Rebecca Davis says that her two skills are reading and writing so her choice of career – journalist – was something of a no-brainer, only she neglects to mention that her grasp of copy, style and story are well above the norm.
She’s one of the leading writers for The Daily Maverick, a South African website that hits hard where the country needs it the most and is inspired by the things that happen every day.
“I am given an unusual amount of freedom to research and write about issues that I find interesting or important or humorous,” says Davis. “I tend to get riled up a lot about issues relating to women’s rights and feminism because we live in a society that’s still deeply sexist and patriarchal in pockets. I think it’s really important to call misogyny out when it happens.”
Davis has stared hard news in the face, and that’s not just heavy hitting politics, but also emotionally difficult stories that expose the vulnerable people in society that excite her. Her recent feature on South Africa’s former mineworkers sick with silicosis and TB is a case in point. She is also an advocate of supporting South Africa’s youth and giving them opportunities for their futures.
“I’d like to see more mentoring taking place, where people view youngsters not as threats, but as individuals to be helped and guided and shown the ropes,” says Davis.
“It would be great if more women could take on an active mentoring role for others, as men are more likely to benefit from old boys networks and it’s time women showed each other the same support.”
Davis certainly walks the talk as she focuses on reporting the stories that matter to her and that she feels are important for the future of South Africa. — Tamsin Oxford