His career in journalism includes serving as the political correspondent of the Financial Mail, Sunday Times and Business Day. In 1988 he was the founder and editor of the first anti-apartheid Afrikaans newspaper Vrye Weekblad which became famous for its fearless reporting and exposés of the apartheid government’s death squads. He joined the SABC in 1994 and pioneered and presented such programmes as the Special Report on the Truth Commission and Special Assignment. He was dismissed by the SABC in 1999 “for disrespecting SABC management”, a charge he could not deny.
Max now works as a syndicated columnist, a documentary film maker, a political analyst and popular public speaker.
He has written nine highly acclaimed books on South African history and politics. The updated and revised edition of his memoir, Pale Native – Memories of a Renegade Reporter, as well as its Afrikaans equivalent, Dwars – Mymeringe van ‘n Gebleikte Afrikaan, have just been published. Among his other published books are Of Warriors, Lovers and Prophets, Of Tricksters, Tyrants and Turncoats, Oranje Blanje Blues, Essence of a Land, The World According to Julius Malema (with Mandy Rossouw) and Oor Krygers, Korrelkoppe en Konkelaars. He has just been commissioned by Penguin Books (UK) to write The Rough Guide to Nelson Mandela, to be published in the UK, the US, Canada, Australia and South Africa by mid-2011.
He is a Fellow in Applied Leadership Values at the University of Fort Hare and an honorary research associate at the Centre for Film and Media Studies at the University of Cape Town. Among his many awards are the Pringle Award from the South African Society of Journalists, the Louis M Lyons Award from the Nieman Fellows at Harvard University, the Excellence in Journalism Award from the Southern African Foreign Correspondents Association and an honorary degree from the University of Cape Town. He was the 2006 Yale Globalist International Journalist of the Year and the 2008 recipient of the prestigious Nat Nakasa Award for integrity and courage in journalism from the SA National Editors Forum.