Jacques is an investigative journalist and author of the best-selling The President’s Keepers: Those who keep Zuma in power and out of prison.
Jacques, named by Nelson Mandela as one of South Africa’s greatest journalists, has worked as a reporter, television documentary producer, commentator, author and columnist for more than 30 years.
Jacques is the author of six books, five of non-fiction and one of fiction. The President’s Keepers has won several literary awards, including the prestigious Association of American Publishers’ International Freedom to Publish Award and the Nielsen Booksellers Award.
He has worked for most of South Africa’s biggest publications and was among others a co-founder of the Afrikaans anti-apartheid newspaper Vrye Weekblad (Free Weekly) where he exposed the existence of police death squads in November 1989.
He has also produced a host of current affairs documentaries throughout the African continent. Amongst them were documentaries on the genocide in Rwanda, the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea and civil conflicts in Sierra Leone, Sudan, Burundi, Zaire (today DRC), Algeria, Liberia, Rwanda and Angola.
He left journalism in 2014 and bought a restaurant, bar and guesthouse in the Western Cape village of Riebeek Kasteel. He pursued a new career as a chef – until he started writing The President’s Keepers towards the end of 2016.
The book, published in October 2017, has been widely hailed as the most important book published in post-apartheid South Africa and is the biggest selling non-fiction book in South African history.
He has twice been named as CNN’s African Journalist of the Year, has won the Daniel Pearl award in the United States for the world’s best cross-border investigative journalism, Italy’s Ilaria Alpi, South Africa’s Journalist of the Year Award and was the recipient of the Nat Nakasa Award for bravery and integrity in journalism. In 2018 he was selected as South Africa’s corruption buster of the year, was awarded the Declaration Scroll by the Editors’ Forum of Namibia and received the Ahmed Kathrada excellence in leadership award. He is also a member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), an exclusive club of the world’s best investigative journalists.
In January 2019, he became a co-editor of the “new” Vrye Weekblad, an Afrikaans online publication. He left at the end of July 2019 in order to write a follow-up of The President’s Keepers.
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