Gillian Rennie


Gillian Rennie of Durban, South Africa, was born in April 1960[1] and is aGillian Rennie ( award winning Journalist[1][5], as well as a deputy editor and writer. She is currently employed at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, as a Lecturer of Journalism and Media Studies. She has worked for publications such as what was then called The Natal Witness (now The Witness) and the National Arts Festival Publication, Cue[2]. Rennie is also involved with the 2009 Beyond Reconciliation Programme[3], hosted by the University of Cape Town.

She feels thankful that she found her dream career as her first choice[1], and is a passionate South African Media Worker - always looking to better and further herself through her work[1]. She thinks of her most interesting story as whichever one she is currently working on and is a strong believer in always doing better[1]. She describes herself as "curious to the point of being a social liability" and a "pacifist by nature" holding a soft-spot as well as an affinity for feature articles[1].


Gillian Rennie attended Durban Girls' College[1] for her entire primary and high school career, which would total 12 years there - although she herself attested that she did not enjoy it much[1]. Rennie decided to become a Journalist as she felt it would be a good use of her skills[1] and had a strong desire to make a difference, as well as act against her resentment towards the attack the freedom of the Press was experiencing at the time[1].

She then went on to study a Bachelor of the Arts at the than named University of Natal (now University of KwaZulu-Natal) at the Pietermaritzburg campus. She believes that "a broad humanities degree is the best grounding for a Journalist"[1]. While studying she worked for the University student newspaper, Nux. She then went on to receive a diploma in Journalism, completing her practical component at the Johannesburg newspaper The Star[1].


Gillian Rennie's professional journalistic career began at The Star, while she was undertaking her Diploma in Journalism. She also worked for The Natal Witness (now The Witness) and was also involved with the University of Natal (now University of KwaZulu-Natal) on a professional level[1].

Rennie began writing for a variety of establishments, including Rhodes University's Cue Magazine in 1999 (a publication responsible for coverage of the National Arts Festival) and has continued working for them to present. She describes her affection for Cue as "irrational" and finds herself returning to it year after year[1][2].

(2004 until Present)

In 2004 Gillian Rennie moved to Grahamstown to take up the position of Deputy-Editor with Rhodes University's newly purchased Grocotts Mail. Gillian Rennie was appointed to step in for Anthea Garman, who departed to complete her PhD[1]. Rennie continued on as Deputy-Editor of Grocotts Mail (occasionally deputising as Acting-Editor when required)[1].

She is currently employed as a Lecturer at Rhodes University[1][4], where she lectures students ranging from First Year to a Post-Graduate level[1].

Recognitions and awards

Gillian Rennie's article on Epainette Mbeki, entitled Raising Thabo, won the award for best profile writing at the Mondi Magazine Awards in 2006. [1][5] Co-insiding with Rennie's self-confessed role as a "soft journalist"[1], as well as proving her affinity for the writing of profile and feature stories[1].

Also, Grocotts Mail was awarded several awards while Rennie was part of the editorial team, including the Best small Town Newspaper award in the 2007 Sanlam Awards for Community Press[6]. It was also placed in the Top Ten results for front pages in small Town Newspapers in the same awards[6].

Future Prospects and Current Undertakings

Gillian Rennie is currently co-authoring an account of Neville Beling, a survivor of the 1993 Highgate Hotel massacre in East London[1][3]. Rennie and Beling himself are co-authoring the account, and she was approached specifically to undertake the writing of his story. Upon hearing his experiences, Rennie realised it was a story that "South Africa needs to hear"[1]. The book, which will tell his story - and assist, as Gillian believes , "through narrative as a tool of healing"[1].

She is involved in the Beyond Reconciliation Programme[3], hosted by the University of Cape Town, because of her role in the publication in the works[1].

Rennie currently still actively works as a Journalist, while continuing to lecture at Rhodes University[4].

References: Photo (Centre for Social Accountability. 2009. CSA Staff. Retrieved 18 October 2009 from

Primary Sources:
[1]Personal Interview with Gillian Rennie. 16th October 2009.
Digital Copy. 2009. Page 1.
Digital Copy. 2009. Page 2.

Secondary Sources:
Centre for Social Accountability. 2009. CSA Staff. Retrieved 16 October 2009 from

[2]Cue Online. 2008. Rhodes University Media Lab. Retrieved 19 October 2009 from

[3]Beyond Reconciliation Conference. 2009. Beyond Reconciliation – Presenters. Retrieved 14 October 2009 from

[4]Rhodes Department of Journalism. 2009. Retrieved 19 October 2009 from

[5]Media Update Newsletter. 2007. 2005 Mondi Magazine Awards – preview. Retrieved 17 October 2009 from

[6]Rhodes Department of Journalism Newsletter. 2007. Retrieved 19 October 2009.

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