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Anthony Hazlitt Heard was born in Johannesburg in 1937. He matriculated from Durban High School in 1954. In 1955 he joined the Cape Times as a junior reporter. He became parliamentary reporter in 1958, later becoming political correspondent. He joined the Financial Mail as Cape Editor in 1964, went to London in 1966 as senior correspondent in the SA Morning Newspapers Group office, and returned to South Africa in 1967 to take up the position of leader-page editor of the Cape Times in 1967. He was appointed to the position of editor in 1971 and held the position until his controversial dismissal in 1987. Thereafter he worked as a freelance journalist and consultant on media matters. From 1990-1994 he was media consultant to the Rector of the University of the Western Cape. In 1994, he served on the cabinet-appointed committee to implement proposals on government communications after 1994. He served as special adviser to the Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry (1994-1999) and the Minister of Education (1999-2000). In 2000 he was appointed special adviser to the Minister in the Presidency, a position he currently (2008) holds.
In 1985, Anthony Heard was awarded the Pringle Award (by the South African Society of Journalists) and the Golden Pen of Freedom Award (by the World Association of Newspapers) for his courageous publication of an interview with the banned ANC leader Oliver Tambo. He was Visiting Nieman Fellow at Harvard University (1987-1988) and twice Visiting Fulbright Fellow at University of Arkansas (1989, 1992). He is the author of The Cape of Storms – a personal history of the crisis in South Africa (Ravan Press, 1991).