For as long as Duru can remember she has always loved dazzling up a meal. She jokes around, saying that their family get-togethers have always revolved around food and that it hasn’t done her waistline any favours over the years.
Duru was born and raised in the Friendly City of Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape. She is the eldest of two daughters. As a young girl, Duru remembers helping her mother, Anne, and her aunts in the kitchen. She peeled, chopped and mixed, and eventually she and her cousins would have to wash the dreaded dishes.
“These prep sessions were in themselves an occasion. Lots of yapping, tasting, teasing and laughing. My late Aunty Carol was probably my first and strongest influence in as far as cooking goes. Any given moment of any day, you would find her in her kitchen baking biscuits, frying beer-battered chicken, fishcakes, or making samp and bean soup on a chilly day,” says Duru, thinking back to her childhood with pleasure.
In 1996 she completed her matric at Alexander Road High School. Afterwards she did her national diploma in public relations management at the Nelson Mandela University, previously known as Port Elizabeth Technikon. During her internship, which was part of the course, Duru was offered a full-time job as marketing and communications officer at Rhodes University, putting her studies on hold. She then graduated in 2004.
As the years passed by, she worked at several film production companies, including Penguin Films and Urban Brew Studios. She featured in Mama Jack, a film by South African filmmaker and comedian Leon Schuster. Behind the scenes she worked as director for the sitcom Stokvel.
Currently she works as a radio presenter at Algoa FM on the Daron Mann Breakfast Show. “After having played so many different characters, it is really exciting to just be myself and interact directly and instantaneously with our listeners, minus a script. It’s hot out the pan and fresh! I love the interactive and sharp shooting nature of radio, where there is little room to stop and relax.”
Duru is also the mother of ten-year-old Elah and wife to Lesego Mkhwanazi. She describes herself as someone who dislikes dressing up, believes in the law of attraction and is an ambivert (someone who has a balanced extrovert and introvert personality).
A fun fact about Duru is that she is also the daughter of well-known actor and musician, Welcome, who people also knew as Bra Wel.
Now and then Duru makes sure she takes some time off to spend with her family and to do the things she likes to do. “I am an absolute foodie, so eating out, entertaining and cooking for family and friends ranks high on my favourite things list. I also love road trips with good music and a cooler box full of delicious goodies, the beach, being pampered at the spa and all other modern-day girly pleasures.”
With her eyes set on the future, Duru says health and wellness are at the top of her list. Focusing on her well-being, she says that the aim is no longer being skinny, but to avoid diabetes and live a long, happy life with her family.
“I love cooking. Eating whole, clean food has become a daily ambition. I’m constantly falling off the wagon, but I’m committed to the fight to feel better.”
Looking from a professional perspective, Duru added she’d like to move into a space where she can positively influence the lives and health of others through food. “It feels as though I’m slowly moving towards a place where my vocation and passion are merging. It’s the stuff that ikigai (a Japanese concept meaning ‘a reason for being’) dreams are made of!”
With the clear friendliness of her hometown that shines through her smile, Duru has prepared pan-fried snoek paired with a salad, roast potatoes and vegetables.