Krivani Pillay

Executive producer, SAfm current affairs

Krivani Pillay is the executive producer of SAfm current affairs, a demanding and exacting role that she handles with aplomb. In spite of a hectic workload and a career that expects an always-on attitude, Pillay still finds the time to mentor young journalists entering this challenging industry. She has 15 years of experience, has won many awards and, perhaps most notably, she is just as famous for her leadership and personality as she is for her hard work.

“It was the summer of 1995 when I won the Model United Nations Debates, I then represented KwaZulu-Natal to travel to the UN in Switzerland and New York City,” says Pillay when asked what made her choose this career. “The debates coincided with the United Nations 50th anniversary and I, together with eight other provincial winners, accompanied Nelson Mandela to the UN general assembly.

“Prior to meeting us, Madiba read essays that we wrote on our dream for a democratic South Africa. When it was my turn to meet the legend, he asked me in his booming voice if I was to become the journalist in the group. I answered ‘no’ and that I had planned to study speech and hearing therapy at UCT. He went on to praise my writing and the vision I had for my country and encouraged me to stay the course in media and journalism.”

The rest, as they say, is history, as Pillay returned to South Africa and changed her university applications to journalism and media studies at Rhodes University.

“Madiba changed my career trajectory, but my family and ordinary South Africans inspire me every day,” says Pillay. “Their stories help ground me and reinforce my role as a media practitioner. I hold South Africans in high esteem. The struggle of our people is a painful one and it will take time until the majority are able to move past the hurt and injustice of an oppressive past.”

Pillay is hoping to spend time travelling South Africa and documenting the stories of the people. She wants South Africans and the rest of the world to see and hear that, while it is a country in transition, it doesn’t crumble in the face of adversity.

“Our challenges do not define us, but our responses to those challenges do,” concludes Pillay. — Tamsin Oxford

Twitter: @KrivPillay