2023 Invited Speakers

Jeremy Gardiner will open the 2023 Convention with his presentation entitled The darkest hour? on Wednesday, 11 October at 8:45 AM.

This year was meant to be better than 2022. But for many in South Africa, it’s worse. As we grapple with an ever-increasing list of problems, mostly self-induced, there is a growing fear that ongoing mismanagement of the country will see things get worse before they get better. Fortunately, an improving (albeit slowly) global backdrop should bring some relief. The challenge therefore is deciding between whether this is an opportunity or still too risky.

Jeremy Gardiner, Director at Ninety One, is a regular voice in the media, at conferences and to the investment-related world at large, responsible for commenting on current affairs, economics and investment markets.

In his position, Jeremy has access to information from the world’s leading analysts, on everything from politics to petrol. Jeremy’s challenge is consolidating all this information. Essentially, Jeremy collects and then connects the dots, bringing it to you in a format that you will find both interesting and informative.

Jeremy has been with the firm for 31 years, during which time the business grew from a small Cape Town Asset Management firm to a significant global business managing clients assets of approximately R2.8 trillion*. Jeremy also served on the board of Western Province/Stormers rugby from 2003 to 2005, a period in which their performance was particularly poor!

Although he studied accounting at the University of Cape Town and Economics at the University of Witwatersrand, Jeremy is neither an accountant nor an economist, but uses these skills to demystify what the accountants and economists are saying.

*As at 31 March 2023

Devi Sankaree Govender will give her presentation entitled Still Catching Crooks (in heels) … in a pandemic! on Wednesday, 11 October at 03:45 PM.

In this entertaining, yet moving keynote, Devi tells the story of how a young girl, growing up in rural KZN during the turbulent 80’s, made the unusual decision to become a journalist. Devi chats candidly about her tough, but often hilarious path which took her to Carte Blanche, where she became known across the country for her bold brand of journalism.

Fast-forward to 2020 – Devi resigns from Carte Blanche and takes on a new television adventure … in the midst of a global pandemic! This keynote gives insight into why agility and resilience can take you places … and gain you millions of viewers in just six months! But, with all the accolades, Devi admits that finding “balance” is still a constant struggle – one which, for now, she has yet to conquer.

Devi Sankaree Govender is a South African media icon.

Her reputation as an award-winning investigative television journalist, has been cemented by 29 years of bold, brave and fearless reporting, holding governments, companies and individuals to account.

Armed with an MBA, Devi has built a brand of trust, authenticity and justice. She currently sits on two boards and, after 18 years at Carte Blanche, South Africa’s longest running investigative television show, Devi joined eMedia (eTV and eNCA) in 2020, the most watched television group in South Africa, launching The Devi Show in the middle of a global pandemic. The show has garnered a viewership of millions per week and won a South African Film and Television Award for Best Factual Programme in 2021.

Devi is a mum to a Junior Olympic golfer who is in her third year of a golf scholarship at the University of North Carolina. Her son is in his first year of a BCom Law degree at the University of Pretoria. Her two SPCA gangsters rule her home.

2023 is the dawn of an invigorating, inspiring and incredible new chapter for women. Barbie is a box office phenomenon, breaking numerous records and turning the Barbie message into a global sensation and setting a new height for women in filmmaking. While here on our very own doorstep, we have Jeanette breaking through yet another glass ceiling – in the real world – as the first woman CEO of a large, listed life insurance and asset management group. In an industry that has traditionally been a man’s world, how does Jeanette navigate her success and – same as Barbie – work towards empowering women to be strong and to believe that they can be anything they want to? In this session we get to know Jeanette Marais, SA’s insurance industry’s real life girl boss. LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION.

Do not miss Jeanette Marais’s session entitled 2023, the year both Barbie and Jeanette broke the glass ceiling on Thursday 12 October 2023 at 11:50 AM.

Jeanette Marais is the newly appointed Group CEO for Momentum Metropolitan, making her the first female CEO of a large, listed life insurance and asset management group in South Africa.

With an Executive MBA (cum laude) from the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) in Lausanne, Switzerland, and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of the Free State, Jeanette cut her business teeth in her first corporate stretch at Momentum, after which she gained valuable experience as a C-suite executive at other financial services firms in South Africa. She has a performance history of building strong, profitable businesses and has extensive knowledge of financial services, the retail investments market, intermediary distribution and operational aspects of investment management. She appears regularly in the media and is an active participant in relevant industry bodies. Her decades-long executive career has equipped her with an excellent leadership track record.

Jeanette is a country girl who grew up on a farm in the Free State. She is married to Johann Cilliers, who runs their farm on the West Coast near Paternoster. Jeanette believes in keeping fit and has completed several marathons, ultra-marathons and trailruns over the last 20 years. She loves flowers and has a dream of owning her own flower shop one day. Making a difference in the lives of clients, her colleagues and empowering women are what energises her daily.


Schalk Bezuidenhout is a comedian from South Africa who is a household name in all households that know his name. More specifically, he grew up in Kempton Park in the East Rand. If you don’t know Kempton… it’s the type of place you thank one day in your Oscar speech as your “humble beginnings”.

In Kempton Park the traditional Afrikaans way of living was a good life. You would ride your bicycle to school and English was only used in self defence. Schalk finished school with a distinction for every subject. That has nothing to do with his comedic abilities, he just wanted you to know that.

Schalk’s family and friends stood back as they watched Schalk evolve from an Afrikaans conservative caterpillar into a beautifully dramatic butterfly, complete with a moustache and furry afro. It was obvious to Schalk’s parents that he would study drama, and to help numb the pain they sent him away to study at the University of Cape Town.

While studying in Cape Town Schalk quickly grew dissatisfied with watching Suits on repeat in his single bed (look where Meghan is now, hey?!) His drama degree was still 4 years away, but he needed a creative outlet NOW! So he started doing stand-up comedy in April 2011.

On stage Schalk is fun and energetic and appeals to all.

Schalk has come a far way since his first paid gig in a strip club in Kempton Park (true story). He has had the privilege to perform all over the world in some great venues, alongside some even greater comedians.

On stage Schalk is fun and energetic and appeals to people of all kinds and colours.