Devi Sankaree Govender on her new show: ‘It’s as scary as hell’

Devi Sankaree Govender. (Photo: Onkgopotse Koloti)
Devi Sankaree Govender. (Photo: Onkgopotse Koloti)

She went on a four-month hiatus and returned to our TV screens with a show that was never really meant to be.

Yep, the infotainment show, Devi – presented and executive produced by the feisty broadcaster Devi Sankaree Govender – was initially supposed to be a talk show.

And then Covid-19 happened, Devi says.

After 18 years of exposing underhanded dealings, chasing after crooks and giving us compelling television on M-Net’s current affairs show Carte Blanche, Devi quit to start a new venture at E.tv.

But the 47-year-old had to quickly go back to the drawing board after the pandemic hit South African shores.

“As I was getting my team together, Covid-19 happened,” Devi tells YOU. “And as the regulations started to change, we got an understanding of what the levels meant.

“I started getting quite apprehensive about how I’d do the talk show I envisioned at the beginning.”

She was given a 30-minute slot on Friday, 12 June and one thing she didn’t want to talk about was the coronavirus.

“I wanted Friday night television that’s uplifting and the best thing I could do was consumer-related content.

“People want to feel there’s a champion for their cause and they’re in control.”

In the first episode Devi exposed a conman for selling defective personal protective equipment.

“And then I thought what I'll do in the final segment of the show is interview people who are weird, wonderful, wacky and interesting, and just take a sneak peek into their lives,” she says.

So far, in the two episodes that have aired, she spoke to comedian Jason Goliath and Ennie Thembi Cleary, a socialite who’s living a Barbie-inspired life of plastic surgery and all shades of pink.

Devi Sankaree Govender interviewing Trevor Noah in
Devi Sankaree Govender interviewing Trevor Noah in 2017. (Photo: Supplied)

She says the last thing she wanted to do on a Friday night is make people more fearful during the uncertain times of Covid-19, where depression and unemployment is rife.

“I want to remind you that we’re feisty, sassy and a group of interesting people who live in this country and we need to bring back a little bit of laughter and enthusiasm,” Devi said.

And to deliver this, she films seven days a week.

In an interview with YOU earlier this year, Devi revealed that it was something The Daily Show host Trevor Noah said that encouraged her to embark on this new venture.

“He [Trevor Noah] said something along the lines of ‘If you’re at the top of your game now, then you need to be thinking of something else where you’re at the bottom of the pile’,” she recalled.

She went on to reveal that her husband, Moodley (47), daughter Kaiyuree (18) and son Sayuran (16) were shocked when she told them about her plan to quit the show.

“Carte Blanche was like my third child,” she jokes. The whole family would watch the show on Sundays and Devi would often talk to her husband and kids about her experiences on assignment.

“I always made them believe I was safe, even though we were assaulted quite a few times on the show,” she says. “But I didn’t want them to worry about me.”

Devi Sankaree Govender, husband, Moodley (47), dau
Devi Sankaree Govender, husband, Moodley (47), daughter Kaiyuree (18) and son Sayuran (16). (Photo: Supplied)

While she can't go into detail about what’s still in store on her new show, one thing she’s certain about is that she’ll be keeping it real and serving different sides of Devi. There’ll be doses of funny Devi, no-nonsense Devi and many more depending on the subject matter.

“It’s as scary as hell”, she says about the new venture. She loses a lot of sleep thinking about what’s next on the show but says the support she’s received from family and viewers has been incredible.

Devi airs every Friday at 6.30pm on E.tv and at 8.30pm on Enca (DStv channel 403).