Kerishnie Naiker was born in Durban, South Africa. She completed her matriculation exemption with distinction. She attained an Honours Degree in Pharmacy in 1995 and practiced as a senior pharmacist in hospital and retail pharmacy. She was studying towards her Masters in Pharmacy Practice researching “The Social and Behavioural Factors Affecting Tuberculosis in South Africa” in 1997, when she became Miss South Africa.
Kerishnie Naiker entered the Miss South Africa pageant with the intention of bringing the ethnicity of the large Indian population in South Africa to the public eye. Being the only successful Indian in this competition continues to remain significant for the Indian population in South Africa. Kerishnie Naiker was the first Miss South Africa in 14 years (due to apartheid) who chose to compete in the Miss Universe pageant and thus became the first Miss South Africa to participate in both international pageants thereby setting the trend for her successors. She placed in the Top 10 and Top 5 at the Miss Universe and Miss World 1998 Pageants respectively.
Kerishnie Naiker is a businesswoman and philanthropist involved in the healthcare, media, fashion, cosmeceutical and medical fraternities. She facilitates public private partnerships by leading fundraising, communications, public relations and negotiations between stakeholders, acts as a health care consultant and consultant to pharmaceutical companies, performs as a television anchor and is involved in international trade. She is currently Director of Communications for a healthcare group.
As of 1998, Kerishnie Naiker worked for the South African Broadcast Corporation (SABC) as a continuity presenter and has on a weekly basis over a number of years presented several lifestyle, magazine and cultural television programmes such as “Eastern Mosaic”. She was the anchor of “Amstel Salute to Success”, a business programme showcasing successful South Africans, broadcast on eTV in 2005.
She has presented the Assagai Awards, the Kora All Africa Music Awards, the Model of the Year and the Miss South Africa Pageant during live television braodcasts. On behalf of the American based TV network, BET International, she has covered the 28th Annual International Association of Jazz Educators Conference in New York and the 2001 Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. She has also been the South African TV anchor for BET International covering events such as the North Sea Jazz Festival.
Kerishnie Naiker has worked frequently as interviewer of national and international public personalities: Nelson Mandela, Luciano Pavarotti, President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, Danny Glover, George Benson, Neena Freelon and many South African political leaders.
She has shared the podium with the likes of Richard Branson, Cherie Blair and Seal to name a few.
On behalf of the United Nations, Kerishnie Naiker produced the Voices Forum at the 2001 World Conference against Racism and conducted the interviews for the subsequent documentary. She directed and co-produced a documentary on the plight of Tuberculosis in Southern Africa for Sanofi–Aventis.
Kerishnie Naiker has performed regularly as speaker and Master of Ceremony for numerous companies in the corporate sector such as Abbott, Anglogold, British Petroleum, Canon, DaimlerChrysler, First National Bank, GlaxoSmithKline, Hyundai, Proudly South African, Sasol, Merck, Microsoft, Reckitt Benckiser, Murray & Roberts, Sahara, Sanofi-Aventis, Siemens, South African Airways, Lexmark, Total, South African Breweries, CANSA, Spar, Sun International, Bidvest, Unilever, Vodacom, BET International, Pick ‘n Pay, Standard Bank, The Shoprite Group, FASA, and Computer Associates Africa. She chaired/hosted the 2010 Women’s Dialogue, amongst prominent women from public and private sectors in South Africa, on behalf of Finlay Events.
Kerishnie Naiker was assigned Chair Judge of the Miss South Africa pageant for the years 1998 to 2004 with the objective of ensuring the high reputation and ambassadorial representation of such title in South Africa.
Kerishnie Naiker has established the Kerishnie Naiker Welfare Initiative (KNWI) which focuses on social and human development by way of healthcare (eg Tuberculosis, Cleft Lip and Palate, Head Injuries, Dialysis, AIDS, Cardiac, Nutrition, etc), welfare and education. The KNWI does not accept any monetary funding, rather partners appropriate donors and beneficiaries.
Kerishnie Naiker assists numerous charitable organizations. She is a former board member of the Vodacom Foundation, is a founding trustee of The Chatsworth Youth Centre Trust and is a board member of the Smile Foundation.
Kerishnie Naiker has, through the Kerishnie Naiker Welfare Initiative (KNWI), worked closely with former President, Nelson Mandela, on several projects contributing to reconstruction and development in South Africa. She has initiated and facilitated the building of The Chatsworth Youth Centre, several hospitals and nine Tuberculosis Resource Centres throughout South Africa with Nelson Mandela as patron, The Nelson Mandela Foundation, the South African Government and global corporations like DaimlerChrysler, Nandos, GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi-Aventis and Reckitt Benckiser as sponsors. She has managed many of the affiliated events of these projects, ensured mutual benefit of the stakeholders involved and the appropriate media coverage.
Kerishnie Naiker facilitated the agreement between Vodacom, Altron, Gauteng Provincial Department of Health and the Reproductive Health and HIV/AIDS Research Unit to establish a specialised AIDS Care Centre within the Hillbrow Health Precinct. This centre focusing on maternal and child HIV and TB was officially opened by South Africa’s Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi on 13 July 2012 with Kerishnie being the programme director for the event.
For more, please view the csi/knwi video under “corporate social investment” and tv anchor video at www.kerishnienaiker.com