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South African writer Trevor Kleinhans, 51, is based in Durban and is the author of 'Secrets Make You Sick', a story about abuse, honesty and emotional purging.

Trevor Kleinhans was abused as a child and grew up in a country where it was illegal to be gay. His life spun out of control in his 40s, despite his initial success as an MD of a major blue-chip corporation, when he became addicted to crack cociane and contracted HIV.

After reaching rock bottom, Trevor finally admitted his secrets to his friends, family and colleagues, and with their support entered rehab. Writing Secrets Make You Sick was part of his therapy, and his story has already become a bestseller in the US, inspiring many others to confront their own problems openly.

What is your job title?

I'm the author of Secrets Make You Sick, and I'm also a motivational speaker.

What does your job entail?

I am currently writing my second book, titled Secrets Make You Sick Too. This is a continuation of my life and explains the reasons as to why I chose the type of partners that I did. I also have one final secret to reveal, which I kept from my psychologist up until very recently. I also do motivational talks to corporate companies - having been Managing Director of a large corporate company in South Africa, I am aware of the stress that these positions carry and by not dealing with issues how it can affect you in the work place; I try to show that being brutally honest is not such a scary thing.

I give educational talks at universities, schools and rehabilitation centres regarding childhood sexual abuse and how it affects your adult life. I also give talks on drug abuse and the dangers of experimenting and the dangers of lack of knowledge.

What’s the best bit?

I am doing something that I am passionate about. I am getting to talk to people of all ages, but more specifically younger people who can learn from my mistakes in life. I wish I had been educated about drugs when I was younger - I wish that someone had spoken to me about my childhood sexual abuse and the long-term damage it can do to you in your adult life if you do not deal with it professionally. So the best bit is being able to help others.

And the worst?

I travel quite a bit, and I have to leave my two dogs at home. I always miss them.

How did you get your job?

Through years of life experience. Up until June last year I was Managing Director of a very large logistics company in South Africa. I employed around 500 staff and had nine depots around the country, so this is quite a big change.

What qualifications/experience do you need?

You need many years of life experience - and many years of making mistakes and learning from them. You need loads of willpower and positive energy to be able to pick yourself up whenever you hit rock bottom and know you are going to climb even higher the next time around.

What advice would you give someone who would like a job such as yours?

I don’t refer to what I do as a job, I think that is the difference. This is not a job, it is a calling. You need passion, dedication and the time to give to people that need your help. It gives me the most satisfaction knowing I have helped someone.

To find out more about Trevor, click here to visit his website. 


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Career spotlight: Author and Motivational Speaker
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