Passionate About Inspiring Others
From my very first utterances as an infant, I must have been drawn to the spoken word. My favourite pastime was to sit on a cushion in front of the radio listening to children’s stories. I attended my first speech and drama class at the age of five and acted in my first radio play at seven.
I was so little that I had to stand on a chair to reach the microphone. There and then I fell in love with the microphone. The acoustics and soft light of the studio became my safe haven – my own secret world where I was free to express myself.
Fortunately, I came from a family that was knowledgeable and well versed in voice production and drama technique. My aunt owned her own voice training studio so I was never short of a mentor. And my father became the chairman of his Toastmasters Club. As such, he knew that the key to public speaking was confidence and self-esteem. He made us children stand on the table and recite passages from famous authors, poets and playwrights as though we were addressing an audience. His famous saying was: “Stand up and say something!” He would not rest until you got up and said your piece.
The highly regarded Afrikaans radio announcer, June Seymour, taught me in my home language Afrikaans, until the day came that it was time for me to learn Queen’s English. She arranged for me to enrol at the prestigious Sheila Shlain School of Arts. Sheila was a Trinity College Licentiate and training with her was like being in the barracks. If you didn’t know your lines, you were better off faking a stomach ache than daring to enter through those studio doors.
From an early age I competed in national Eisteddfods and won various roles in stage plays, films and drama series on South African television. One of my most enjoyable and successful roles was storyteller on the very same radio children’s programme that I had listened to all those years ago. The television industry soon became my newly found love. I presented and produced a number of programmes and series, and in 2005 established my own production house, Izithombe - meaning “Pictures” in Zulu.
When I relocated to the UK in 2017, I was looking forward to continuing performance coaching. I’ve always loved teaching, and I’m pleased that I can put all my knowledge and experience to good use in helping to empower people with the confidence and skills needed for effective public speaking.
Performance coaching can be so rewarding. I once taught a young boy to sing his words instead of speaking them as part of a cure for a severe stutter. Years later, when that boy became Professor Van Zyl at the Division of Medical Virology, Stellenbosch University, I received a testimonial saying, “Mariette’s approach and lessons provided a creative space where I could speak my own voice and be my own person.” Such praise makes teaching all the more worthwhile.
Richard McMunn, the fireman who became an author and speaker says: “Keep fit, eat healthily and only do things that you are good at.” My ‘good thing’ is teaching people how to achieve complete Performance Confidence by unlocking their voice power so they can stand up and speak with authority on any platform.
Education / Certifications
BA (Hons) Communications, University of Johannesburg
Diploma in Speech Training and Drama, University of South Africa
Diploma in Television Production, University of the Witwatersrand
Diploma in Television Presenting, TATS Academy
Teacher's Diploma Speech Training
Fine Music Radio, RSG, Channel 7 and various community stations.
Experience includes: afternoon drive show, children’s programme and radio plays.
Awards / Productions
First Prize Story Competition - South African Broadcasting Corporation
Best Actress “Twelfth Night” - University of Johannesburg
JIP Youth CD Series
Coppélia children’s story and ballet production
“House of Diamonds” - short film