Every South African that I know, watches Carte Blanche. It’s a local news show which airs on a Sunday night. The presenters dig into some controversial and provocative investigations into dodgy characters, businesses, and politicians. Devi Sankaree Govender has been one of the key investigative journalists to host the show for many years. Devi was one of the speakers at the Women’s Day event that I attended recently.
Devi’s talk was entertaining and enlightening. We don’t often think about what is going on, in the lives of television personalities, but we seem to think that their lives are somehow different to ours. What Devi made very clear, was that they are not. She still has to do the groceries, pack the school lunches, juggle her career and family commitments, just like most working Mum’s.
So what did I learn from Devi?
- You have to take every opportunity that you can in order to achieve the goals that you have set for yourself. Devi decided that she wanted to work for Carte Blanche when she was a teenager in high school. She knew then, that this was the kind of investigative journalist she wanted to become. She then navigated holding down two jobs in order to give her the experience and exposure that she needed, to get her closer to her dream. And when she got her big break and the opportunity to audition – she was more than ready. She blew their socks off!
- You cannot get boxed in, if you have a dream for your life. Devi could have followed the traditional South African Indian culture for all girls, and studied medicine, teaching, or accounting. She was fortunate to have parents who appreciated her dreams, and who supported her. Getting boxed in by everybody else’s expectations of you, can lead to a life of regret and disappointment.
- You have to get the balance right, and learn to be selfish about taking care of yourself first, so that you can take care of others. Devi told the story of how she was literally killing herself, holding it all together – the responsibilities of a Mum, journalist, wife, daughter, sister, TV personality. She had a moment where her health took a sudden turn for the worst, and it was her wake-up call. From that moment forwards, Devi learnt to say ‘no’ to people, and to be selfish with her time and her focus. She still does amazing work for Carte Blanche, but she declines all of the other invitations which she’d have accepted in the past. As she said, she’d rather be in her pj’s having dinner with her family than MC’ing somebody’s 50th Birthday dinner. She goes to gym, she eats healthy, and she spends time doing what she loves. Sounds like she has her priorities straight, if you ask me.
Getting these personal insights from Devi, along with hearing the story of her journey, from the young Indian girl from the South Coast of KwaZulu Natal, to being the key investigative journalist on one of South Africa’s most watched programs; was nothing short of powerful. Another reminder that everybody has the potential to realise their dreams, but you must be willing to do the work. And importantly – the need for self care to be your top priority, if you are to enjoy all that you have accomplished.
Scenes from London, pictures taken in July 2015.