Born in Thabazimbi, Limpopo Province, Willemien kicked of her media studies career with a BA in Journalism at the University of Pretoria. After then doing a BPhil Honours in Journalism at Stellenbosch University, she went abroad to the USA to do her Masters in Media Studies at the University of Oregon. She is currently enrolled as a PhD candidate at the University of Cape Town. Willemien has practical experience in both journalism and strategic communication. Her interests lie in race, gender, identity and strategic communication in Africa. She is currently focusing on human rights and sustainable development and China’s soft power efforts on the African continent.