I grew up about an hour's drive from the city centre of Cape Town. I did my primary school at the African Methodist Episcopal Church and my high school education at Esselen School in Worcester. In 1975, I completed a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of the Western Cape in Bellville, where I also received a teacher's diploma. I taught in Worcester from 1976 until 1983 and then in Cape Town until 1996 when I decided to become a tour guide.
All my life, I've had a passion for genealogy. I started on my own family tree in 1987, and after years of pioneering research, I discovered my own slave ancestry. This started me on a lifelong pursuit of the history of slavery at the Cape.