EXCLUSIVE: Devi Sankaree Govender keeps it real with new show ‘Devi’
The cat’s out the bag - Devi Sankaree Govender is hosting, “Devi”, which will be shown on e.tv and eNCA every Friday night. eMedia group confirmed the news on Monday.
Since announcing her exit from "Carte Blanche" in January, fans wondered what’s next for the popular investigative journalist, after 18 years with the award-winning show.
This afternoon, Govender, who also wears the hat of executive producer, stole some time away from the set to chat about bagging her own show.
She said: “After 18 very happy years at ‘Carte Blanche’, where I learned a lot, this opportunity came up, to move to another channel. Initially, I wanted to do a talk show. I thought that was my new next. I started working on it and then Covid-19 happened.
"And as the lockdown levels were changing, as the regulations were changing, I realised a few things. One, I could not do a talk show, especially with social distancing and the way I wanted to do it. And Zoom and all of that didn’t work. The point of a talk show is you look somebody in the eye and have a conversation. I knew I was going to lose that intimacy and connection.”
Together with her team - they held daily Zoom meetings throughout the lockdown - they threw around many ideas.
“We wanted something to air but we weren’t 100% what that would be,” she admitted.
When she got the Friday 30-minute slot, she revisited the fantastic vault of ideas and balanced it with what’s currently going on in the country. She wanted to steer clear of the negative news around Covid-19 and offer a relateable and engaging narrative. And she deferred to her strength.
Govender admitted: “Every time I put the TV on, I’ve got young kids I’ve got to keep motivated during the process. I thought, ‘What am I good at?’ I’m good at chasing crooks. And there are people who are having consumer-related issues now and that isn’t the focus. The focus is on the pandemic.”
With her new platform, she is exposed to a wider audience and, as such, she’s taking on fraudsters and scammers while, at the same time, spending the last couple of minutes on the show “meeting weird and wonderful, entertaining and inspiring South Africans”.
She added: “The whole idea for me, we have to keep our chin up and keep our eye on the horizon. I’m tackling the good, the bad and the ugly... and everything in between.”
There is a strong legal aspect to the show, too.
“I think after 18 years of working on an investigative show, you learn that you can’t just be a presenter. You have to get your head into the documents, you need to understand the law and you need to understand what people’s rights are. The legal stuff for me is giving someone the right to reply. Everyone stands accused until proven guilty and the same needs to apply with this type of journalism. I’m sticking to the basics. Asking people the right questions and tough questions. You have to be confident and stick to the facts.”
Since the announcement of Govender's return to TV, there has been an outpouring of congratulatory messages from fans and the industry.
While chuffed at hearing of the support, she has yet to go through the messages.
She added: “My focus was always on telling a story fairly; on fighting the good fight, even from my Lotus FM days. This show is real. There’s no talk of Covid-19.”
“Devi” is relatable, grounded and engaging. Expect her to tackle real issues while also providing a lighter side to life.
“Devi” premieres on e.tv at 6.30pm and eNCA at 8.30pm on Friday, June 12.