Speaker Profile: Michael Charton

172

Michael Charton’s passion for the story of South Africa gradually lured him away from his established corporate career and saw him establish Inherit South Africas: a company aiming to make South Africa’s history more accessible. In two short years, Michael has established himself as one of South Africa’s busiest speakers, carrying a message that our traumatic past carries unlikely powers of unity and nation building.

In very few countries is one’s past so integrally linked to one’s present as it is in South Africa. However, many South Africans, often by their own admission, carry either an incomplete or predisposed view of the past.

Michael’s story My Father’s Coat represents the fruits of his decade-long ambition to make the incredible story, which is South African history, more accessible. To open the hearts of South Africans of our past, so that we may use our remarkable story no longer as a tool to inspire hatred and fear and division, but rather as a source of unity and healing.

Accordingly, Michael’s idea was to condense the epic narrative of South Africa into a bite-size story, while remaining both compelling and balanced. A monumental challenge, taking two years to construct, but which has ultimately given rise to a unique product, providing new order and meaning to a notoriously complex subject.

But importantly, this is no history lecture. Instead, this is a story. A human story, told through the eyes of five prominent and directly-interlinked protagonists spanning 200 turbulent years: Mzilikazi, Kruger, Rhodes, Smuts and Mandela. So, while historians actively try to eliminate the biases so prevalent in our story, Michael, in a sense, embraces them.

And as he introduces you to each of his five characters, he allows them to lure you under their spell by subtly endorsing their beliefs and biases. But, with the careful introduction of each subsequent character, important insights are leaked into the narrative, thus undermining previous biases, until a layered and more balanced view of our complex past is gradually revealed.

My Father’s Coat has struck a powerful chord with corporate South Africa. And while this isn’t a traditional corporate product, our current political climate has audiences finding tremendous relevance in the story. Michael’s clients use the story for the purposes of opening up conversations around transformation, for entertaining clients and for hosting unique internal events.

Further, the broad relevance offered by My Father’s Coat has allowed clients the rare opportunity to host spouses, clients and suppliers at a special event offering both insight and entertainment, while offering a valuable opportunity for interaction.

This is a unique life experience. An opportunity to reflect on our past and to celebrate the fascinating peoples with whom we are all privileged to share this country.

For more information, or to book Michael to speak at your event, please contact Unique Speaker Bureau.