There is no set path for a CA(SA) to follow and Michael Charton is a case in point. Michael has become somewhat of a South African icon and today is perhaps best known as a story teller and the creator and protagonist of ‘My Fathers Coat’, a remarkable history of South Africa, as well as the founder of Inherit South Africa, a company established with the aim of keeping the country’s history alive.
Michael had a traditional start to his corporate career. A Capetonian, he studied accounting and finance first at the University of Stellenbosch and then at the University of Cape Town. At the same time he also concentrated on two of his greatest loves during this stage of his life: rugby and reading.
Once qualified as a CA(SA) he left the country to pursue a financial advisory role in the United States, returning to South Africa where he stated working in the advertising industry. Here, he achieved much professional success, taking on the role of financial director at advertising agency FCB South Africa and later group financial director at Publicis Machine.
Despite these undoubtable top-drawer credentials, it was during 2010 that Michael gave way to his love of storytelling, whilst working on a project for a client. By 2015, he had developed a number of original non-fiction stories about South Africa, which found their way into the hearts of thousands of South Africans and visitors to the country.
It was in 2015 that Michael took the decision to resign his role as financial director and concentrate full time on the creation of these stories, whilst studying South African history at UNISA. Each story was inspired by the history of the country, beginning with “First World Champions” which recounts the fabled story of the Springbok’s rugby tour to New Zealand in 1937.
The highly acclaimed “My Fathers Coat” tells the story of South Africa’s complex history over a time period of 200 years, as Michael describes it from the perspective of five of the country’s most influential leaders: Mzilikazi, Paul Kruger, Cecil John Rhodes, Jan Smuts and Nelson Mandela.
The founding of his company, Inherit South Africa, allows Michael to fulfil his ambition of keeping South African history alive by making its rich past available and accessible to both South Africans and international visitors. His ultimate objective is to create understanding, entertainment and ultimately a platform for nation building through his vividly descriptive and meaningful retelling of the country’s greatest moments.
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