#aTypicalInterview: Why Bonne de Bod would love to spend the day with David Attenborough
Award-winning wildlife TV presenter and film-maker Bonné de Bod is well-known for her in-depth reporting on wildlife and environmental issues.
For nearly a decade, she has presented in English and Afrikaans on TV (seven seasons on 50|50, special correspondent on SABC news, eNCA and kykNET’s GrootPlaas) as well as radio. A career highlight was her recent nomination alongside Dame Judi Dench for best presenter/host at last year’s Jackson Media Awards, known as the “Oscars” of wildlife.
In 2014, she embedded herself, along with her co-producer, on the front lines of the rhino poaching war for a four-year film, STROOP: journey into the rhino horn war. The film was selected for more than 35 festivals and won 30 awards.
What was the proudest moment in your career?
The most special was when we had soldout cinema screenings across the country for our independent documentary film STROOP: journey into the rhino horn war. No cinema distributor would take the film; they said no one would watch it! We hired the cinemas ourselves, and the public showed up!
Who was your celebrity crush as a youth?
I was smitten with Leonardo DiCaprio after Titanic. I’m so pleased that he is involved in environmental causes.
If you could choose anyone to write your eulogy, who would it be? What do you hope they would say?
Dr Jane Goodall. I hope she would say that I had some impact on getting people to understand the rhino situation better.
What are the three popular items in your fridge?
Carrots, I grab them for a snack all the time. They are my energy food and make me feel less bad about my number two in the fridge– Peppermint Crisp. And sparkling water.
What is the one thing people don’t know about you?
I have terrible circulation, so my hands and feet are constantly cold. Not great when you’re in my line of work –filming outdoors in nature usually requires me to be up and ready in front of the camera before sunrise. I never go on shoot without my hot water bottle and a flask.
What documentary would you choose to shoot and where?
There are so many I want to do. I was in Swedish Lapland filming in the Arctic Circle just before lockdown, and it was what I expected – a magical and wondrous world. You have given me the opportunity to be cheeky and punt my upcoming documentary Kingdoms of Fire, Ice & Fairytales, which will be airing on M-Net in September. It is an adventure quest to find three of Earth’s most epic wildernesses that capture magic.
What is your ultimate three-course meal?
I would skip the starter and get straight to the main – rump steak and red wine. That would be finished off with strawberries and chocolate. Many people expect me to be vegan or at the very least vegetarian and they are horrified when they find out that I love eating meat. For sure it’s my Afrikaans heritage of braais and biltong! But I am careful about what meat I eat (free range) and I eat little of it.
You can spend a day with any celebrity in the world. Who do you choose and why?
It can be none other than David Attenborough. He travelled extensively and is considered the godfather of natural history. I’ve also heard that he is quite a character with a great sense of humour.
What is the most horrific thing you’ve seen?
A rhino without a face but alive. This is something I saw more than once during the filming of STROOP. It shocks you to the core that humans can be so cruel and overtaken by greed that they can find it within themselves to hack a rhino to death for their horn to sell on the black market.
What is the most important thing you’ve learnt since lockdown?
To stand still for a moment and just be.