' You can cut the flowers, but you can't stop Spring from coming.' - Pablo Neruda
Zarina Maharaj is the writer/producer/director of the TV docudrama 'Flat 13', written for ETV (now eNCA), a South African TV channel with a global reach. Following multiple screenings in South Africa and award nominations at international film festivals, 'Flat 13' was then sought by the USA's PBS TV channel for screening to US audiences (see Film)
A graduate of the online Professional Program in Screenwriting at UCLA's School of Theater, Film and Television (TFT), and of the Screenwriting bootcamp held in early September 2017 at the National Film and Television School (NFTS) in Beaconsfield, UK, she was one of the handful selected - at the late-September 2017 London Screenwriters Festival - to 'Meet the Experts' at a roundtable of established British film producers and directors.
The author of the award-winning book 'Dancing to a Different Rhythm', reviewed, among others, by Nadine Gordimer, a SA'n Nobel Laureate of Literature - see Memoir - Zarina also wrote nationally syndicated newspaper columns/opinion articles on gender issues pertaining to SA, and contributed to debates in academic journals and conferences on issues of gender and socio-economic development (see Publications), having obtained an M.A in Gender and Development from the school of International Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex (UK) in the 1990's.
A dual South African/British citizen of mixed race, Zarina's education had initially been in Mathematics (M.Sc) at the University of Nottingham (UK). She then worked in this capacity in industry and academia in the UK, Europe and Africa, including in Geneva at the United Nations (UNCTAD), in London at Xerox International - which had earlier patented the idea of the compact digital fax machine, the original prototype of which she worked on improving as part of the international team assigned to this task - then in the office of President Samora Machel of Mozambique while on secondment as a Maths lecturer from the University of Maputo; and next , employed by the UK government as a liaison with the University of Cambridge , she led the team based at Zambia's University of Lusaka tasked with 'localising' the Cambridge Examinations System at national level for the Zambian government.
During that period in exile from South Africa, she worked at night in the anti-apartheid ANC's underground movement, in the communications team of the top secret 'Operation Vula', an operation charged in the late 1980's by then President Oliver Tambo with infiltrating the exiled ANC leadership back into SA.
In post-apartheid SA of the 1990's Zarina became a published writer, which she did jointly as a consultant on women's economic empowerment and as a trustee of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund.
For the role of wives and mothers in the struggle for freedom, see President Nelson Mandela's views in Struggle Days .
And for his views on the abuse of power and the personal rivalries and vendettas to which Zarina's family, among others, was subjected following President Mandela's term as the first democratically-elected and black president of SA, see Shades of Difference and Abuse of Power .