South African radio personality Danny Painter has had an impressive career in the local entertainment industry. Today, the former television presenter is the host of Jacaranda FM’s popular ‘Love Songs with Danny Painter’ show which airs between 19h00 and 22h00 every Monday to Thursday. On the show, Danny focuses on love, human connection and kindness while playing some of South Africa’s favourite love songs – and has proven to be a hit with listeners.
Now, Danny opens up and shares some titbits about herself that many may not have known about her:
1) Danny’s family is no stranger to the limelight
Starting her stage career at the age of six and television at 16, being in front of the camera and behind the mic is something Danny has grown accustomed to – and fame is somewhat of a trending topic within her family. Her mother Sandy Ngwenya, an events manager and recording studio owner, married popular radio personality and DJ, DJ Choc, her uncle is DJ Zan-D and her sister is the popular performer Lady Du. Talk about star quality!
2) She’s changing the narrative about Brakpan
Danny calls the vibrant Johannesburg town of Brakpan home – a small town often associated with negative impressions. However, Danny is proud of the town and calls it her favourite place in South Africa. In fact, she hopes to inspire more people to visit before judging it. “The sense of community, kids playing in the road, neighbours knowing your dogs’ names, it all makes it feel like home and I really wish more people would experience the town like I have,” she says.
3) Despite being in the public eye, Danny suffers from terrible stage fright
As someone who speaks to the nation every evening on her Jacaranda FM radio show, one would think Danny oozes confidence when being up on stage in front of an audience. However, she admits that even she suffers from severe stage fright. “It takes a team of people to talk me up the stairs to a stage – once I start, I’m fine, but the getting there and the getting the first words out absolutely terrify me. It’s different when you are part of a team, and you’ve rehearsed a play or a musical, but MC work gives me real stage fright!” she explains.
4) Danny eloped after dating her husband for just four months
Danny has always been a ‘go big or go home’ kind of girl, so when she met Philip, the love of her life in 2007, she wasted no time tying the knot. The couple eloped after just four months together – and they’ve been inseparable ever since. Danny explains that this decision will go down as one of the most adventurous things she has ever done, calling it one of her biggest learning curves as well. “We eloped to my mom’s place in Ballito and got married in Salt Rock. We spent the next week either on the beach or in a ‘Christmas bed’ in the lounge eating take out and watching the Simpsons!” she recalls fondly.
5) Everyone can relate to her biggest pet peeve
When it comes to pet peeves, Danny explains that her biggest one is having a conversation with someone who already has the intent to answer. “You can see it immediately and when you are listening, holding on to something you want to say, you are not really listening and so therefore not holding space for the person talking,” Danny explains.
6) She has a phobia of anything medical – and it’s led to some serious OCD
“I have a crippling phobia of anything medical – doctors, dentists, hospitals. Crippling. To the point of medication,” Danny shares. “If I met you at a party and you turned out to be a doctor, I would panic and have to leave. This lead to OCD with germs and cleanliness and I will do anything to avoid being sick or getting hurt. Covid has been a huge trigger for me, which has caused me to isolate and become super anxious about everything.”
7) Danny’s Most Embarrassing Moment
While Danny has mastered the art of presenting on both television and radio, she hit a few stumbling blocks along the way. Her most embarrassing moment on air includes a slip of the tongue while interviewing Chris Morris and Sias Du Plessis. During the live interview, she, not knowing anything about cricket, attempted to speak the lingo and used what she thought was a cricket term. The entire studio erupted into laughter and the producer jumped up and started waving, having no clue of what shed said, she went to adds and found out that her term was more sexual in nature and less cricket aligned. A quick Google search later and she spent the rest of the show bright red and being teased by the boys!
8) Growing up, Danny had an inspiring childhood
“I come from a privileged family in culture and experience. I was raised Jewish, Catholic, Buddhist and Pagan in that we celebrated all of the holidays and festivals equally. We observed and prayed and chanted and did all the things for each of those religions,” Danny explains adding that she was raised by several inspiring and influential people. “I was raised by both black and white parents. I was brought up with guncles who were living with Aids and HIV, and aunts who dated each other. My mom was an ANC activist and a feminist from as far back as I can remember. My childhood was certainly very open, full of love and laughter. Sandy, my mom, never had any prejudice, never judges anyone by their circumstances and was always helping and giving, I think a lot of that has rubbed off onto my brother, Dylan, and I”
9) She’s a avid reader and collector
“I love books, comics, figurines, collectables, I have a library full of books and figurines from my favourite movies and TV shows, comic books and even movie props!” Danny will spend hours scouring bookstores, her favourite being Collectors Treasury in Johannesburg, reading a mix between fiction and nonfiction but, preferring the classics. “My favourite book is Dracula, a close second is Dorian Gray and then we head into Inferno territory, although, I’m not all dark because I have read and re-read Pride and Prejudice more times than I can count!” she laughs.
10) She builds project cars with her husband
Together, Danny and Philip have a love for cars, specifically a love for unusual cars. They decided a few years ago to start building project cars for fun and finished a ‘rat rod’ beetle! “Phil really wanted a rat rod, and so he found a beetle that we chopped, rusted, and turned into our rat rod! He’s called rat,” Danny laughs. “He’s been in music videos, and we often take him out on Sundays!” The car they’re currently working on in their home workshop is Danny’s choice. “I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted but I knew I wanted something that I could paint matte black and make look like a scary vampire car. So, Phil bought me a baby blue 1961 Mercedes Benz Ponton that we are working on.” Which also has a name, she explains “His name is spider car. When we fetched him there was the most enormous rain spider living inside and so, Spider car it was! The rain spider has since moved – of his own accord, but the name remains!”
Catch Love Songs with Danny Painter every Monday – Thursday between 19:00 and 22:00 on Jacaranda FM.