Saturday, 20 July, 2019

Versatile Jailoshini Naidoo

Jailoshini grew up in Chatsworth and schooled at Southlands Secondary School in Havenside. ” My love for drama and performance started there when an educator called Jenny Somasundram introduced me to it, sharing her skill and passion for the subject with me on an extra curricular level, High School was wonderful, I transformed into one of the popular girls, achieving academically and in extra-curricular activities. It was through these interactions that my passion for drama developed. I threw myself into school concerts, writing, directing and performing in plays at our concerts each year. I took to drama like a duck to water and I felt in my element. It was the sage advice from my father, who stressed the importance of an education and career, and being independent, that motivated my decision to enter the teaching profession.”

Her tertiary education was completed at the then University of Durban-Westville, where she enrolled for a Bachelor of Paedagogics ( B.Paed degree ) with English, Speech and Drama and Education as her major subjects. “The Drama Department at UDW fast became my 2nd home. I spent every minute of my spare time there either rehearsing, performing or just hanging around there, taking in the feel of the theatre and learning whatever I could. I loved everything about the theatre. It was quite addictive. My parents soon became accustomed to me arriving home in the early hours of the morning almost throughout the year as I moved from one production into the next. My dad’s initial reprimanding about me having so little time to sleep or rest usually fell on deaf ears and he finally gave up, or should I say, “gave in” and accepted my crazy hours.”

“When I started my secondary school teaching career, I was thrilled mostly because I was teaching English and, more especially, Drama. I loved my interaction with my learners and it was great to share my passion for the subject with them. It was also most rewarding watching them learn, grow and develop. I still have contact with many of my former learners ”. During her teaching career, she was appointed as a sub-examiner / marker for the Senior Certificate examination for many years and in this capacity, she travelled all over KZN to mark examination papers. She was also appointed as an External Moderator for the Speech and Drama Oral/ Practical examination and in this capacity, she travelled to many schools moderating their Drama practical examination that was performance- based.

Throughout her teaching career she continued performing in plays mainly at the Playhouse Theatre in Durban. “ I would often race from school for rehearsals, finish late at night, then prepare my lessons for the next day. This was a routine practically every day. I really didn’t mind the long hours and hard work because I was doing what I loved and was passionate about it.”

According to Jailoshini, television is very different from performing on stage. “It isn’t as personal as the stage is. Of course I love presenting on Eastern Mosaic : it is an opportunity to reach a large number and wide variety of people; I get to meet so many people every day (I am very much a people- person and I love the interaction).

I learn so much just from the TV shoots that I do, about different subjects and people – there are so many out there doing so much!

My dad’s initial reprimanding about me having so little time to sleep or rest usually fell on deaf ears and he finally gave up up, or should I say, “gave in” and accepted my crazy hours.

Working with the Eastern Mosaic Team is such a pleasure- my producer Saira Essa is really hands on and takes a lot of time and effort to guide and advise me all the time, as does Imraan Vagar. I receive much support from Saira and Imraan. We’re all very much a family. I love the warmth and love that I receive from the viewers, especially when I meet them personally. They are wonderful in their responses and very open and loving- I feel blessed to be a part of that. Of course, there’s the travel (I travel a lot for Eastern Mosaic!), and I have the opportunity to cover such a variety of events- some of them very high profile e.g. IIFA. What I have been enjoying most are the shoots we’ve been doing which are creating an awareness about various communities and the challenges they face e.g. Hiv Aids, poverty, etc. Shooting events like the IPL and the IIFAs invariably mean 14 or 15 hour days. Long hours, packed days, learning links on the spot, improvising, interviewing, protocol, catching stories or moments on the spot.Of course these are besides the planned stories.You have to be able to think on your feet. When we’re on television shoots, we often literally hit the ground running, This could go on for a few days at a stretch. The day normally starts at 07:00 and goes on until 22:00, and sometimes even later. It’s hard work but incredibly exciting and quite an adrenalin rush. The difficult part is making sure I look fresh for TV and to stay alert and smiling even when I’m working long hours, feeling exhausted and sleeping little.”

From the very beginning, Jailoshini always juggled her time between nurturing aspirant actors and actresses at school, theatre rehearsals and television shoots. “I believe if I stay true to my passion, and not become in any way complacent (which can easily happen in this industry), I will be able to accomplish even more.”

Jailoshini’s down-to-earth attitude can be traced to her strong family roots. She grew up in Mobeni Heights in Chatsworth with her parents and two younger sisters and a brother.

“I had a wonderful childhood playing with my siblings, dreaming of being first a pop

singer, an actress and even an astronaut. Even though my father was the sole breadwinner, ours was a home that lacked nothing, especially love and good times. My parents taught me great values, like the importance of making other people happy, and simple things like how a smile and a greeting could make someone’s day. I love my family very much and am grateful for the strong foundation and the values they instilled in me.” Her love my family very much and am grateful for the standards that my father maintained in our home.

Her love and passion for the theatre is obvious. “ Its like soul food for me.” Writer Ronnie Govender provided her ‘rite of passage’ in the stage adaption of his book 1949, a one woman drama in which Jailoshni played 38 different characters, including men, women and children. The play completed an all-time record 12-week season to sold out audiences at the Playhouse Theatre becoming the longest running play there. Thereafter it was performed at the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town. Jailoshini received rave reviews for her performance in “1949” and was nominated for the FNB Vita Awards, the Durban Theatre Awards and the Fools Awards in the category BEST LEAD ACTRESS for this production. Her talent landed her many roles over the years, including what she calls one of the other most challenging and exciting roles she’s ever played: the role of Natasha, a Coloured destitute woman in the highly acclaimed and fabulous musical, Jimbo in 2006 at the Playhouse Theatre. She was also nominated for BEST LEAD ACTRESS in a Musical for her role in Jimbo, at the Durban Theatre Awards. The play is currently being re- staged at the Playhouse from the 24th July to the 9th August this year, with Jailoshini once again playing Natasha. Jailoshinis big break on Eastern Mosaic came during her performance in Jimbo in 2006.

“Eastern Mosaic did an insert on the play and interviewed me on my role. A few days later, Imraan Vagar, called me to say that he was impressed with my interview. He asked if I was interested in auditioning as the show’s KZN anchor. Well, that’s how it all started and since then, my time with Eastern Mosaic has been an exciting, enjoyable, exhilarating journey that I feel very passionate about. It has certainly helped me grow and develop in so many ways and I’m very grateful for that.”

Another career highlight …” Performing in Queens of Comedy opposite Krijay Govender and Leeanda Reddy. The show is a laugh a minute. We do both stand-up comedy as well as sketches. People come back time and again to watch the show.

My first role in a production was … as a tree in Shakespeare’s MacBeth, during my first year at university. I didn’t even have lines.

The key to success …” is courage, determination, tenacity, passion and of course a love and passion for what you do is important if you want to succeed.

“My regular day entails waking up at about 06:00 (unless I have an Eastern Mosaic shoot that starts earlier). I get to work at Calypso Event Management from 08:00 to 17:00(sometimes I leave work a lot later- depending on the work schedule.) Working in an events management company, means irregular hours. Often after work, I’m either compering an event, doing an Eastern Mosaic shoot late into the night or rehearsing/performing in a play. Of course this means planning what I’m going to wear, dressing up, make-up, etc. It also means that no matter how tired I am, I’m interacting with people all the time and I have to be in the moment, appreciate them, enjoy them and keep smiling. I have to always remember not to carry my problems or issues with me. I deal with this separately, when I’m alone.”my problems or issues with me. I deal with this separately when I’m alone.

About Bollywood

“I don’t have a particular favourite Bollywood star although I do think Sushmita Sen and Arjun Ramphal are very elegant, gorgeous and graceful.And of course I think Sharukh Khan is fantastic.”


“My favourite dishes are my mom’s prawn, crab, mutton and chicken curries. I am very much a curry person. I can’t go for more than a few days without a good curry.”


“I believe in the teachings of Swami Sathya Sai Baba of Puttaparthy. I’m also a keen follower of the teachings of Swami Partharasathy of the Vedanta Academy. For me doing the ‘right thing’ and ‘staying true to myself’ is very important.”

“My advice to young career women: Do what you love and feel passionate about; work hard, hold onto your dreams- never give them up, tackle everything you do with honesty and integrity, stay positive and hopeful, be proud of who you are and where you came from, and most importantly, stay true to yourself! Also remember that no matter how successful you are, stay grounded and humble and never forget others who are less fortunate than yourself!”

Jailoshini Naidoo ( at a glance )




- MARKETING EXECUTIVE at Calypso Event Management


- Continuity Presenter on M-Net in 1992 and 1993

- News Reader and News Editor on Audwax Music Radio at UDW in the eighties

- Secondary School Teacher till 2006

- Performed in numerous Theatre Productions from 1986 to now.

- Nominated 6 times in the category “ BEST LEAD ACTRESS “ at the FNB VITA AWARDS


- Was nominated and chosen RUNNER UP in the category THEATRE PERSONALITY OF


- Acted in a few international movies shot on location in SA eg “ THE EASTERN BRIDE

“ ( British) and “KAROL “ (Italian)

- Acted in locally produced movie called “ PRINCESS”

Theatre Productions include :

- MACBETH – directed by Robin Singh

- JUMP - Directed by Ajay Hurbans and Junaid Ahmed

- OTHELLO - directed by Kriben Pillay

- LIFE OUT OF BALANCE - directed by Jay Pather

- RITES OF SPRING - directed by Jay Pather

- IMAGES OF SOUTH AFRICA - directed by Robin Singh

- THIS BLACK WOMAN - directed by Jay Pather

- LIKE THEM THAT DREAM - directed by Junaid Ahmed

- THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT DR MARIE - directed by Yugan Naidoo

- 1949 –performed in 2002 and 2008 - directed by Ronnie Govender

- TO HOUSE - directed by Ashwin Singh

- THE COOLIE ODYSSEY - directed by Heinrich Reisenhower

- SUNGHURSH - directed by Smeetha Singh

- CHALO CINEMA 2 - directed by Smeetha Singh

- CHALO CINEMA 3 - directed by Smeetha Singh

- LAUGH YOUR SOCKS OFF - own production with Eubulus Tracy and Afzal Khan

- JIMBO directed by Themi Venturas - performed in 2006 and will be performed again

SOON from 24 July to 9 August 2009 at the Playhouse Drama Theatre

- JUNGLE BOOK - directed by Steven Stead ( KIckstart Productions)

- INMATES - directed by Dinesh Narandas and Pat Pillay

- QUEENS OF COMEDY - directed by Krijay Govender

- CHARRED LOVING - directed by Ari Sitas

- Performed at various Stand Up Comedy shows

- Also performed at the Grahamstown Festival and Musho Arts Festival

Upcoming Productions

- Jimbo (theatre) -director Themi Venturas

- Promise Me (international movie) - director Miles Roston (New York)


For a copy of the original article published in SUTRA Magazine click on the DOWNLOAD ATTACHMENT link below.


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