“Off the Cuff” with Bronwen Healy, Founder of HOPE Foundation

Bronwen Healy

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA―As the founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Hope Foundation, Bronwen Healy’s mission is to help women wanting to be free from addiction and/or the sex industry. A former heroin addict and sex worker, Bronwen established and launched the charity in 2007 to help other women transform their lives. Bronwen set up the Hope Haven―a drop-in space for Hope Chicks under the Foundation’s umbrella. She drives a program of fundraising, events, counselling and services, including the development of a high school-based program, Every Choice has a Consequence. She took time out of her busy schedule to chat with JournoNews.

My secret pleasure is … snuggling up on a couch or hammock and reading for hours on end.

My first job was … in my mum’s friend’s milk bar when I was 11, stocking shelves and making milkshakes (I was saving up for a double tape deck to make mixed tapes with! It was 1986.)

My most annoying habits are … I asked my kids … they said “repeating yourself” but I told them that’s only because they require encouragement to do things, sometimes more than once. Haha.

A clear childhood memory is … holidays at Tootgarook on the Peninsula in Victoria … BEST memories.

Bronwen’s visible transformation from heroin addict (pictured left) to brand new woman, free from addiction (pictured right)

What makes me really nervous is … not a lot does, to be honest.

The best advice my parents gave me was … dream BIG dreams and do them.

If I wasn’t a Change Agent and Story Teller, I’d be … a script-writer/film director.

I’m most thankful for … the second chance at life that God gave me back in 1999, and for my 3 daughters.

My favorite meal is … Thai food – any.

I know it’s good for me, but I hate … cleaning the house, like the ‘full-vacuum-and-sweep-and-scrub-the-bathroom’ kind of clean.

A book I love is … the Bible – it is my favourite. Living word that changes my life every day …

A song that resonates is … Amazing Grace.

My ‘happy place’ is … the couch, hammock, resting.

My most embarrassing memory is … my first kiss …

My hidden skill is … cooking, I love to cook!

If I was a dog, I’d be a … Cavoodle, because our dog Max is one and he is the BEST and he is SO loved!!

It’s a bit corny, but I love … candlelit dinners.

I’m most at peace when … my kids are happy and content and/or when I am in God’s presence.

Country I’d love to visit … France―I am going there on my honeymoon one day (when God brings my future husband across my path … )

Favourite quote … “If you can dream it, you can do it” – Walt Disney

Connect with Bronwen:

Hope FoundationTwitter: @bronwenhealy
Website: http://www.hopefoundation.org.au/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HopeFoundationBrisbane

Make a Donation here

Other “Off the Cuff” guests

“Off the Cuff” with designer, Laurence Humier

LaurenceMILAN, ITALY―Multi-talented Belgian architectural engineer, Laurence Humier works as a designer, providing services and products in the field of industrial design, communication services and education. She recently launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for The Alchemist Matter Kit, an educational tool that enables children from 5 to 12 years old to create DIY matter. She chats with JournoNews.

My secret pleasure is … to soak in my bathtub.

My first job was … a flower seller.

My most annoying habit is … being stubborn.

A clear childhood memory is … the night movie Friday’ at my grandparents’ house.

What makes me really nervous is … the authority.

The best advice my grandparents gave me was … do what you like in life.

If I wasn’t an industrial designer, I’d be … an actress.

I’m most thankful for … having very great friends.

My favorite meal is … tomato spaghetti.

I know it’s good for me, but I hate … jogging.

A book I love is … 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

A song that resonates is … Dancing in the Dark.

My ‘happy place’ is … in the arms of my love.

My most embarrassing memory is … when I lost the test paper of my students.

My hidden skill is … that I have strength in my arms.

If I was a dog, I’d be … Laïka―the Soviet space dog who became one of the first animals in space!

It’s a bit corny but I love … receiving gifts.

I’m most at peace when … I feel loved.

Country I’d love to visit … Brazil.

Favourite quote … “after the rain comes the sun.”

Rain and Sun




“Off the Cuff” with visionary, Tich Smith

COTTONLANDS, KZN―Former Natal rugby player and cricketer for Natal and South Africa, Tich Smith and his wife, Joan, are the founders of Lungisisa Indlela Village (LIV) in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. LIV  is a place of hope and restoration for orphaned children and continues to transform young lives in a mighty way. Tich shares his human side with JournoNews.

My secret pleasure is … reading the Bible and spending time with my grand-children.

My first job was … packing books at Adams Book Shop for R60 per month.

My most annoying habits are … speaking harshly to other people when I don’t really mean it.

A clear childhood memory is … scoring my first 100 in a cricket match when I was seven.

What makes me really nervous is … preaching the Word of God.

The best advice my parents gave me was … to treat others how you would like to be treated.

If I wasn’t a visionary, I’d be … dead.

I’m most thankful for … God’s saving grace and mercy upon my life.

My favourite meal is … fish, salad and rice.

I know it’s good for me, but I hate … people who are so perfect, thorough and pedantic but I know I need them more than anything.

A book I love is … Father To The Fatherless: The Charles Mulli Story and Out of the Black Shadows: The Amazing Transformation of Stephen Lungu

A song that resonates is … ‘Jesus, you are my friend’ (sung by the children at the Village).

My ‘happy place’ is … LIV Village.

My most embarrassing memory is … going into the record books as one of the few first class cricketers that got a ‘pair’ and only faced one ball.

(A ‘pair’ in cricket refers to when a batsman is dismissed without scoring in either innings)

My hidden skill is … don’t have any …

If I was a dog, I’d be a … Labrador.

It’s a bit corny but I love … my wife, Joanie.

I’m most at peace when … I’m in the quiet place with my Father (God).

Country I’d love to visit …  Australia.

Favourite quote … “I’m a little pencil in the hand of a writing God, who is sending a love letter to the world.” – Mother Theresa







Mother Theresa

“Off the Cuff” with Consumer Writer, Wendy Knowler

Wendy KnowlerDURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA―Award-winning consumer writer, Wendy Knowler, is a columnist for Times Media and presents Consumerwatch on East Coast Radio. Journonews caught up with her.

My secret pleasure is … Kissing my teens when they’re asleep

My first job was … as a waitress in a steakhouse joint where the bombastic owner constantly chastised me for not wearing enough make-up and ‘talking back’.

My most annoying habits are … My kids would say striking up conversations with strangers “sooo embarrassing…”; and singing along to songs on the radio with only a casual observance of lyrics. I’d say often being a few minutes late instead of on time or early (working on it); talking too much, procrastination.

A clear childhood memory is … At school, aged 10, being taken outside to witness an eclipse of the sun. We were sternly warned not to look at the sun until we had our protective glasses on, but for some reason I snuck a peek and I have an eclipse burn on my retina as a permanent memory of that insubordination. It makes optometrists quite excited.

What makes me really nervous is … the state of this country’s parastatals.

The best advice my parents gave me was … The only way out is through.

If I wasn’t a consumer writer, I’d be … a forensic investigator.

I’m most thankful for … my family, my health, and having a job that I like. A lot.

My favorite meal is … oysters followed by sushi.

I know it’s good for me, but I hate … Pilates. I have a dicky back, so I should be doing it, but I can’t bear it.

A book I love is … the one I am currently reading: David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell (I devour all his books.)

A song that resonates is … my absolute favourite of all time: The Beatles’ Blackbird

My ‘happy place’ is … being on the beach early in the morning with my dogs.

My most embarrassing memory is … I was giving a talk on the Consumer Protection Act to the tenants of a large shopping mall, having been up most of the night dealing with the effects of a gastric bug. I had asked centre management to put a bucket of sorts in the next room, just in case. When the inevitable happened, I left the room mid-sentence and puked exuberantly into the container provided. And then they told me that I still had my lapel mic attached …

My hidden skill is … Despite being embarrassingly scatty at times, I have an excellent memory for detail and easily pick up inconsistencies in what people have said.

If I was a dog, I’d be a … a Bulldog-Labrador cross.

It’s a bit corny but I love … watching my parents dance.

I’m most at peace when … I’m on the beach, and on top of my deadlines and my inbox. (doesn’t happen often!)

Country I’d love to visit … India.

Favourite quote … “Courage is fear holding on a minute longer.” – George Patton


George Patton

“Off the Cuff” with Michael Cassidy, founder of African Enterprise

PIETERMARITZBURG, SOUTH AFRICA—MICHAEL CASSIDY, world renowned author, speaker and founder of African Enterprise gives JournoNews an insight into the man behind the evangelist.

My secret pleasure is … Let me put a question to you … Can you keep a secret? You can? Well, so can I!

My first job was … a school master teaching little boys French, Latin, cricket, soccer and boxing!

My most annoying habits are … Ask my friends. I don’t think any of my habits are annoying!!

A clear childhood memory is … early morning horseback rides with my dad.

What makes me really nervous is … being caught by surprise and asked to propose a toast to someone.

The best advice my parents gave me was … wait for the right girl to marry.

If I wasn’t an evangelist, I’d be … a panel beater, because I love seeing a born again car after a crash!

I’m most thankful for … my parental upbringing, for Robbie Footner who led me to Christ, for my wife, Carol, and for my children.

Servant of SlavesMy favourite meal is … breakfast. Nothing in the world can beat bacon and eggs.

I know it’s good for me, but I hate … broccoli.

A book I love is … Grace Irwin’s Servant of Slaves: Biographical Novel of John Newton.

A song that resonates is … ‘We’ll Gather Lilacs in the Spring Again’ by Welsh composer Ivor Novello.

(written for the hit musical romance “Perchance to Dream” which opened at the Hippodrome Theatre in London’s West End in 1945 and ran until 1948. Original version also called We’ll Gather Lilacs In The Spring)

My ‘happy place’ is … my study at home.

My most embarrassing memory is … emerging stark naked from a shower at a gym and being confronted by a woman. With no option but to brazen it out, I asked casually, “Are you looking for the ladies?” “Yes”, she replied, “This is the ladies!” Mmmm!

My hidden skill is … playing the piano, but it is now so hidden that sadly I don’t play it anymore.

If I was a dog, I’d be a … Golden Retriever which is a human with fur on it!

It’s a bit corny but I love … old time musicals.

I’m most at peace when … when I’m quietly at home with Carol over a weekend with no public commitments.

Country I’d love to visit … China via the Trans-Siberian Railway.

Favourite quote …

“I have only two days in my diary: Today, and That Day” (Martin Luther)


Connect with Michael on Twitter



Michael’s books

“Off the Cuff” with Stewart Steven


JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA—Stewart Steven epitomises what it means to ‘live life to the full’. While he and his wife, Ali, have a knack for buying, renovating and selling houses, he still finds time to lead Real Life Church in Johannesburg. He chats to JN.

My secret pleasures … Great friends, good coffee and food—may sound cliché, but I do place great value on friends and family. Good food and great coffee enhance this experience. Sometimes the more the wine, the better the friends become. (Think there is some truth in that …)

My first job was … A short stint as Client Liaison for a publishing company before a change took me to Bible School—taught me more of what I don’t want in life (i.e. religion), but did find what I wanted. Faith should be fun …

My most annoying habits are … Won’t put hot and cold food on the same plate. Happy to ask for two or three plates when coming over to your place for dinner. Must be the first to read the newspaper.

A clear childhood memory is … Catching octopus for the braai (BBQ) as kids. Seriously more than a handful. Those who have done this will understand. Two hands versus 8 tentacles—go figure!

What makes me really nervous is … The sovereignty of God is not an excuse to leave things up to God. I believe that most people are consumed with safety at the expense of adventure. I don’t want to miss out on what God has in store for me each day, I never want to be ordinary.

The best advice my parents gave me was … 

  1. Live close to school. We do, although we will change next year
  2. Don’t let finances dictate. I don’t—I live to be happy and happy to live. I do live joyfully!
  3. Never get into debt. In 17 years of marriage we have never bought on credit—every appliance, every car, every holiday as been cash. (Oh, except houses—we love them and sometimes have had up to ten.)
  4. Marry up. Well I did, but that was me, not my parents.

If I wasn’t in my current profession, I’d be … I don’t have a current profession—don’t believe in mission statements, etc. as we seldom are honest with regards to them. I generally think ‘outside the box’. My profession is living life to the full and I think I do that well. I lead the best church on earth. If it wasn’t I would move on. This is my calling. Ali, my wife, and I buy and ‘flip’ houses. This allows our creativity to flow and we make money!!! We are busy and often have numerous projects on the go.

Stewart and Alison recently featured in Entrepreneur Magazine – http://www.entrepreneurmag.co.za/

I’m most thankful for …

  1. Jesus, Pappa-God and Holy Spirit—They gave me my life and allow me to live it to the extreme
  2. I am happiest when intoxicated in His goodness.
  3. My gorgeous wife and three incredible kids—11, 12 and 13 years old—they have already outshone me!
  4. That I am free from religion.
  5. That I can honour my parents and do so with integrity.

My favourite meal is … Thai duck curry and any curry the morning after.

I know it’s good for me, but I hate … Veggies and exercise.

Books I love …

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A song that resonates is … ‘I Did it My Way’ by Frank Sinatra—to be played at my wake.

My ‘happy place’ is … Long lie in with the whole family in the bed together.

My most embarrassing memory is … When leading a new church many years ago we had a new band playing for the first time. It was an opportunity for folk to invite friends and family. The chap leading worship arrived in the morning explaining that he was not well at all. We agreed that they play two songs and stop and that he would then quietly sneak out. Halfway through the first song he promptly turned around and vomited on the floor! Not having a musical note in me, I had no choice but to step over the vomit and assume the role as lead musician and vocal singer. Oh, how I love a gracious and forgiving church.

My hidden skill is … Take me out for coffee and I might reveal.

If I was a dog, I’d … Never have to eat veggies again.

It’s a bit corny but I love … Sitting at a pavement cafe or bistro in a bustling vibrant city, enjoying the buskers, the interaction of folk and the culture of something different.

I’m most at peace when … Having a take away and good DVD with Alison.

Country I’d love to visit … We have had the privilege of travelling extensively, but I still hope to do a glacier boat trip through Alaska.

Favourite quote … Paul in 1 Corinthians 2:4 “… and my message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power”. This allows me to live my life and not worry about proving it or justifying what my small mind can’t.


“Off the Cuff” with SuzelleDIY!


SOUTH AFRICA — Somerset West’s rapidly rising domestic goddess, Suzelle DIY, star of the endearingly funny Bitesize Do-It-Yourself Webseries on YouTube, chats to JournoNews.

My secret pleasure is … Watching soapies while drinking tea with a lot of condensed milk in it.

My first job was … for a company that made road signs. My job was to put a lot of letters into a lot of envelopes. I invented a way to do it very quickly, maybe I should make a DIY video about it.

My most annoying habits are … Finishing other people’s sentences and talking too much … well that’s what Marianne says.

A clear childhood memory is … Winning a raffle competition when I was in Grade 2 – I won a double adapter plug and an extension cable.

What makes me really nervous is … Those small dogs that make that snoring sound when they breathe.

The best advice my parents gave me was … My mom always told me to dress in my best no matter what – even if you are just popping down to the shops – you never know if you might make a new friend or meet your future husband.

If I wasn’t a DIY expert, I’d be … A TV show presenter.

I’m most thankful for … Masking tape, my creativity and my best friend Marianne.

My favourite meal is … Bobotie baked in a pumpkin.

I know it’s good for me, but I hate … Drinking plain water. It needs to be jazzed up a bit.

A book I love is … Reader’s Digest “How to do just about anything.”

A song that resonates is … “Hall of Fame.” Maybe I can also go in the hall of fame one day.

My ‘happy place’ is … In my kitchen making something delicious.

My most embarrassing memory is … One time when me and Marianne went to the movies, a boy poured a box of popcorn over my head.

My hidden skill is … Dancing!

If I was a dog, I’d be a … Oh no, I wouldn’t like to be a dog. But If I have to choose, I would like to be that long-haired dog from the TV that helps people.

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It’s a bit corny but I love … Sweet corn on toast? Is that what you mean?

I’m most at peace when … I am asleep having a lovely dream.

Country I’d love to visit … America!

Favourite quote … D – I – Why? Because anybody can.

You can see more of Suzelle on :

“Off the Cuff” with funny man, Barry Hilton

A PROFESSIONAL INTERNATIONAL stand up comedian for 32 years, Barry Hilton lives in South Africa but works globally. He has starred in two movies and produced award-winning DVD’s, is sought after for corporate events and his public performances are sold out world-wide.

My secret pleasure is … cooking … with my thermomix.

My first job was … a school boy.

My most annoying habits are … my wife says it is leaving the bathroom floor flooded after my shower and my love of fart jokes, not being able to concentrate on any one thing for very long, my phobia about not having my passport on me and checking for it every two minutes while travelling, asking where things are before I’ve even looked for them … before this list overtakes the whole interview, let’s stop it here.

A clear childhood memory is … when I was ten years old, it was summer time in the UK where we lived and the sky was absolutely clear. I was playing outside at night and I looked up and saw a massive rock floating past me in the sky. It was obviously a meteor, it was around 1967 or 1968 . It was just tumbling slowly through the sky and is the most vivid memory I have. Even though it must have lasted only five or six seconds, it seemed like forever, it was fascinating.

What makes me really nervous is … just before I do a gig I get really nervous and I want to vomit. My hands sweat and I ask myself if I’m really in the right job. I’ve been asking myself for 30 years!

The best advice my parents gave me was … don’t ever come into the room like that again, without knocking first.

If I wasn’t a comedian, I’d be … a car salesman.

I’m most thankful for … my beautiful wife and six healthy children.

My favorite meal is … curry.

I know it’s good for me, but I hate … going to bed early.

Books I love … DIY and cooking books.

A song that resonates is … Imagine by John Lennon. It says it all.

My ‘happy place’ is … at my home, with my family.

My most embarrassing memory is … performing my show and when I asked to be paid, the organisers said they hadn’t hired me! The actual venue was directly across the road. By the time I got there, the audience had left and those organizers also didn’t pay me.

My hidden skill is … still looking.

If I was a dog, I’d be a … complete bitch. Actually, I’d prefer to be a dolphin. Tweet this

It’s a bit corny but I love … it when my kids kiss me hello and goodbye – even the oldest ones who are in their 30s.

I’m most at peace when … I’m riding my bicycle.

Country I’d love to visit … India and Egypt.

Favourite quote … “If everybody every day, gave somebody something, everybody’s life would be a little bit better.” Tweet this


Barry’s humour transcends all boundaries and he is well known for his clean shows which have no swearing, explicit content or blasphemy. “When I was starting out as a comedian, one of my mentors told me ‘Keep it clean and you’ll always be on the scene’,” says Barry. Those words from UK comic Johnny Noble have stayed with him to this day and he has been on the comedy scene for an incredible three decades.

His universal appeal has earned him a fan base that spans continents and has seen him perform on five continents in the last six months. Audiences in America, Hong Kong, London, Ireland, Amsterdam, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Mauritius, across Africa (including Zambia, Mozambique, Botswana, Swaziland) and on three international cruise liners this year, have had nothing but praise for this talented entertainer.

Barry does have a special appeal for ex-South Africans but has fine-tuned his shows to international audiences and gets people of every nationality to enjoy a good belly laugh. Anyone can relate to Barry’s comedy style because, apart from the odd gag, his laugh-raising is mainly the comedy of observation.

He takes everyday occurrences and people, adds the personal touch and references to his home and children and keeps the laughs coming at an incredible rate. His outrageous facial expressions and animated physical antics add to his unique appeal and have resulted in rave reviews and rapturous applause. See what some of his audiences have had to say:

  • “Explosive, Universal and Very Funny,” Jami Gong of the TakeOut Comedy Club Hong Kong
  • “Barry Hilton must be the funniest comedian to have ever come out of South Africa and he is set to be one of the big comedy names in Australia and everywhere else that he is now working,” Graeme Gillies, Grayboy Entertainment, Sydney.
  • “Hilarious, we hope he comes back soon, said Pamela Doran of London’s Clapham Grand. “Barry attracts more British audience members than any other international comedian.”
  • “A master comedian; Barry Hilton owns the stage,” said Grant Ferris of the Laughter Lounge in Dublin. “The venue was packed to capacity and a great time was had by all.”


“Off the Cuff” with Artist, Louise Grove Wiechers


Louise-Grove-WiechersTAMBORINE MOUNTAIN, SOUTH EAST QUEENSLAND—South African born artist, Louise Grove Wiechers owns and runs Redbarnstudio, a working studio and gallery in The Scenic Rim area of Australia’s Gold Coast Hinterland. Louise has had many solo and group exhibitions and has won several art awards. Her work forms part of many private and corporate collections worldwide. She chats to JN.

My secret pleasure is … Lying in a hammock … reading … condensed milk …

My first job was … When I was a student, I worked in the Barley Lab of the Wheat Board, evaluating the germination rates of barley grains … strange, but true …

My most annoying habits are … Trying to achieve perfection … impatience … being so enthusiastic, that I run out of speed …

A clear childhood memory is … Smelling orange blossoms on the farm near White River, South Africa … my mom and dad were looking after a citrus farm when I was small. I also recall the rhythmic late afternoon African drumming of the workers on the farm.

What makes me really nervous is … Thunder and lightning.

The best advice my parents gave me was … Try to be kind … and if you fail, try harder …

If I wasn’t an artist, I’d be … A jewellery designer.

I’m most thankful for … My new life in Australia … a land that has provided so much joy and adventure.

My favourite meal is … Pancakes for breakfast, lunch or dinner …

I know it’s good for me, but I hate … Flossing my teeth.

A book I love is … Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature by Linda Lear.

A song that resonates is … ‘Fragile’ by Sting

My ‘happy place’ is … Walking on the beach at sunset …

My most embarrassing memory is … Being caught by the primary school headmaster,while trying to crack a macadamia nut ‘stolen’ from his precious tree …

My hidden skill is … Playing piano.

If I was a dog, I’d be a … Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.


It’s a bit corny but I love … Cycling along the ocean in the late afternoon.

I’m most at peace when … I hear the sounds of the rainforest birds, overlooking our deck …

Country I’d love to visit … Denmark.

Favourite quote … An artist leaves his mark upon the world through LONE endeavor

Red Vineyard


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