Growing up in the shade of Devi Sankaree Govender

Devi Sankaree Govender is an MBA graduate, has been working at Carte Blanche for over a decade and gained the reputation for being the fearless bulldog bringing out corruption and crime to the forefront, despite the numerous dangerous situations she has found herself in.

Even after all those trials and tribulations on the work front, she’s a mum, wife and a proudly South African woman.

Devi Sankaree-Govender

A short – I exaggerate on the short as she really is an elf in size – small-town girl who dreamt big as she let her mind wander over the lush green fields of Umzinto. Little did we all know that there was a firecracker waiting to explode ready to shine her greatness on us all.

Being an 80’s child there was never the machinations of today, so life was pretty much made out of visiting a library for your homework, the Google of our time was the encyclopedias and no whatsapp or Facetime.

We didn’t have a television like other families so my siblings and I would have to visit our neighbors for a chance to enjoy something on the box. 

I grew up with the sounds of Lotus FM most of my life and that would explain why I am so passionate about the radio station. I remember waiting anxiously for Amitha Anand on the breakfast show to ask the general knowledge question. I would already be dialing in to give my answer and would grin from ear-to-ear when she would mention my name for answering correctly.

I remember the daily talk show, Viewpoint on Lotus FM, anchored by Devi Sankaree Govender. It was a regular affair for us at home as we settled down to listen to her. My Amma (grandmother) would always chirp beaming with pride as she worked out the weekly grocery lists, “that’s your cousin you know study hard and you can be like her.”

Image credit: Dala U Crew on Facebook

I would avidly look forward to the moment when Devi would cut a caller off or even better nail their mouth shut with her sharp debates.

Whenever she did that, I can still recall my grandfather clapping or my Amma laughing out loud in admiration. Devi Sankaree Govender was the voice of reason that asked burning questions that most people would dare not.

From sex, domestic violence, HIV to other no-go topics, Devi ventured where no Indian woman would.

So much so, at 26 years old, Devi Sankaree Govender caught the attention of Madiba as one who asked the tough questions when most Indians shied away from confronting.

It was Nelson Mandela who inspired Devi and it was she who inspired me.

Naufal Khan, indian spice editor

Sundays was the other day that Devi Sankaree Govender would keep me gripped, I’d wait anxiously for the paperboy to deliver the Sunday Times. Apart from the adolescent joy of the saucy ‘Back Page’ I had to read her column, – Devi on Sundays she would always have something intriguing crafted out. I would hang on every word in her column, reading it multiple times just to let the story sink in. I would even cut the articles out for my scrapbook.

Even when my chance arose for me to write for the Sunday Times, I still hung on every word the woman wrote.

Sixteen years and 428 columns in the lifespan of the Sunday Times Extra, Devi had a cult following from the South African Indian community and the greater South African community through M-Net’s Carte Blanche.

Her journey is far from over as she celebrates 25 years of excellence in the journalism and media world.

She is inspiration for much of what I have achieved today as a journalist, writer and as a person. Her steadfast conviction and steel nerves always helped me through some of the toughest events at Indian Spice and personally.

I am thankful to have grown up in her time.

So Devi, thank you for all these years and I look forward to celebrating more of what you do.

For those of you who missed out on her interview where she takes us back to her humble beginnings, I suggest you listen to this podcast below:

Naufal Khan is the head of AdiShakti Media, the holding company of Indian Spice where he is the editor/publisher.