Cameron Blake was born in 1969 in Johannesburg where he grew up. He graduated from the University of Cape Town in 1991, with a Diploma in Graphic Design. In 1992, still liable for compulsory national service-albeit in the early '90s when most conscripts were not heeding their call-ups-he cleared in at Voortrekkerhoogte, a large military base outside Pretoria. After doing his basic training in the Technical Services Corps, he transferred to the Ordnance Services Corps in Cape Town, completing his service in the media department. After a decade of varying careers in creative media fields, he finally teamed up with a long-time friend to open a small shop in Cape Town's CBD. The shop specializes in coins, medals and surplus militaria: his true passions. It was here that he began networking with veterans and collecting their stories, in line with his interest in southern African military history. His first book, Troepie: From Call-up to Camps, was published in 2009, and the sequel, From Soldier to Civvy, in 2010.