#aTypicalInterview: This is my final goodbye - Sameer Naik

Sameer Naik- Journalist

Sameer Naik- Journalist

Published Jan 6, 2024


This is my last week at Independent Newspapers, after 16 wonderful years at the biggest media house in the country.

As a result, this will be the very last A-Typical Interview in the Saturday Star, and so I thought I would sign off in style, by answering some questions of my own.

It has been a pleasure and an honour being able to write for all you readers out there. I appreciate all the support you have given me over the years.

Most memorable moment as a journalist?

There have been so many, from being sent out on my very first front page story to winning accolades throughout the years. But if I had to choose one, it would have to be when I won my very first Journalist of the Year Award for my coverage of the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup. It was the start of something special in my career.

Awards won in the past

Favourite story I have written:

I spent a night out with the homeless during a bitterly cold winter evening in the Johannesburg CBD. I wanted to experience what hundreds of thousands of homeless in the country experience during winter. Experiencing the pain and anguish they go through on a daily basis allowed me to write one of the best stories I have ever written.

My interview with Bond Girl Berenice Marlohe

First story ever written?

Thankfully I had an editor who took it easy on me in my first week. As a result I was sent out to a music festival to interview renowned rock band Metallica. I even got to share a cigarette with Jared Leto, such great memories and a great introduction to journalism.

My interview with US rapper Lil Kim

Scariest story I have ever been out on ?

The day I was sent out to the Marikana Massacre. I don't think I need to explain why it was arguably the scariest experience of my journalism career.

Best story of 2023?

I managed to secure an interview with Pablo Escobar's oldest son, Roberto Escobar, recently. As a person who has been slightly obsessed with the story of the biggest drug dealer in the world, the opportunity to interview a family member of his was the pinnacle. The interview lasted three hours, and it was everything I imagined and more.

My interview with rapper Emtee

The journalist I have aspired to ?

In a career that has spanned over 16 years, I have come across many fantastic journalists, many of whom I was lucky enough to work in the same newsroom with. But the one journalist that I aspired to write just like, has to be Janet Smith, who spent most of her journalism career at Independent Newspapers. She is the epitome of what a great writer is.

My time at Independent Newspapers was....

Magical, and special. It’s been moments of utter madness and chaos, but everything I had hoped it would be and more.

My interview with brave Palestinian activists Janna Jihad, Ahed Tamimi, and Mohammed Tamimi

The one thing I will miss most at Independent Newspapers is....?

The people. You will not come across a better bunch of journalists in the country then the ones at Independent Newspapers. No egos, no arrogance, but a bunch of journalists who are tons of fun and who give their all and everything for their company.

My interview with Olympic Gold medallist Chad Le Clos

I am who I am because…..

Of my parents, my siblings, my soon to be wife. They are my whole world and always will be.

My interview with local rapper Nadia Nakai

Advice to those looking to take up a career in journalism:

Be brave, follow your heart and don't let anyone tell you that you aren't good enough. I had a university journalism professor once tell me that I should change my career path as I would never cut it as a journalist. After seven major journalism awards, thousands of articles, and a lengthy career at the biggest media house in the country, I am delighted that I never took advice from him. Don't let anyone crush your dreams.

Saturday Star

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