Rian Malan is a South African author, journalist, documentarist and songwriter of Afrikaner descent. He first rose to prominence as the author of the memoir My Traitor's Heart, which, like the bulk of his work, deals with South African society in a historical and contemporary perspective and focuses on racial relations. As a journalist, he has written for major newspapers in South Africa, Great Britain and the USA.Malan grew up in a middle-class and anti-apartheid Afrikaner family in a white suburb of Johannesburg. He has described how, as a teenager, he formed a rock band that associated with black artists and wanted to rebel against the apartheid system, at a time when he in fact had virtually no interaction with black people. He attended the then Witwatersrand university for a year. To avoid conscription, which was compulsory for all white males (see End Conscription Campaign), he moved to Los Angeles in 1977 and worked as a journalist.