Defend Truth

20 Questions with Kristin Engel

Get a sneak peek into the life of Our Burning Planet journalist Kristin Engel as she answers 20 questions for Maverick Insiders

It’s material but I don’t know how I would survive without my iPhone. She’s my morning newspaper, entertainment, bank, and everything in between. 

Playing with the two loves and terrors of my life, my dogs Molly and Jumper who are guaranteed to make anyone feel better. 

F*ck shit up/ Be the nonsense you want to see in the world. 

Retired. Joking, but I truly would love to travel the world writing about the impacts of climate change across the world in real-time. 

Anna from Frozen said it best, “The sky’s awake, so I’m awake. So we have to play.” My days start at 5 AM, regardless of whether I’m working or not so I would say I’m definitely a morning person. 

Difficult as it can be, try to make the most of each day.

It’s actually a tragedy. I lost my house keys and had to break into my house – let’s just say that scaling walls and spiked gates will definitely leave you with scrapes and bruises everywhere.

The book that has sat with me most over the past year is the bilingual volume of poetry, titled ‘Testimony’, by the late Victor Wessels, which was published in December 2022, 40 years after his death and banning. He was an accomplished teacher, writer and a stalwart in the Struggle against racial capitalism in South Africa – one of many voices silenced during apartheid. He received a restrictive banning order which placed him under house arrest and barred him from all public gatherings and publishing any reading matter, as well as from entering schools, universities or public libraries.

To play a team sport, soccer, basketball, or volleyball. My sports career in high school was extremely short-lived and I have dreams to live out.

If I hear Elon Musk’s name one more time, my head will surely explode.

If I had five years left to live, my goal would be to experience as much of life as possible. Go skydiving, go to festivals, travel to as many places as possible, immerse myself in different cultures, and spend as much time with my friends and family as possible. In hindsight, I think I’ll probably end up doing this even if I had more than five years to live.

Everything might not actually be okay. A lot of the time, things probably won’t end up okay but what will likely get us through to the end are comforting phrases like: “Everything will be fine.” 

The amount of aches, pains and mental labour that come with planning meals and cooking everyday.

Celebrating and spoiling themselves for small achievements.

Less holding back. Life is short enough as is, be as coloruful, loud and as adventurous as you want to. 

Dismiss all South Africa’s unqualified and geriatric ministers, a complete overhaul of the executive and employ competent individuals.

A must-watch movie for everyone is Spotlight, released in 2015. I promise I wasn’t glued to the screen just because I’m a journalist but the film was genuinely enthralling with a new editor joining the Boston Globe and pushing a team of journalists to uncover a story about child molestation charges against the Catholic church. A series recommendation would have to be Chernobyl, a dramatisation of the worst nuclear disasters in history.

Beef tongue. Yes it’s tradition and normal to eat, but the weird texture and oddity always makes my stomach turn.

A tik tok of a guy selling fish stickers at a market in Venice, and wrapping them in newspaper when giving them to customers. Followed by a tik tok compilation of babies falling over. 

I learned to play the recorder at 4 years-old and played it all through primary school. I’m still waiting to see its relevance in adulthood. 

JPEG image 3

Kristin Engel

Our Burning Planet Journalist