MEET: Chris van Blerk

Posted on December 15, 2020

“I enjoy creating something new from nothing,” says the Faculty of Veterinary Science’s Head of Communications, Media and Marketing.

Chris van Blerk has been with UP since 1998, and has been the Faculty of Veterinary Science’s Head of Communications, Media and Marketing since 2003. He told Tukkievaria more about his work, his career history, and his personal favourites.

Where did you work prior to joining UP?

Before I joined UP’s Faculty of Health Sciences in 1998 I worked for five years in the public service at the South African Communication Services (SACS), now known as the Government Communication and Information Service (GCIS). Previously I was a journalist employed by the Potchefstroom Herald as Sports Editor while still busy with postgraduate studies at the North-West University (PUK), as well as Mediacom Publishers, writing for various magazines. After five years at the Faculty of Health Sciences I was appointed at the Faculty of Veterinary Science in 2003.

What attracted you to UP?

I always wanted to return to the higher education sector with its academic atmosphere, unique structures and expertise, and UP obviously offered all of that and more.

What does your day-to-day role entail?

Managing and planning all aspects of our Faculty’s internal and external communication, media and marketing functions, including social media, publications, and corporate communication. Writing is obviously a fundamental part of my job.

What would you like to improve in your faculty and why?

Veterinary Science and the important role that veterinarians (and veterinary nurses) play in the economy of a country as well as their role globally is still something that is not always properly understood. We have made progress in changing perceptions, but a lot still needs to be done. 

What do you enjoy most about your job and why?

To create something new from nothing, such as a speech, an article or a message. Not only does it stimulate creative thinking but it sets in motion other thought processes, which always leads to new ideas.

What is your least favorite part of the job?

The occasional red tape, and last-minute unplanned requests.

What do you do in your free time?

Reading is something I really enjoy, especially books from authors such as Lee Child, Frederick Forsyth, Jeffrey Archer, John Grisham and Deon Meyer, as well as certain biographies. Playing squash is a favorite hobby and taking my dogs for a walk or a run is always great fun. I also like historic documentaries.

What are your personal likes and dislikes?

Likes: I like order, intelligent conversations and kindness. I also like to absorb new knowledge (I read a lot), working with verified facts, good music, and a good movie. One of my favourite quotes is, “I never lose. Either I win or I learn.”

Dislikes: I despise abuse against women, children and animals in any form. I also believe that if you pay for any service there is no excuse for such a service not to be excellent. 


Favourite… :

Food: Leg of lamb

Movie: Hacksaw Ridge

Actors: Anne Hathaway, Denzel Washington and the late Sean Connery

Musician: Vaya Con Dios and Bruce Springsteen


- Author Jimmy Masombuka

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