Max Du Preez Biography: 5 Fast Facts About The Accomplished Author

Max Du Preez is one of the few non-black South Africans to have outrightly supported the anti-apartheid movement, a decision that almost cost him his life as he faced a couple of assassination attempts. He supported the cause that helped make a national hero out of people like Nelson Mandela by founding an Afrikaans-language anti-apartheid newspaper, the first of its kind. He has since that time become a celebrated journalist and writer that has influenced many generations.

Max Du Preez Biography

Max Du Preez
Image Source

Max Du Preez was welcomed to the world on the 3rd of March 1951 in Kroonstad, Free State, South Africa. He was born into a conservative, middle class, Afrikaans family of Dutch origins. Specific details like the identity of his family members are not known although it is public knowledge that he has four brothers and three sisters.

Unlike most of the members of his family who went to Bloemfontein for their university education, Max attended Stellenbosch University. It was there that he was said to have begun his career as an Afrikaans journalist. Influenced by his parents who were openminded, opposed apartheid, and were supportive of the integration of blacks, coloreds, and whites, Du Preez was one of the few to have helped push forward the agenda as he was coming up the ladder as a journalist.

After leaving school, Max Du Preez found work as a writer for Afrikaans and English language newspapers, who like almost every media outlet at the time, supported the apartheid government. He soon became disenchanted, opting to quit his job in order to join various anti-apartheid movements such as the United Democratic Front.

Max Du Preez
Max Du Preez (Image Source)

By 1988, Du Preez founded Vrye Weekblad – the first Afrikaans anti-apartheid newspaper. The publication was applauded for its critiquing of the South African government and its alternative perspective on policies.

As expected, Vrye Weekblad met a lot of pushback from the government and other pro-apartheid organizations. In order to cripple it, the government levied exorbitant registration fees as it also charged the newspaper with various infractions. A member of the pro-apartheid group Civil Cooperation Bureau even went as far as bombing the headquarters of the newspaper in 1990.

Despite all this, Vrye Weekblad was able to stay afloat for the next four years before eventually closing in 1994 when the pressure from the government had taken its toll. As things would later pan out, the apartheid government of South Africa collapsed just a few months after Du Preez’s newspaper folded.

His contributions to helping liberate South Africa from its apartheid government went on to make him a very famous person in the country. Some of the awards and recognitions he received for his efforts include the Louis M. Lyons Award for conscience and integrity in Journalism in 1991, the Excellence in Journalism award from the Foreign Correspondents Association of Southern Africa in 1996, the Yale Globalist International Journalist of the year in 2006, and the Nat Nakasa Award for fearless reporting in 2008 among many others.

Interesting Facts About Sol Kerzner: His Net Worth, Wife and Children

Read Also: 100+ Newspapers In South Africa

Five Other Facts You Didn’t Know About The Author and Journalist

Max Du Preez
Max Du Preez and journalist Kasia Yoko (Image Source)

1. Max Du Preez Love Life

Much of the details regarding Max Du Preez’s personal life are not available to the public. Going by reports, however, the celebrated journalist appears to currently be a single man after having been divorced in the early 1980s. From his marriage, he welcomed two children who are now adults.

2. He Served Time in Prison For His Role With Vrye Weekblad

As mentioned above, Max Du Preez founded Vrye Weekblad in 1988. Due to the role the newspaper was playing, he received numerous death threats and survived a number of assassination attempts. He was later sentenced to six months in jail for quoting a banned person, the then leader of the South African Communist Party Joe Slovo.

3. He Broke the News of the Vlakplaas Death Squads

A major moment in Du Preez’s career was when Vrye Weekblad broke the news of the Vlakplaas Death Squads and the role its commander Dirk Coetzee had to play.

Other notable headlines that his publication was noted for making include the torturing and imprisonment of Siphiwe Mthimkulu by the Eastern Cape Security Police in December 1989, the murder of anti-apartheid activist David Mazwai in 1990, and the fact that the Civil Cooperation Bureau was run by the South African Defence Force.

4. He worked with the South African Broadcasting Corporation but was later Fired for Insubordination

After Vrye Weekblad closed down in 1994, Max Du Preez joined the South African Broadcasting Corporation as the executive editor of the investigative television show, ‘Special Assignment’.

In 1999, the hierarchy of the corporation dismissed him after he objected to the barring of a documentary from being aired. SABC released a statement saying Du Preez was let go due to gross insubordination. The public reacted negatively to his dismissal and there was a public campaign to reinstate him.

5. His Newspaper Made a Comeback in 2019

Described as its progressive successor, Du Preez’s Vrye Weekblad made a comeback in 2019 as Vrye Weekblad Online or Vrye Weekblad II. It was launched on the 5th of April 2019 with the journalist serving as its editor.

Was this article helpful?
Top 10 Iconic South African Writers Whose Books You Should Not Miss Reading
Andile Smith
Andile Smith
Andile provides articles on anything from Politics, Sports, History and entertainment to funny, creepy and weird. His passion for writing allows him to take what is ordinary and transform it into a real masterpiece. He's a true storyteller with a passion for tech and literature
data-matched-content-rows-num="2" data-matched-content-columns-num="4" data-matched-content-ui-type="image_stacked" data-ad-format="autorelaxed">


Dissecting Yolanda Mvelase’s Age and The Love Story That Made Her Kwesta’s Wife

Everyone loves to hear a good love story, especially, one with a happy ending which seems to be the case for -year-old Yolanda Mvelase...

Sordid Details Of Thabile Dube’s Time as Benjamin Dube’s Wife

Thabile Dube is a beautiful, vibrant, and hard-working woman who is best considered the Dube ministry's first lady. She used to be a huge...

Revelations About Busiswa’s Child, Baby Daddy and Physical Abuse Scandal

In 2019, Busiswa Gqulu, and her baby daddy, Katlego Mlangeni, were in the news but not for a good reason. There were stories about...

A Full Look At Nomcebo Zikode’s New Songs and Musical Career So Far

Nomcebo Zikode is one South African musician who has held the world spellbound with her strong musical sense, especially in the viral song Jerusalama,...

These Facts Will Tell You All About TV Personality Rorisang Thandekiso

Rorisang Thandekiso is a disciplined, smart, and beautiful young woman whose life story is a huge inspiration to youths. Despite starting off as a...

Featured Today

Zandile Msutwana’s Real Age and Her Affair With Another Woman’s Husband

Zandile Msutwana is no stranger to anyone who has been following the South African movie industry. The actress rose to fame in the second...

How to Sign Up to Showmax Subscription Packages, Their Prices and How To Cancel

Showmax is a video-on-demand streaming service that allows subscribers to have access to a wide range of TV series, movies, kids' shows, and documentaries...

Revelations About Edwin Sodi’s Birthplace, Biography and Early Influences

Edwin Sodi is one of the many South African millionaires who need no form of introduction as not only has his wealth put him...

How Much Is Showmax Per Month and Is It Better Than Netflix?

It is absolutely normal for anyone to choose the best at the cheapest and most affordable rates among many offers. With so many videos-on-demand...

How Bob Mabena’s Wife Eucharist Hadebe Is Faring Since His Demise

It is difficult to fathom what it must be like for Eucharist Hadebe to grieve her beloved husband's death, considering that they both were...
Was this article helpful?

Related Stories