While I was at university in Johannesburg I was involved in the Soweto uprising of June 1976. It was a traumatic event, but eventually led to the freedom of South Africa with the end of apartheid in 1991.
I have worked on Africa since the 1970’s, first for the Labour Party and then for the BBC.
I was Africa editor, until I retired in November 2012 and I am currently a Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies in London.
I have written a number of books, including:
- Power! Black workers, their unions and the struggle for freedom in South Africa. Spokesman Press, 1984 (with Denis MacShane and David Ward)
- South Africa: Out of the Laager? Fabian Society, 1991
- War in the Horn Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1999 (with Patrick Gilkes)
- Unfinished Business: Ethiopia and Eritrea at war Red Sea Press, 2005, (editor, with Dominique Jacquin-Berdal)
- Ethiopia and Eritrea: Allergic to persuasion. Royal Institute of International Affairs, 2007 (with Sally Healy)
- David Killingray, with Martin Plaut: Fighting for Britain. African Soldiers in the Second World War. Boydell and Brewer. February 2010
- Who rules South Africa? (with Paul Holden), Jonathan Ball publishers, Cape Town. 2012
- Promise and Despair: the first struggle for a non-racial South Africa, Jacana Media, Johannesburg, 2016
- Understanding Eritrea: Inside Africa’s most repressive state, Hurst, London, 2016
My current research is on Robert Mugabe and Zimbabwe.