Hard-hitting TV journalist Devi Sankaree Govender says her 17 years on M-Net’s Sunday night news show, Carte Blanche has been one of the greatest privileges of her life.
The show celebrates its 31st birthday this month and, recalling her experiences, Govender said she was introduced to worlds she ordinarily would have not been able to access.
“Every day I’m reminded of how privileged I am. Whistle-blowers trust us with their lives and through them, we are able to shine a light in all those dark corners,” she said.
In 2002, Govender jumped straight into the fire with her first story when she travelled to Upington to cover the story of Baby Tshepang.
“Brutally raped at just nine-months-old, Tshepang somehow survived, but I found myself immersed in a world of alcohol abuse, violent confrontations all washed in the tears of mothers, helpless in their mission to keep their children safe,” she said.
While recalling her most impactful story Govender said it started in 2015.
“Producer Joy Summers and I were given a document which proved that Eskom had given the Gupta family a pre-payment of nearly R600 million. This allowed them to buy Optimum mine. This was at a time when state capture was suspected, but not proven. That story, where I interviewed the head of Generation, Matshela Koko, will stand out for me as one of the most difficult, yet rewarding."
The highlight of her career was an hour-long special with Trevor Noah.
Although Govender has 17 years of experience on the show under her belt, she still believes the job of a journalist never really ends.
“There is so much more to still achieve. Journalism isn't one of those careers where you arrive... it's a long journey, with no real end,” she said.
The success of the show was due to motivation. “We owe our success to the motivated people who choose to work there and the fact that, in the main, the bosses leave us alone. We also believe in new blood. It’s always good to change things up and welcome in new talent. It keeps us fresh."
* Catch Devi Sankaree Govender on 'Carte Blanche', Sundays on M-Net at 7 pm.