Jean-Jacques Cornish

A prequel greedily presented as a sequel to an American classic

“Go Set A Watchman,” by Harper Lee

With 20-20 hindsight, one see why reviewers had problems with this book which is a first draft of the Pullizer Prize winner’s classic “To Kill A Mockingbird”.

It was dishonestly feted by the profit-driven publisher as a sequel.

So this a story of Southern manners, iconoclasm and coming of realization is often irritatingly naive precisely because the true craftswoman had not yet come into its own.

However her potential shines through every page

With the hyper cautious lenses required in politically correct South Africa one is amazed that the lamentable racism attributed to the heroine’s father is even given ink.

I like to think that growing up, starting work as a journalist and  coming of age  in the darkest part of apartheid has given me an understanding of the fear-based bigotry that drove much of the United States in the same period.

Their liberating period of hope and idealism came more than a decade before ours – indeed it was part of the inspiration for ours.

Our periods of disillusionment have disturbingly coincided.

This book is well worth reading because it is a first draft of history and the early work of one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century.



Enquire about availability for radio, podcasts, reporting or opinion pieces.

Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.