Hillary was born in Johannesburg. After matriculating she did a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of the Witwatersrand. She taught history at The Central Indian High and King David High for periods during the 50s and 60s. Her first husband was a barrister at the Johannesburg Bar who became an important human rights lawyer taking on many major political trials while Hillary participated in various anti-apartheid activities. In 1977 she returned to University and graduated with a Master's degree in Clinical Psychology. After an internship at a Psychiatric Hospital she set up in private practice . She married Tony in 1994 and both continued their work in private practice, although she maintained a strong interest in community psychology while serving for many years as vice chair and then chair of the Johannesburg Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Study Group. In the new South Africa, Hillary was anxious that she and Tony find a meaningful way to continue participating in the wider struggle, now no longer against apartheid, but rather against the profoundly damaging consequences of that system. In 1998 she and Tony began the investigation and planning of the conversion of a 2000 sq. meter industrial building in greater Alexandra that had once housed Tony's business. This became Ububele, a psychotherapeutic training and resource Centre, which became operational at the beginning of the new century. Since this time Hillary has continued her private practice while acting as director of the Ububele therapeutic nursery school.