Travels From

South Africa

City

Cape Town

State | County | Province

Western Cape

Speaker Bio

Desiree-Anne Martin believes in the inherent ability of anyone to change. Her mantra is that there is hope, always, and she is a Change Catalyst and Inspirational Speaker.

Desiree-Anne is a prize-winning published author and poet. Her writing on racial identification, GBV, the myths of parenthood, sex and feminism has appeared in numerous print anthologies and corporate annuals. Her self-published poetry book/ journal ‘believe more deeply’, print journals, e-zines and poetry websites are home to several of her poems.

Her memoir ‘We Don’t Talk About It. Ever’ has been described by Barbara Boswell, acclaimed academic and award-winning author of ‘Grace: A Novel’ as “brilliantly-written and wrenching… whose prose transports you through a whirlwind of emotions”.

It chronicles Desiree-Anne’s life struggles, including childhood sexual abuse, family dysfunction, multiple addictions, toxic relationships, struggles in recovery, and mental health concerns.

This led her to become an intravenous heroin addict and sex worker. It is ultimately, however, a story of redemption, resilience and hope. She has now garnered over 17 years of sobriety.

Desiree-Anne obtained her Postgraduate Diploma in Addiction Care (with Honours) from the University of Cape Town in 2019, at the age of 42, with no undergraduate degree and obtaining admission on Recognition of Prior Learning.

She has gone on to become a Supervisor for students undertaking their MA in Creative Writing at the University of Cape Town, offering guidance and support with the process of writing and completion of their final dissertation.

She is an addiction, mental health and trauma-informed counsellor, and works together with adults and adolescents to help them overcome drug and alcohol dependence, eating disorders, sex, gambling and other self-defeating behaviours for the past 14 years.

Working with family members affected by addiction too, as no lives are ever left untouched by the illness.

Desiree-Anne Martin | Inspirational Adversity Speaker

Desiree-Anne also helps individuals work through trauma associated with physical, sexual and emotional abuse. She also imparts skills for how to deal with intense emotions, high levels of stress and a variety of mental illnesses.

She is the co-founder of The I AM Collective, a South African non-profit that is actively contributing to changing the narrative around gender-based violence.

A member of the Life Righting Collective, an NPO whose vision is to heal South Africa’s fractured past through the writing and sharing of personal stories. She has been an Industry Mentor for the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation since 2020.

As the director of her own company and a group practice, a lecturer, workshop facilitator, wife, full-time mother and part-time warrior woman, Desiree-Anne would like to share with you what she has learnt about building resilience and transforming adversity into opportunity and purpose.

She would like to show you how to unveil your unshakeable truth, find your authentic voice and speak your truth. She would like to show you that there is no failure in asking for help and no shame in showing vulnerability.

Desiree-Anne offers follow-up Corporate Wellness packages that are tailor-made to suit the needs of any organisation’s employees, including individual counselling and interventions, stress and emotional management, education around addiction, mental illness and trauma as well as support, and access to ongoing group or individual therapy.

She is also available to address high school learners and offers workshops on issues such as healthy versus unhealthy relationships, boundaries, high-risk behaviours and sexual consent.

Desiree-Anne Martin is a vocal advocate for the destigmatization of addiction, trauma and mental illness. She believes that everyone is impacted in some way by one or more of these issues. She wants you to know that help is available. Sometimes it finds you.

Find more Inspirational Speakers

      • Celeste Erasmus
        06/10/2022 at 7:00 pm

        Des recently did a talk for a group of Counsellors using writing as a form of expression. This was hugely beneficial as a tool to take away. Des really gave insight in self regulation. Most informative and engaging session. Highly recommended. Thanks Des you are amazing!

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      • Abigail Dreyer
        06/10/2022 at 1:03 pm

        Desiree-Anne delivered her address to medical students and faculty with such authenticity. She spoke with truth and challenged us as the medical fraternity to ask the question and be honest and true. She challenged us with such kindness and we need to explore future work. Thank you for your sharing and support to help us understand.

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        • Desiree-Anne
          06/13/2022 at 3:13 am

          Thank you so much, Abigail. It was a profound privilege and pleasure!

      • Tina Kempshall
        06/09/2022 at 10:04 am

        The Basileia Foundation had the honor of having Desiree Ann speak to the matric class of 2021 at Cedar High School of the Arts. What an inspiring, encouraging and motivational experience. The learners loved Desiree Ann’s friendly bubbly and open personality. We look forward to seeing you again soon ❤️

      • Charissa Balman
        06/09/2022 at 9:32 am

        Desiree-Anne Martin shared her story at one of our StoryLab events.
        Desiree- Anne speaks from her heart with vulnerability, honesty and courage. She has overcome so much trauma, speaks with brutual honesty about her cross addictions and life choices.
        She is inspirational , humourous and holds space that allows others to let go of judgement, prejudice and stigma.

      • Charissa Balman
        06/09/2022 at 9:30 am

        Desiree-Anne Martin shared her story at one of our StoryLab events.
        Desiree- Anne speaks from her heart with vulnerability, honesty and courage. She has overcome so much trauma, speaks with brutual honesty about her cross addictions and life choices.
        She is inspirational , humourous and holds space that allows others to let go of judgement, prejudice and stigma.
        Highly recommended as a speaker.

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