The external and internal battles in South African courts are one of the most crucial playing fields of our adolescent democracy and Niren Tolsi covers it all in his beat as a senior legal reporter. While we may not sue like the USA, we do like ourselves a good court session The Protection of Information Act, the arms deal saga, the Hlophe case, big name trials like the Oscar Pistorius tragedy and critical Supreme and ConCourt appointments – Tolsi reports on it all. Having just moved from the M&G after seven years, Tolsi has just been poached by The Times Media Group as their new deputy legal editor.
A finalist for Vodacom journalist of the year and Mondi-Shanduka awards, Tolsi’s work often extends beyond the courtroom. He’s also respected music critic (the man gets to interview Massive Attack FFS), a former SAMA judge and a regular contributor to magazines as varied as Rolling Stone and Chimurenga.
He recently co-founded The Con Mag (theconmag.co.za), a long form journalism magazine. In the wake of Madiba’s death last year, while sites like News24 were flooding their home page with mostly meaningless updates (91 stories at one count), The Con Mag’s consistently insightful writing provided a respite.
He’s currently working on a two-year project documenting what happens to the families of those who died at Marikana.
#BestAdvice: Don’t follow the crowd
“The real stories of big events are in the quiet spaces. If you follow the noise all you will get is a Mongolian cluster of journalists following the same shit. Likewise in life, take a chance, go against the common consensus, thinking and actions and you’re certain to find an adventure or a surprise.”