Stellenbosch University (SU) was by no means an unknown entity to Vicky Davis when she started with her degree in drama in 2000. She grew up in Somerset West and her dad, Douglas, was SU’s media spokesperson for years. Mum Heloise worked as editorial advisor at US Drukkery, which meant that Vicky just about grew up on campus.
She completed her degree in drama in 2002 and honours degrees in drama (directing) and Afrikaans and Dutch in 2003, after which she started with her career in the entertainment industry. She continued studying, however, obtaining her master’s in drama in 2011. Her topic was ‘Drama as Medium to Bring about Social Change’, her focus being an educational play by the name of Lucky, the Hero! about HIV/AIDS that she developed for Profs Jimmy Earl Perry and Jan du Toit of SU’s Africa Centre for HIV/AIDS Management in 2003.
Vicky’s first roles as actress included the e.tv soap Backstage and the M-Net drama series Known Gods. She then played the role of Tessa Krige in 7de Laan for two years and, from 2008 to 2018, presented the lifestyle programme Pasella.
“I saw places and did things at Pasella that I would never have otherwise. It enriched my life. And not just the ‘glamorous’ things. The really special moments for me were the unexpected charm of dusty little towns, the eccentric small-town characters and the beauty and simplicity of rural areas that catch you unawares. Then of course there was the privilege of also being able to interview the great names of our time. People like archbishop Desmond Tutu’s warm nature and fun sense of humour will always stay with me.”
Vicky developed her skills during her years at Pasella and learnt to work behind the scenes as TV director and producer. Among other things, she directed and produced inserts for Pasella, Top Billing and the Expresso breakfast show and the Doctor’s Orders medical current affairs programme. In 2015, she became senior content producer of the talk programme Afternoon Express on SABC3.
Vicky has also made time for stage work and theatre productions and is involved in youth development, specifically the National Acting Competition for high-school learners as main judge and director. She won a Woordfees trophy in 2017 for Uniform and a Fiesta nomination in 2011 for Hel op Hemel-en-Aarde in recognition of her drama productions with young learners.
Since 2017, she has been programme manager of the Cape Town Music Academy (CTMA), a non-profit company that aims to create opportunities for contemporary musicians and artists in the Western Cape. These include educational and performance opportunities, international exchanges, skills development and job creation. The CTMA is presenting two exciting productions at the 2019 Woordfees, for example: an isiXhosa play for children and music evenings where local contemporary musicians are given the opportunity to perform. “It is important to me that I also plough back into the industry through my work and experience.”
Vicky regularly presents workshops for academic institutions and corporate undertakings under the title Confident Public Speaking and Presentation Skills. She has also published a learning-to-read book, A is vir appel – My ABC-boek, with NB Publishers, a picture book containing rhymes for children between three and six, which won the ABSA Early Childhood Development Best Publication of the Year award in 2014.
Hard work, honesty, generosity and the ability to work in a team and see the bigger picture are attributes that Vicky holds dear. “Always have a social conscience, realise it is not always about yourself, ask yourself if what you are doing is making things better and realise you do not live in a ‘bubble’.”
- By Elbie Els -