From the Dark Side to The Darkness – Mandy Wiener

downloadAs an investigative journalist coming face to face with gangsters and criminals, Mandy Wiener has learnt many lessons from the dark side of the underworld. But it is ‘The Darkness’ of new motherhood that has had the greatest impact on this author and reporter. In her talk about the impossible journey to achieving work/life balance, Mandy explores whether it is possible to have it all, or not at all.

She contemplates whether she should ‘Lean In’ like Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg says she must, or if she should rather get eight hours of sleep a night like media mogul Arianna Huffington preaches. Is there really any hope in hell of finding any kind of balance without guilt, regret and compromise or does something always have to give?

During her first pregnancy in 2013, Mandy continued with her career as a breaking news journalist for Eyewitness News. She found herself waddling around crime scenes and picking her way through the aftermath of a bomb blast at mobster Radovan Krejcir’s Bedfordview office. She also reported on the death of statesman Nelson Mandela and endured long hours on hard wooden court benches. With a new baby in her arms, she spent her maternity leave writing an international bestseller about the Oscar Pistorius murder trial.

As mom to the unstoppable whirlwind Sam, Mandy has carved out a career as a freelance journalist and is navigating her way around being a stay at home parent. She’s still breaking news and tweeting updates to her 150 000 Twitter followers while fighting the energy sapping process of a second pregnancy.

Mandy Wiener is one of the country’s best known and most credible journalists and authors.

She worked as a multi award-winning reporter with Eyewitness News from 2004 until 2014, filing reports for Talk Radio 702, 567 Cape Talk, 94.7 Highveld Stereo and Kfm radio stations. Mandy specialises in investigative reporting and legal matters, having extensively covered both the corruption trial of former national police commissioner Jackie Selebi and the Brett Kebble murder trial. She has also earned a reputation for her work exposing South Africa’s ‘Underworld’ reporting extensively on Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir, Teazers boss Lolly Jackson and other mysterious murders.

She has won a number of National and Regional Vodacom ‘Journalist of the Year’ awards, has been ‘The CNN African Radio Journalist of the Year’ and has received several commendations in the Webber Wentzel ‘Legal Journalist of the Year’ awards. In addition, she has received the National Press Club award in the Radio Category and the Social Media category and was awarded the ‘Rising Star – Women in the Media’ award in 2011.

On the writing front, Mandy was short-listed in the prestigious ‘Alan Paton Sunday Times Literary Awards’ for her book, ‘Killing Kebble’ which was a local publishing phenomenon, selling in excess of 100 000 copies. It was also chosen as Jenny Crwys-Williams’ ‘Book of the Year’ in 2011. Mandy’s second book, ‘My Second Initiation’, written with former head of the NPA Vusi Pikoli, was also short-listed for the Alan Paton award and was Crwys-William’s non-fiction book of the year in 2013. In addition, Wiener is the series editor of ‘The Youngsters’ which features several young South African voices.In 2014, she published ‘Behind The Door: The Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp Story’ with her colleague Barry Bateman. The book was released internationally and contained new, exclusive information about the trial.

With 130 000 followers on Twitter, Mandy has also broken new ground for live tweeting court cases and stories on the social media platform. She is considered to be amongst the country’s premier Twitterati.

With a BA degree from Rand Afrikaans University (now UJ), Mandy launched her career at RAU Radio before interning at the 702 traffic desk and screening listeners’ calls in the wee small hours. She then became a news reporter at Eyewitness News and did not look back. She is a freelance journalist and mother to one-year-old Sam.

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