BIOGRAPHY

MARK SEPTEMBER

I was born in South Africa in 1960 but moved to England when I was 5 to be re-united with my parents who were in political exile there. Both my parents were heavily involved in the struggle against Apartheid and escaped from South Africa when my father was facing a very long term in prison for his political activities.

I spent the next 25 years living in London but one month after Nelson Mandela was released and the ANC un-banned in 1990, I returned to Cape Town and have lived here ever since.

Over the years I have done a very wide range of jobs including Parasailing Instructor, Bookie (legal here in South Africa), Copy Writer and Graphic Designer (to mention just a few) before finding what I really love and that is tour guiding.

I have been guiding since the beginning of 2004. I started with one of the busiest tour operators in the Western Cape and learned a great deal in the three years I worked for them permanently. I then decided to start my own inbound travel business (Small World Tours) as I felt that my hands on experience with guiding and touring gave me the ideal skill set to design tailor made itineraries that would best suite the interests and needs of visitors. I have been dividing my time between developing this business and guiding on a freelance basis since 2007.

There are many reasons I love being a tour guide:

First and foremost, I am able to meet some truly wonderful people from all walks of life and over the years I have managed to maintain relationships with many of them.

I learn all the time. Not just about my own country but also about the countries, cultures and lives of the people I guide.

I get to show people my beautiful country and have done some truly amazing things.

There are also many reasons I believe I am well suited to being a Tour Guide.

I really like people and I am able to get along well with just about anyone.

I have a good sense of humour.

I love my country and am very proud of what we have achieved in the short time since our first democratic elections.

My background has given me a very broad perspective. Working in the many weird and wonderful jobs I have done over the years has helped me develop a wide range of skills and interests. Also, growing up in London and travelling to many countries has allowed me to see South Africa through the eyes of both an insider and outsider.

I am interested in nearly everything and my particular passions are nature (both plants and animals), food and wine, photography (you can view my photographic efforts on the internet http://www.flickr.com/photos/heartscape/) and last but by no means least, politics.

Because of my parentsí involvement in the struggle against Apartheid and the fact that my father served as a member of parliament for ten years after our first democratic elections, politics have had a great influence on my life. It was probably the most discussed topic in our household and over the years I met some of the most influential people in the liberation movement (many of whom are now prominent politicians) both through my parents and through working for the ANC as a full time employee and a volunteer. I believe that these experiences allow me to give the people I guide a uniquely personal insight into a very important part of South African life and history.

Letters from previous guests