Redi Direko

Talk Show Host, Talk Radio 702 / 567 Cape

South Africa's undisputed queen of talk, Redi
Direko rules the airways with her warm but
no-nonsense demeanor. On her eponymous
weekday show she's just as authentic giggling
with her callers as she is grilling politicians.
Never one to shy away from a "feisty
exchange� with a public fi gure, Direko admits
there are times when her temperature rises.
"But I always remember that if I lose it then
I'm helping the newsmaker get away without
answering questions,� she says. "It's not their
attitude that matters but what they have to say.�
Soweto-born Direko studied journalism and
communications at the former Rand Afrikaans
university. She has an honours degree in social
science and recently completed a master's in
literature, just for the love of it.
In a decade of journalism, she's wavered from
radio to television and back again. She started
out as a reporter with Network Radio News,
then hosted the afternoon drive show on Kaya
FM before moving to the SABC to work as a
producer and current affairs anchor. While there
she presented a variety of shows, including
News Hour and Interface, and interviewed
international fi gures such as Nelson Mandela,
Tony Blair and Colin Powell.
She also produced a controversial
documentary on former president Thabo Mbeki,
hosted a reality TV show and a legal rights show,
and has been a columnist for Fairlady and the
Sowetan. For a year, she juggled radio and TV,
hosting the Redi Direko Show on radio and
serving as a senior news anchor on the eNews
channel.
But she always comes back to radio. "Radio
is awesome � unrehearsed, immediate and so
real. I love the interaction that it offers; it feels
more like a dinner table conversation than a
programme,� she says.
But that doesn't mean she's closed the
chapter on TV. "Watch this space,� she says.
� Faranaaz Parker

Lunch spot: Wang Thai, Sandton