • Appointed CEO of Kagiso Broadcasting 1997
  • Executive Director of Kagiso Media Limited 1997.
  • Member of the boards of: East Coast Radio, Jacaranda 94.2fm, Ofm, System Publishers, Radmark and Kagiso Exhibitions.
  • Chairperson of National Association of Broadcasters 1999-2000
  • Member of the board of South African Advertising Research Foundation
  • Trustee of the Media Industry Trust.
  • Media advisor for the Nelson Mandela Foundation
  • Member of the Advisory Board of the Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Fellowship for Journalists programme, which is part of the Carter Centre in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Trustee of the Phil Harber Jazz Education Trust
  • Trustee of the Anthony Sampson Foundation
  • Member of the board of directors for the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism
  • Convenor of Judges for Sanlam Financial Journalist of the Year Awards, as well as the Taco Kuiper Awards and Grants for Investigative Journalism.
Anton Harber has also worked as an executive producer for the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) series, Ordinary People, and helped to create, write and produce the television series Hard Copy. He has helped to edit two editions of the A-Z of South African Politics (1994 and 1995), as well as having work published in Newsweek, The New York Times, The Guardian and Leadership Magazine (2). He is currently the Caxton Professor of Journalism (Head of Department) at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. He also lectures, researches, writes and oversees departmental activities (1).

Recognition and Awards:

Anton Harber is considered to be one of South Africa's most widely recognised journalists. This is reflected through his attainment of various awards over the years. He was cited in the International Editor of the Year Category in 1995 by the International Press Directory Awards. He is also a recipient of the Missouri Medal of Honour presented by the University of Missouri in 1992 (3). One of his most notable achievements was being presented with the Pringle award in 1988 by the South African Union of Journalists for his contribution to media freedom(1).

Other Professional Activities:

Anton Harber still remains very active in other journalism and media- related activities such as:
* He continues practicing as a freelance journalist, writing columns for both Business Day and Beeld (1).
* He consults for The Agha Khan University in East Africa and the Government Communication and Information Services (GCIS) (1).
* He currently chairs the board of BIG Media (Pty) Ltd and the FXI where he carries out anti-censorship work. (1)

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