Car wrangler, motoring journalist, and publisher, we celebrate APEX’s Vann van Staden’s inclusion in 2022’s Top 200 Young South Africans list…

From co-founding and publishing a successful quarterly lifestyle and leisure magazine to launching APEX, an independently printed motoring magazine, Vann is a skilled and brazen entrepreneur who is fast elbowing her way to the forefront of South Africa’s radar. And if that were in any doubt, she has just made it to the coveted, Mail & Guardian’s Top 200 Young South Africans list, a flagship feature of eminent young South Africans who are blazing trails for future generations. And, boy, is this woman in business blazing trails…

Lady of lifestyle and libation

Vann

For over 10 years, Vann has worked as a motor journalist and ‘car wrangler’, test driving the very latest car makes and models and writing about the experience. Then, in 2015, she co-founded Aspire Lifestyle, a successful lifestyle and leisure magazine focused on opulent living in South Africa, which continues to thrive to this day.

Ever vigilant for fresh challenges, in 2018, Vann embarked upon the quest to produce delicious cider from apples grown in the Elgin Valley near Cape Town. And thus, Cape Town Cider House was born! For two years, the business grew until the pandemic’s relentless alcohol bans and market uncertainty forced its cellar doors shut. But as one door closes, another opens and in 2021, Vann threw herself into her greatest passion, motoring, with the launch of APEX Magazine.

Motor maven

In few other realms is Vann’s drive as octane-fuelled as it is in the car industry. As the first-ever female publisher of an independently printed motoring magazine, at 35 years old, she has blown through the glass ceiling of an almost exclusively male-dominated universe, navigated by a devotion to cars and motor journalism that borders on obsessive. It’s little wonder, therefore, that APEX magazine has been hungrily taken up by car enthusiasts and, today, stands in direct competition with the likes of CAR magazine and Top Gear.

100 per cent Female-owned, APEX brings a young, energetic twist to a “set-in-its-way” industry, delivering hot-off-the-press news stories and thought pieces that are a rich blend of motoring, culture, and lifestyle by experienced journalists, herself included. Vann has also employed the youngest editor for a motoring magazine with the goal of empowering fresh new talent while driving evolution in an industry that can be frightfully resistant to cultural change.

Top 200 Young South African

Vann

It’s because of the trails Vann has blazed for women, not only in the car industry but in business at large, that she has made it to the Mail & Guardian’s Top 200 Young South Africans list, an enormous achievement that recognises her inspired, future-focused innovation. From her humble beginnings writing for local newspapers to launching the country’s hottest new motoring magazine, Vann has assembled a résumé that would make Richard Branson do a double-take. She’s become a paragon to all other women and young people in South Africa and around the world: living proof that passion blazes trails if only you are brave enough to chase it.