Meet Umkomaas’s rising star – the multi-talented Neil Govender

Neil Govender

MEET the multi-talented Neil Govender (32) of Umkomaas. He is a comedian, actor, entertainer and even dabbled in the art of singing here and there.

His journey in the entertainment field began when he decided to try out for the presenter position on the show Top Billing in 2012. He gave it his all, but unfortunately didn’t make it.

“I was obviously upset at first, but I managed to get a taste of what this field is all about, so I wanted more,” he said.

An acquaintance then got Neil involved in a Bollywood show called ‘Bombay Dreams’, where he got a chance to be in the spotlight. He went on to perform in another show, ‘Mystical Bollywood Nights’ and took part in Mr KZN, in which he won the title of second prince.

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Not long afterwards, he heard of another presenter search opportunity for the TV show, Eastern Mosaic.

Neil made it through to the top 40 and, even though he didn’t make the cut, he picked up several skills to enhance his abilities in the entertainment industry and, of course, made a friend or two along the way.

Neil then joined the radio station team, Lotus FM, and has done radio dramas with them for the past five years or so, one of which being ‘Rainbow Bridge’.

Fans can now brace themselves for a new radio drama which is said to begin production this Valentine’s Day! He even featured in ETV’s ‘eKasi Our Stories’ and was in a Game advert on TV.

Through his journey, Neil was introduced to many well-known people in the industry, which helped him earn a role in the 2017 South African Indian comedy film, ‘Keeping Up with the Kandasamys’.

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The movie was such a great success that it grossed over R4-million at the box office in its first week of screening, and has also featured in North American film festivals.

Recognised for his role as ‘Marlin, the events coordinator’ in the movie, Neil’s status grew and his career started booming.

He then landed a role on the four-part mini-series ‘The Indian Detective’, which was filmed in Cape Town.

“I really enjoyed working on this series and alongside Russel Peters (Canadian actor/comedian). The best part was that we were all treated the same on set, whether you had the lead role or something small,” he said.

Neil also had the chance to put his comedic skills to the test at Sibaya Casino in 2016 where he did stand-up comedy.

“I do get nervous about how people receive me but, at the end of the day, there is no place for failure at things like this so I pulled through and had a seemingly good crowd,” he said.

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Neil now does a lot of pageant judging, competitions, MC-ing, charity events and radio.

“The highlight of my career so far has got to be ‘The Indian Detective’ because it is something international,” said Neil. “Right now, I believe that I am well-known and not famous, so I’m hoping to one day reach that international success stage.”

For all aspiring actors and entertainers, Neil has some advice: “If you have a passion for something, do it! Don’t let anyone tell you can’t achieve something in life. Whatever you want to do in life, you rather try and fail than fail to try.”

To keep up with Neil’s life and see what the young ‘superstar’ is up to, follow his Facebook page, @neilgovenderofficial or Instagram @neilg_official.


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Vanisha Moodley

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