Meet Julian Jansen

After years spent as a teacher at Gordon High and Rusthof High School, in Somerset West and Strand respectively, Julian Jansen went from Aard onnie vannie Strand to Media 24 journo innie stad.

But how, do you ask, does a Geography teacher become a well-known journalist writing for one of the biggest newspapers our country has to offer? Easy, “jy leewe n bietjie gevalik, gan soek n bietjie sonde” an actual philosophy Julian has adopted.

In 2004 Julian (then also an elder in his church) wrote a story for the Strandkorrels about how he, as a child, would go with his dad to find a “Christmas tree”….you know, like they do in the movies. By chance he saw that anyone could enter their stories to Kaap Rapport and upon review, your story would be featured in the paper. Much to his surprise, the Christmas tree story he wrote was featured and he got paid R350 for his efforts.

Julian remembers, “Ek was shocked, R350 virre paa woordjies? Dai was kwai.”

Jacob Rooy, editor at Rapport, contacted me and asked me to send something monthly. “I could write about anything, so I would send stories about cows grazing, simple goete.” Julian says.

So, in 2005, after being declined for the position of Deputy Headmaster at Rusthof High, Julian decided to accept a job as journalist at Media 24. “ek was A for away, life begins at 40 soes hulle se” he had no formal training as a journalist but he was open to learning and ready for the challenge.

On 3 January the following year he did his first story featuring…wait for it…The Pennsylvanians (Klopse) met hulle geel outfits!

Challenging himself didn’t stop there, in 2009 he became the spokesperson for the Provincial Minister of Community Safety. “I had to write speeches in English!” this was quite a thing for a man who describes his love for Afrikaans like this: “ek praat Afrikaans soes n lekke bordkos met pudding by.”

Julian Jansen was one of the journalists who covered the Henri Van Breda stories and followed it closely. So close in fact, he wrote a whole book about it, had it published and it’s now selling in bookstores nationwide. The book also opened the door for television interviews on talk shows such as Kwela (part of KykNet programming) even Hollywood came knocking, Julian sold the film and television rights to a Hollywood based production company.

What does Julian have to say to our people? So much but here’s a summary:

“Start learning to live gevalik, take calculated risks, consider the consequences but take the leap of faith. Become your best at an early age. Don’t live like a sheep when you were born a lion.”

Julian has an absolute passion for young men in our communities. He says to him it is not a colour thing, it’s a man thing. The heart of men is his real passion and that’s why he loved teaching. Julian remembers a student wanting to stab him at one point, “Unfortunately, a lot of young men grow up in fatherless homes and the onus lies on male teachers to be the “shadow father” at school. The challenge is many male teachers have grown up in fatherless homes and as the role of teachers these days goes, there is A LOT of admin work and as a result they are already almost unmanned. It is a vicious cycle. Gangs give these boys what they need, authority and a sense of family. None of this is a problem, it’s merely a challenge. As jou pa gan suiker koepit en nooit terug gekomit nie, then you need to find a mentor.”

My kaaps glossary:

  • Aard onnie – Geography teacher
  • journo innie stad- journalist in the city
  • jy leewe n bietjie gevalik, gan soek n bietjie sonde – live a little dangerously, find a little sin
  • virre paa woordjies – for a few words
  • kwai – cool
  • goete – stuff
  • soes hulle se” – like they say
  • hulle geel – their yellow

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  1. Thx for putting Rusthof on the Map, my hometown. To be of such an inspiration, is an honour. Keep up the great work.

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