Ryland Fisher, A Pillar of South Africa’s Renewal

Ryland Fisher is a South African editor, journalist, columnist, author, senior manager and executive.


He has more than 30 years of experience in the media industry, mostly telling the South African remarkable story.


In the early 1980 he worked for anti-Apartheid newspapers like Grassroots, Cape Herald, South and worked as a Bureau Chief for the national New Nations newspaper.


He was involved in the anti-Apartheid movement through structures like the Cape Youth Congress, South African Youth Congress (SAYCO) and the United Democratic Front (UDF).


Fisher was previously editor of the Cape Times and has served several newspapers in senior positions, among them the Sunday Times, where he was Assistant Editor.


Until August 2012, he was the turnaround Editor of The New Age, a new daily newspaper in South Africa. He helped to turn around perceptions of the paper and developed it into a newspaper to be taken seriously by all those with an interest in media.


Fisher is also the author of Race (published 2007), a book dealing with some of the issues related to race and racism in post-apartheid South Africa. His first book, Making the Media Work for You (2002), provided insights into the media industry in South Africa.


He is currently working on a book on South African identity. Fisher is the Chairman of the Cape Town Festival, which he initiated while he was Editor of the Cape Times. He runs a consultancy called Ryland Fisher Communications (RFC), which undertakes projects and training on media and social transformation. RFC and Fisher have addressed issues of transformation with several South African government departments, corporates and non-governmental organisations.


Fisher has lectured on transformation and race in several overseas countries, including the United States of America and Switzerland.


He writes a weekly column for the Daily Maverick and (remove ‘writes’) occasionally for other publications in South Africa and abroad.


Fisher serves on the Board of Trustees of Brand SA, which promotes South Africa internationally. He also serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of The Media magazine and was a judge for the MTN Radio Awards in 2010 and 2011, and for the inaugural Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards in 2001.


He is also a judge at the inaugural South African Arts Journalism Awards, which was presented for the first time in June 2013.


In 2008, he acted as a consultant for Global Media Alliance, a media company in Ghana (he helped to turn around a Sunday newspaper in the capital, Accra) as Managing Editor of the Sunday World, and he was the consulting Editor of Madala, a book on Nelson Mandela that was published in February 2009. He has also done work in Zimbabwe and Namibia.


Fisher is the former CEO of Sekunjalo Media Holdings (Pty) Ltd, a division of Sekunjalo Investments Limited. He is also the former Head of Journalism at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.


He has lectured at, among others, the University of Cape Town, the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism, Emory University and Ohio University.


He studied journalism at Rhodes University and has travelled extensively abroad, including for a stint as a Rockefeller Research Fellow at the Center for the Study of Public Scholarship at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2003. He participated in a five-week change leadership course at the Harvard Business School in 1997 and a five-week journalism course at the University of Missouri in 1993.


With TNA CEO Nazeem Howa, President Jacob Zuma and TNA Chairperson Atul Gupta at a TNA breakfast in Cape Town.

He was awarded a fellowship at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Studies (Stias) in 2010, which allowed him time to work on his third book.


In October 2006, he was awarded the Award of Appreciation for Print Media (for Media that Transforms the Public Space) at the Images of Voices and Hope conference in New York, in recognition of the ‘One City, Many Cultures’ project which he initiated at the Cape Times.


Fisher serves as a director of Shelley Point Hotel and Spa (Pty) Ltd and the Cape Town Community Housing Company (Pty) Ltd.


He was previously a special adviser to South Africa’s Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development. Fisher is married to Ibtisaan and they have three daughters – Nadia, Raisa and Larah.

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