Born in South Africa in May 1950, Martin Plaut received his first degree in Social Science from the University of Cape Town, and an Honours degree in Industrial Relations from the University of the Witwatersrand, before going on to do an MA at the University of Warwick.
In 1978 he worked for a year as an Industrial Relations officer with Mobil Oil before joining the British Labour Party as secretary on Africa and the Middle East. In 1984 he joined the BBC, working primarily on Africa. He has reported from many parts of the continent but specialises in the Horn of Africa and Southern Africa. He is currently Africa editor, BBC World Service News.
Martin Plaut has advised the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the US State Department. For two years he was an Associate Fellow of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, leading their Africa research programme and continues to be an active member.
His pervious publications include:
Power! Black workers, their unions and the struggle for freedom in South Africa. Spokesman Press, 1984 (with Denis MacShane and David Ward)
South Africa: Out of the Laager? Fabian Society, 1991
War in the Horn Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1999 (with Patrick Gilkes)
Unfinished Business: Ethiopia and Eritrea at war Red Sea Press, 2005, (editor, with Dominique Jacquin-Berdal)
Ethiopia and Eritrea: Allergic to persuasion. Royal Institute of International Affairs, 2007 (with Sally Healy)
Fighting for Britain: African soldiers in the Second World War, 2010 James Currey,
(by David Killingray, with Martin Plaut)
Who Rules South Africa? 2012 Jonathan Ball, (with Paul Holden)
The Hamster of Hampstead Heath. 2007 – self published