national Arts Festival Banner

Friday, January 24, 2014


(Ravi Govender)

The sad news of the death of the KZN Department of Arts & Culture Strategic Director, Ravi Govender, has been confirmed by Rajendran Thangavelu Govender, the department’s director. Ravi Govender was killed on impact in a head-on motor collision yesterday near Mooi River on his way to a workshop in the Drakensberg. He was 48.

Not to be confused with Ravi Govender who presents Vinyl Countdown, he was also a regular on Lotus FM on the Newsbreak programme and was responsible for giving a dosage of events happening around the country every Friday mornings for the last 15 years. Lotus FM will pay tribute to him on Newsbreak tomorrow (Saturday, January 25) between 13h00 and 14h00.

‘He was a perfect example of a real public servant,” says Raj, “accessible, amiable, pro-active and supportive. May His Soul Rest in Peace. Before you are born, your death is pre determined. When Ravi left home yesterday morning, little did he know that death was awaiting him around the bend. The same goes for every human being. Our time on earth is not permanent.

“It was in 1995 when I first met him,” he continues. “I was recruiting someone to be the curator of the Documentation Centre. An old uncle from Lenasia recommended Ravi. I went to his house in Bayview where I met him and his parents. At that stage he was a Standard 2 Afrikaans teacher at Oceanview Primary. I explained what the job entailed and told him that I would second him to the Department if he was in agreement. He agreed in a humble way. He was a hard worker and produced work of an exceptional quality. I took him to many conferences in India and Mauritius.

“Where I was, you would find Ravi. We conceptualised many projects together. The Eastern Rendezvous is one of the programmes that I conceptualised and asked him to co- produce it. In the early stages of our work at Truro House we travelled in a lift club, Ravi, Iris, Shameela and I. Then he started bringing a young girl who later became his wife.

“We certainly had some interesting experiences. When we went to Ulundi for meetings on a Monday I would eat meat but not Ravi. He would bring his lunch box and eat his veg sandwiches while I ate the chicken drumsticks. Once we missed our train from Delhi to Chennai by a few minutes. We were offered an option of taking a mail train that had only one seat in the sleeper coach and the other seat in the third class. This was a 23 hour journey. Ravi insisted that I take the sleeper class while he joined the locals in the third class. I could not convince him otherwise. We travelled about eight hours when I befriended the conductor who arranged for Ravi to join me. I know Ravi will travel to a new destination where he will rendezvous with all his loved ones. My deepest sympathies to his wife Vinosha and to his brothers and sister.”

Yogin Devan, Director at Meropa Communications, notes sadly that he is deeply disturbed by Ravi Govender’s untimely death. “He put his heart and soul into all tasks he was entrusted with. Years ago he was a committed custodian of artefacts at the Derby Street Indian Documentation Centre which went into near ruins after his departure. Today, I read a poignant review he wrote for the book When The Chalk Is Down. He said: "I am convinced that life is a balance of fortunate and unfortunate experiences, with the human spirit alive and active ready to lift one to new and unconquered heights." How true. Ravi has left too soon and will be sorely missed. I wish his family strength and comfort during the ensuing dark days."

The funeral will take place this coming Sunday (January 26) from 11h30 to 13h30 when the body will lie in state at the Shree Vishnu Temple Hall, Havenside Drive, Havenside, Chatsworth, thereafter proceeding to the Mobeni Heights Crematorium for cremation at 14h00.

(Editor’s Note: Ravi Govender was one of the nicest people I have ever had the pleasure to meet. I don’t think I ever saw him grumpy. We have lost a special person. – Caroline Smart)