John W Fredericks (born October 7, 1946) was a writer and storyteller. He has written many award-winning films like Noem My Skollie and Shooting Bokkie.

The life he lived was so extraordinary and translated into writing. His autobiography Skollie: One man’s struggle to survive by telling stories, says a lot about him. 

His honest tales gained late storyteller readers from around the world.

John W Fredericks
John W Fredericks biography
Fredericks died on July 7, 2019, after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.
Quick Facts
Full Name:John W Fredericks
Born:October 7, 1946
Died:July 7, 2019 (age 73 years old)
Nationality:South African
Parents:Kathleen and Philip
Children:Eugene, Sonia, Melanie, Janine, Quinton
Occupation:Write, storyteller

Early Life

John W Fredericks was born on October 7, 1946, to the family of Kathleen and Philip. His parents did menial jobs to raise him and his siblings.

His father worked as a refuse collector while his mother worked in the abattoir. John grew up in the Cape Flats suburb of Kewtown in a humble family.

Fredericks sought books and anything else of resale value as a child.


Many things happening around him inspired him to write. From his unforgiving childhood experience to the scarcity of food in the house.

Another incident that influenced his passion for writing was his family experience with gang members. His family suffered from the reign of terror of the gang members who ruled the Cape Flats.


After his arrest, he experienced his friend from childhood being inducted into one of the infamous gangs. The worse part was forcefully making him a concubine.

Fredericks’s talent in storytelling saved him a lot and was his escape plan from these bitter experiences in prison. He would tell captivating stories to the prisoners, which shielded him from turning into a concubine.

In the early seventies, John came out of prison and continued with storytelling. He participated in a creative writing class sponsored by the ATKV.

Later in 1988, John was active in the launching of a screenwriting workshop by the South African Screenwriters Laboratory. He has also written for the FunDza Literacy Trust.

After his return to the country from a film festival in Italy in the late nineties, he started to write the script for the film Noem My Skollie. 

In 2000, the producer David Max Brown loved the script, and they started sourcing funds. In 2016, the movie became a success.

Shooting Bokkie is another film he wrote, Rob de Mezieres directed the movie. He left his work as a security officer after Penguin Random House made a better offer.

They offered John a six-month contract to pen down eighty-two thousand words in twenty-six chapters. 

Young Ones

John W Fredericks survived many traumatic experiences as a teenager. He was a victim of rape and formed a gang – Young Ones.

All the gang members of the gang were apprehended and taken to the notorious Pollsmoor Prison.

John, who was seventeen years old, received three years of incarceration. His sentence was punishment for trying to steal a radio from a shop.

Personal Life

John W Fredericks married his wife Una and they had a fruitful marriage. The couple’s children are Eugene, Sonia, Melanie, Janine, and Quinton.

The storyteller siblings include Grace, Francis, Cecelia, Valery, Gloria, Ivan, and Diane. In October 2012, he lost his son Clint Fredericks to gang-related circumstances.

Cause of Death

John W Fredericks died on July 7, 2019, after a long battle with pancreatic cancer, at the age of 73.