Sharon van Wyk
Birthname: Sharon Gilbert
Birthdate: November 27, 1962
Children: Son, Luke
Marital Status: Divorced
Currently Resides: Pretoria, South Africa
Career: In the media:
-Award-winning writer & journalist
-Film-maker, making natural history documentaries for international television
How She Met Phil (in her own words):
"On March 14, 1980, I went to see a glam rock band named Girl at the Cambridge
Corn Exchange. I stood in front of a stack of 50-watt Marshall speakers to
the right-hand side of the stage and when the band burst onto the stage was
confronted with an impossibly cute guitarist with long, semi-permed blond
hair tumbling almost to his waist and a very tight pair of pillar-box red
leather trousers, sporting a rather fetching black Gibson Flying V.
It was my second gig ever. My first was to see Queen at Alexandra Palace in
London a couple of months before. I was blown away, literally, by the wall
of sound issuing from those speakers and the dexterity of the impossibly
cute guitarist - Phil Collen.
At the end of the gig, Phil leant forward and placed his plectrum in my hand
and gave me a wink and a nod towards the backstage door. The rest, as they
say, is history, and that night started a wonderful relationship and even
more wonderful friendship which lasted more than a decade, and indeed to
this day. Phil was my first love, my mentor and one of my best friends. He
is a wonderful man, full of warmth and goodness and a shining soul and has
been a force for good in my life."
Sharon was born in Cambridge, England but at the age of 3 moved with her
parents to Kenya, where she fell in love with Africa. She lived there for
two years before moving back to Cambridge where she went to school and
college, attending the Cambridge College of Art and Technology where she did
a A levels in English, Art and Art History and a degree in English. She
spent her teen years and early 20s toing and froing between Cambridge and
various parts of Southern Africa where her father was based (her parents
divorced when she was 11 but stayed on excellent terms). In the mid 1980s
she began working for Music Maker Publications as a production editor and
writer, working on top music magazines, including her own - Solid Rock - a
HM/Heavy Rock magazine. When she left MMP she began freelancing, writing
snippets and reviews for RAW and Kerrang! before joining the Cambridge
Evening News as a mainstream reporter and sub-editor.
She returned permanently to South Africa in 1990, taking up a senior
sub-editor's position at The Pretoria News, where she worked for 10 years
before leaving to pursue a freelance career. In 2005 she won a Siemens
Profile Award for Excellence in Journalism for freelance
writing/contributions to South Africa's leading independent newspaper, the
Mail & Guardian. That year she also started up Painted Earth Productions, a
multi-media production company undertaking projects for print and broadcast
media, most notably producing natural history documentaries for television.
Her partner in Painted Earth is cameraman/director Paul Henning.
At the start of 2009 Sharon split from her husband of 18 years and they
divorced in June 2010. Painted Earth's first major documentary, named Big
Boy: An Elephant's Story, is currently being sold to channels in Europe and
Asia and is receiving much acclaim from international broadcasters. In
November 2010 Sharon won a prestigious South African National Parks Kudu
Award for Environmental Journalism for her individual contribution to
conservation in Southern and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Sharon is currently writing her biography entitled: "Between Rock and a Wild
Place" which will catalogue her journey from the wild world of rock and roll
to the wilds of Africa.
Sharon's Production Company
Sharon's Travel Blog