Q & A with Bongani Bingwa

- Article by Carte Blanche (June 12, 2014)

Bongani Bingwa

How has your life changed since you joined Carte Blanche?

It has been a tremendous privilege to be a part of the show. I’ve been able to meet people I never otherwise would have met – from presidents and prime ministers to internationally renowned authors, and have travelled far and wide.

You are the face of the brand; do you find you are constantly on the job?

Yes and no; it ebbs and flows. There’s a lot of preparatory work we have to do: reading, research… For example, if we’re going to interview an author, I have to read the book. Particularly for investigative pieces, one has to be absolutely prepared. So even when we’re not on camera we are working. On the other hand, we do get breaks when we need them.

Producing a show is all about team work, yet viewers often assume you go it alone. Tell us about a typical shoot and who’s involved?

Carte Blanche work is completely a team effort. There is an extensive team of producers, researchers and editorial staff – without whom we just couldn’t do our job. This is not even counting the support staff – the drivers, cameramen, sound engineers, etc.

Are there things you simply refuse to do?

I refuse to interview an author whose book I have not read.

The show has been on-air for 26 years- the longest of any South African current affairs show. To what do you attribute its longevity?

I think the show appeals to a cross-section of viewers and is able to bridge the generational gap‎. There’s something in it for everyone and it has become part of the social fabric of South African life.

Your high profile must offer some measure of security – but what still gets you nervous on a shoot?

There is a measure of security in the brand. Most of the time people agree to interviews, so they know we are coming. But we do speak to and investigate quite dangerous people too. One always hopes they understand that trying to do us harm would only expose them further. I can’t say I have ever felt seriously threatened.

- Article by Carte Blanche (June 12, 2014)