Quietly, diligently and Speed(ily) advancing South Africa’s political communications

Steyn Speed completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism at Rhodes University in 1992. During his short time at the university he was a student activist and editor of the student newspaper Rhodeo. After a brief stint at the Grahamstown-based East Cape News Agencies as a media trainer, Speed moved to Wits University as national news service coordinator at the South African Students’ Press Union. Thereafter, he took on the role of copywriter and sub-editor with the African National Congress, with whom, bar a short period with the Commonwealth Business Council in London, he has remained. Speed returned to university, this time to Wits, to complete a Master of Business Administration, in 2011–2012. During this period he received awards for Best MBA Full-Time Student and Best Research Report in the Field of Investment.

Described as a ‘classic behind-the-scenes man’, Speed has taken on a variety of media-based roles for the ANC, including marketing executive, head of media production and programmes, and internal communications coordinator. From 2003 to 2009 he acted as communications manager for the ANC. In 2009 he was appointed as Chief Director: Communications to The Presidency, and is currently political advisor to the President, based at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. Speed is well respected among journalists for his professionalism and cooperation. 

In 2022, the School of Journalism and Media Studies at his alma mater, Rhodes University, selected Speed as one of its most distinguished alumni, presenting him with a JMS50 Alumni Award for his quiet contribution to political communication over three decades.