#aTypicalInterview: Devi Sankaree Govender on the most dangerous situation she has been in
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Devi’s passion for investigative journalism has seen her work on many stories that went on to make headlines.
These include corruption at the Medical University of South Africa, the health crises in the Eastern Cape, Robert Mugabe’s “Operation Murumbatsvina” campaign, the Inge Lotz murder, Nkandla and the Oscar Pistorius trial.
She’s also featured on local TV programme Eastern Mosaic and had a stint on radio at Lotus FM.
The 46-year-old has just launched a new show, Devi, which will be shown on e.tv and eNCA every Friday night.
You are able to take on any South African celebrity in a 12-round boxing match. Who do you choose?
Riaan Cruywagen. Without a doubt. Why? He is genuinely a nice guy who would never swing a punch at me. That’s called strategy.
Growing up, who was your celebrity crush?
Aah! That’s easy. Magnum PI (Tom Selleck). Something about his dimples, the moustache, that beautiful Ferrari and that thing he did with his eyebrows
Is there anything that keeps you up at night?
Mosquitoes in summer. My husband’s perpetual snoring. You see normal stuff.
Your top three lockdown activities include?
Yelling at my children to clean up their rooms. Bugging my son to get on with his online schoolwork. Potty training my two SPCA thugs. Lockdown wasn’t fun.
Does Devi Sankaree Govender ever get intimidated?
You are never going to believe this. Generally, I don’t get intimidated in a hurry, but there is this one thing - narrow driveways. True story. It’s the weirdest thing.
Your dream job growing up was...?
First, I wanted to be a private investigator, just like Nancy Drew and Magnum. Then, when I was 15, I decided I wanted to be an investigative journalist.
The meal that most reminds you of your childhood is ....?
That’s an easy one - my late mum’s mutton breyani with amasi. If you grew up in KwaZulu-Natal, you will get this! Now you are making me salivate. Guess what’s coming up this weekend?
Can you tell us a little bit about the most dangerous situation you’ve been in?
Dangerous situations are par for the course in this job. But the first time I got klapped was in 2005 when I, together with our crew, was locked up and beaten up in an appliance repair shop in Durban. That’s when I realised that when you are in front of the camera confronting people, they lash out at you first, too!
What is the one thing people don’t know about you?
For a bit of relaxation, I’ve been sewing my own masks to match the outfits I wear on TV. Yup. There goes my street cred.
You have been appointed as the president of South Africa. What are the first three things you address?
Beef up our criminal justice system - close the gaps, making sure criminals pay for their crimes.
Improve our standards of education - a 30% matric pass rate for maths is setting our children up for failure.
Build a spirit of entrepreneurship - entrepreneurs feed families.