Born in Pretoria, he became a journalist after studying at university and then became both and actor and a film assistant when he appeared in the 1951 film Cry The Beloved Country. He moved to England to carry out post production of the film and there he became a member of the African National Congress in exile as well acting and working in antiques to supplement his income. He appeared in Quatermass and the Pit, Danger Man and directed the short film Jemima and Johnny as well as documentaries on arpatheid. He founded the Pan-African Federation of Filmmakers (FEPACI) in 1967 as a lobbying group for the support of people in the industry in Africa and later became its honorary president.
He returned to South Africa in 1994 where he helped create the National Film and Video Foundation.