Joan joined the Anti-Apartheid Movement in South Africa in 1972, having realised that the minority white voters were unlikely to bring change through the ballot box. She was introduced to active nonviolence at Mahatma Ghandi’s Ashram north of Durban in South Africa and remains committed to active nonviolence as a way of life.
She was born and brought up in the Eastern Cape in South Africa where she became politically aware at a young age: she saw first-hand the devastation that was brought by inequality: in the workplace through her mother being paid less than a man doing the same work; in society by seeing how the inequality of apartheid played out in the lives of citizens in different ethnic groups.
This led to a lifetime in the quest for justice, without which there is no peace. This played out at a personal level; working voluntarily as a lay counsellor at the Martindale Counselling Centre in Johannesburg and at a professional level through filling different roles in different anti-apartheid organisations through the 1970s, 80s and 90s.
In 2001 Joan moved to the United Kingdom to work at Responding to Conflict in Birmingham. She is currently Director of her own Consultancy, and works internationally from bases in the UK and Johannesburg.