Meet the Team

Editorial

George Mazarakis
Mazarakis is in his 23rd year as Executive Producer of Carte Blanche and is known as a Television producer in several genres, from Current Affairs in M-Net’s Carte Blanche and the Oscar Pistorius Trial Channel, to lifestyle and entertainment shows such as LOOKS2Live By and Show Me The Mommy, to large-scale global broadcasts such as the FINAL DRAW for the FIFA 2010 WORLD CUP South Africa, the debate between Nelson Mandela and FW de Klerk, the ELECTION of 1994 and the MILLENIUM BROADCAST from Robben Island.

Jon Sparkes
Jon Sparkes is the owner of the Carte Blanche production company, Combined Artistic Productions. He has been responsible for the production of more than six Miss World and Miss South Africa pageants, and successfully promoted tours by Billy Connolly, UB40, Wet Wet Wet and Mike and the Mechanics.

Wynand Grobler
As a graduate in Film and Video Technology from Pretoria Technikon in 1996, Wynand Grobler began his career in television as a production coordinator on sport programmes before freelancing on an investigative series for Discovery Channel.

Chwayitisa Futshane
Chwayitisa graduated from Rhodes University in 2012 and is a recipient of the Carte Blanche bursary. She specialised in television production and joined the Carte Blanche family in 2012.

Anna-Maria van Niekerk
Political studies graduate (M. Phil Cum Laude) Anna-Maria debuted at the SABC in 2000, won 3 CNN African Journalist category awards, the overall International Federation of Journalists’ award & overall Vodacom journalist of the year award. She joined Carte Blanche in 2006 & won the overall Discovery Health Journalist of the Year & repeated Discovery category awards. Lately she focuses on the environmental, health & human rights consequences of mining.

Tony Beamish
Tony joined Carte Blanche in 2015. He is an award-winning print and online investigative journalist. A lawyer by training, his twenty years of investigations have covered a wide range of topics emanating from the legal, financial and aviation sectors and more. He has extensive experience in public interest litigation and has been described as an “activist journalist”.

Sasha Schwendenwein
Sasha Schwendenwein has three Bachelor degrees from Houston University in Texas and a Masters from Columbia University’s Joseph Pulitzer School of Journalism in New York. Sasha joined Carte Blanche in 2012. She won the Journalist of the Year Award 2014 from the National Press Club, and a SAFTA Award for a story she co-produced on child abuse. She works mostly on investigative and human rights stories. She is also a former all-American and Springbok swimmer, having represented both Austria and South Africa.

Laura Byrne
Laura has a BA from Wits University and graduated from York University (UK) with a Masters in Postcolonial Studies in 2013. She worked on the Oscar Pistorius Trial Channel and local newspapers before joining the Carte Blanche team in 2015.

Sinethemba Nogude
Sinethemba is a Journalism graduate from Walter Sisulu University in the Eastern Cape. He joined the Carte Blanche Family in 2015 as a journalism intern, and was soon offered a full-time position as a researcher.

Siniketiwe Hlanze
Siniketiwe Hlanze graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism from Rhodes University in 2013 and started her career at the Johannesburg BBC News Beauro as a junior producer, where she covered news events both in the country and Africa. She’s also worked as a weekend newsreader on 702 and Power987 before joining Carte Blanche in 2018.

Production

Diana Lucas
Diana Lucas has been a Carte Blanche producer for more than 10 years, preferring stories of an esoteric nature with human drama elements. She has been to all four corners of the globe with Carte Blanche covering stories such as life on a US Aircraft Carrier off the Iraqi coast, a look into the mystery of civilization and the Egyptian Pyramids, an interview with the famous Brazilian healer, and more recently an interview with alternative health guru Deepak Chopra.

Joy Summers
Joy Summers began producing for Carte Blanche in 1995. Two years later she was appointed Story Editor. In 2001 she moved on to become the Africa and International Commissioning Editor. She spent five years as the managing editor on the local version of the show. For several years she was the studio director of Carte Blanche Africa. Currently she is back in the field working as a producer for Carte Blanche.

Carol Albertyn Christie
Carol's career in television started when she received a Diploma in Film and Video Technology Pretoria Technikon in 1985. Thereafter she worked as a video editor for 11 years. In 1996 she became a producer of documentaries, corporate programmes, television channel promos and branding, music videos and magazine inserts. Carol joined Carte Blanche as a producer in 1998 and has since won a number of awards.

Graham Coetzer
Graham Coetzer joined Carte Blanche in 2009 and has produced stories exposing torture, fraud, scams and corruption. From covering tow truck wars to exposing rent-a-baby scams, Graham prefers to focus on the criminal underbelly of society. He has worked as a producer/director across the African continent, and was extensively involved in productions for the Carte Blanche Oscar Pistorius Trial channel.

Eugene Botha
Eugene Botha joined Carte Blanche in 1999, he has been involved in the television industry in a freelance capacity for more than 15 years. Over the years he has produced a variety of material in a variety of genres for all the channels and broadcasters in South Africa.

Kate Barry
Kate Barry joined Carte Blanche in 1995 as a scriptwriter and assistant producer. She began producing her own inserts in 2000, for which she has received several journalism awards. Kate has also directed other M-Net productions like “Talk With Tumi Makgabo”, “Living It” and “Criminal Minds”. Her many scripting credits include the Final Draw of the FIFA World Cup 2010. Recently Kate directed the live feed of the Oscar Pistorius Trial from the courtroom.

Nicky Troll
Nicky Troll started in investigative journalism in 2002 working in Durban. In 2012 Nicky moved to Jozi to pursue a career with Carte Blanche. Working in all aspects of TV journalism, her passion is exposing crime and corruption. She has won a number of awards, including SAB Environmental Journalist of the Year; CNN Journalist of the Year: General Features; and the European Commission’s Lorenzo Natali Award for Africa.

Tarryn Crossman
Tarryn Crossman is an award-winning documentary filmmaker base in JHB, South Africa. Tarryn studied journalism at Rhodes for a year, she then went on to graduate from AFDA and after working in the TV industry for many years, decided to move to NYC to specialise in documentary filmmaking. On return she started her own production company and focused on telling stories from around Africa for local and international audiences. She has screened her documentary films at international festivals and won awards for independent and commercial work. She started producing for Carte Blanche in 2016.

Liz Fish
Liz Fish joined Carte Blanche in 2007 as a producer. Her first major insert was an award-winning investigation into fraudulent labelling of commercially available fish. Before joining Carte Blanche she spent 25 years producing and directing tv documentaries for local and international broadcasters after graduating from UCT in the mid-80s. She specialises in environmental investigations, and has won numerous awards including the inaugural David Suzuki Green Producer Award at the Banff World Media Festival in Canada in 2011, and the 2010 Siemens Pan African Science Journalist of the Year.

Nikola Vrahimis
Nikola joined the Carte Blanche team in 2010 as Production Co-ordinator and became the Production Manager in 2011. Her role is to coordinate and supervise the production of Carte Blanche.

Nombuso Nkosi
As a Freelance Production Manager and Associate Producer, Nombuso Nkosi has had the privilege of working on a variety projects in the film and television space both locally and in Africa. Nombuso has recently joined the team as a Carte Blanche's Production Coordinator.

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