Sometimes, one person fills a career so thoroughly that writing a short article about them becomes almost impossible. A feature article perhaps, or even a biography,, might be more suitable. Veteran South African newspaper editor and commentator, Peter Bruce, is one such person. His fifty-plus years in the field ensure that he is recognised as one of South Africa’s most experienced journalists, and, having attended Rhodes University in the mid-1970s, as one of the JMS50 Distinguished Alumni award winners.
Over the course of his illustrious career, Bruce’s roles have included editor of the Financial Mail, Business Report and UK news editor of the Financial Times. He has been both the Madrid and Bonn correspondents for this publication. He was editor-at-large at Arena Holdings (formerly Tiso Blackstar) and editor-in-chief of Business Day, Financial Mail and ABC. In addition he held the post of editor of Business Day from 2001 until 2012.
Today Bruce is a senior commentator at Arena Holdings, writing popular weekly columns for the Sunday Times, Business Day and the Financial Mail. In his weekly podcast for TimesLive, he interviews the country’s social and political leaders and experts, in an effort to make the complicated events happening in South Africa easier to understand for those of us who may live here but still find ourselves baffled by the rapid-fire swings and roundabouts of life in a still young and developing country.In a recent Business Live column, Bruce stated that “the object of writing a column is not to impose my beliefs or values on others, it is to spark conversation and debate and to state some personal principles against which I’ll allow myself to be judged.” In the same column, he credits one of his lecturers from his Rhodes University days, Peter Temple, with teaching him to edit copy, to keep it tight, which he equates with making writing a column for print a pleasure. His philosophy on writing, expressed in a Financial Mail column a few years ago, surely resonates with writers of all stripes and genres. Peter states that “the object is … perhaps now and again, to say something so perfectly that reading it brings a moment of actual joy to one person.”