Barbara Creecy: ‘You can make a difference if you want to’

Barbara Creecy, the minister of environment, forestry and fisheries, likes to watch the British medical drama series Casualty, she tells Sheree Bega. It’s become a family joke. “I tell my kids that my life is one series of crises and that when I watch Casualty somebody else has to deal with the crises. That’s very relaxing for me.”

How did you become involved in student politics?

My family was active in politics, but not in a high-profile way, and as a child, you could never get through a meal without all the reference books being on the table … You know we had something called an encyclopedia before Google. 

You think today the concept that the world’s knowledge could be contained in 12 books is an entertaining thought but that’s how it was. We were brought up that you had to put forward a coherent argument and defend your position.

My father died when I was eight and my mother raised us. It was tough. I think I was the only child at school who didn’t have two parents. When I got divorced I asked my children: “Do you feel strange at school because your parents are divorced?” They said: “No, everybody’s parents are divorced. We felt odd when you were still married.” 


There’s a lot more to this story.

To continue reading, subscribe to the Mail & Guardian.

It pains us to say it, but good journalism costs money to produce, and so we have to reserve some of our stories for Mail & Guardian subscribers with paid-for levels of access to the site only. Like this one, for example.

You can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian and get access to all our stories and more at this link. And right now, we’re offering 1/3 off the usual price.

If you have a current subscription, please login here.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Sheree Bega
Sheree Bega is an environment reporter at the Mail & Guardian.

Related stories

#CR17 fight heads to the Constitutional Court

amaBhungane’s arguments about the disclosure of campaign funding are also expected to be heard

Editorial: Political meddling won’t save the SABC

For years, in moves that harked back to the repressive regime of the Nats, the public broadcaster has been used by the party as its political football in internal factional battles, or to censor dissent.

Eskom’s emissions are not compatible with the South African constitution

The government must not cave to Eskom’s demand that it be exempt from air pollution rules. Furthermore, the power utility needs to stay true to the principles of its own just transition strategy

Ace prepares ANC branches for battle

ANC secretary general Ace Magashule is ignoring party policy on corruption-charged officials and taking his battle to branch level, where his ‘slate capture’ strategy is expected to leave Ramaphosa on the ropes

Xenophobic tensions surge in KZN

Amid protests by the ANC’s MK Military Veterans, distressed foreign nationals have shut their stalls at a Durban flea market

‘Stand aside’ rule fails the Ace test

The ANC has stalled on setting ground rules for cleanout of comrades accused of corruption
Advertising

Subscribers only

Covid-19 surges in the Eastern Cape

With people queuing for services, no water, lax enforcement of mask rules and plenty of partying, the virus is flourishing once again, and a quarter of the growth is in the Eastern Cape

Ace prepares ANC branches for battle

ANC secretary general Ace Magashule is ignoring party policy on corruption-charged officials and taking his battle to branch level, where his ‘slate capture’ strategy is expected to leave Ramaphosa on the ropes

More top stories

Sudan’s government gambles over fuel-subsidy cuts — and people pay...

Economists question the manner in which the transitional government partially cut fuel subsidies

Traditional healers need new spaces

Proper facilities supported by well-researched cultural principles will go a long way to improving the image and perception of the practice of traditional medicine

Did Botswana execute ‘poachers’ ?

The Botswana Defence Force’s anti-poaching unit has long been accused of a ‘shoot to kill’ policy. Over 20 years the unit has killed 30 Namibians and 22 Zimbabweans

Limpopo big-game farmer accused of constant harassment

A family’s struggle against alleged intimidation and failure to act by the authorities mirrors the daily challenges farm dwellers face
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…