Former continuity presenter Prim Reddy unwinds the past
The SA TV landscape evolved since it went national in the late ‘70s.
And it continued to grow in the two decades that followed with continuity presenters added to the line-up.
Viewers had their favourite, and Prim Reddy was among them.
Although she has left the industry and is now the owner of The Indian Chapter, an award-winning restaurant, she was happy to take a trip down memory lane.
Take us back to when you joined the SABC as a continuity presenter, what was the experience like, especially with the country embracing democracy?
Wow. I started in 1992 for “Impressions” and then in 1994 at the big bold SABC is Johannesburg. It was unbelievable.
An Indian girl, who sold spices, was entering the live world of television; it was a beautiful place to be at.
The work ethic was different, our faces were in the foyer, people were happy, opportunities were created and it was a pleasure being a part of the organisation.
I hopped, skipped and jumped through the three stations: SABC1, 2 and 3. Aletta Alberts was at the helm at SABC2, a super talented woman with multiple vision and the ability to almost see into the future.
I adored her and watched in admiration at how she thought, global, and implemented those strategies within the SABC2.
It was a great entrance into the live broadcasting format. I was shorter than everyone else so they were kind enough to build a box for me.
I spoke English and my co-presenter always spoke in a vernacular. South Africans were all-embracing.
It was confusing at first, TV 1 was the new SABC2, TV 2 was the new SABC1 and then there was SABC3.
SABC 2 presenters were among the team that spoke English, Afrikaans, Tsonga, Venda, Sesotho and Pedi.
By the first month, we all learnt a few words of our co-presenters. The inclusion of all languages into mainstream media was interesting, we were all exposed to different cultures and embraced it.
How long were you a continuity presenter and take us through your fondest memory?
I did continuity for almost 16 years. It was live, initially scary, but an adrenaline rush every time, never knowing what gremlins await in the system and what you had to adlib just in case there was a break in transition.
As for the second part of the question, it was that moment when Nelson Mandela walked down from a Boeing at the (channel’s) launch party; it gave me goosebumps.
I was part of that transition and I was proud to carry both the SABC and the South African flag.
When you weren’t in front of the camera, what did you enjoy watching?
Gosh, “Selimathunzi” was one of my favourites. “Buzz” with the beautiful Carol Mogale, “Jam Alley” with Nimrod Nkosi, a wonderful guy I was proud to call my friend. “Vetkoek Paleis” was a hoot, “Telly Fun Quiz” with Martin Bailey was one of my favorites. Then “Isidingo” and “Generations”.
What a glorious time it was for TV.
Which talk shows and game shows did you enjoy?
“Win & Spin” with Mike Mills, Felicia Mabuza Suttle in “Felicia” (previously titled “The Felicia Show” in the ‘90s), “Fokus met Freek” with Freek Robinson and “Money or the Box”.