Debora Patta Biography
Debora Patta was born on 13th July 1964 in South Rhodesia now Zimbabwe. She is a South African broadcast journalist and television producer.
Her father was Italian and had emigrated to Zimbabwe as a railway employee. Her father was from Rome, Italy and she lived there for a while when she was young. Her Italian family is originally from Praia a Mare in Calabria. When her father died, Patta and her sister inherited a hotel in Rome and holiday apartments in the south of Italy.
She moved to South Africa with her mother, a nurse and devout Catholic, and her sister in 1976 after her parents divorced. She attended Rustenburg School for Girls in the Rondebosch suburb of Cape Town, where she matriculated in 1981. In 1984, she graduated from the University of Cape Town where she obtained a Bachelor of Social Sciences. She briefly taught aerobics while at university.
Debora Patta Career
After graduating from the University, she worked as a political activist teaching literacy in Cape Town’s squatter camps until 1990, when she started working as a freelance reporter for the BBC.
In 1990 she joined Radio 702 in Johannesburg as a reporter. In 1994 she became the news editor and special assignments editor in 1997. The first news story she worked on that was aired on Radio 702 was about the return of ANC leader Oliver Tambo from exile in December 1990.
In 1997 and 1998, while working as news and special assignments editor for Radio 702 and its sister station Cape Talk, she investigated and reported on the 1986 plane crash in which Mozambican President Samora Machel was killed. She received several threatening phone calls during the investigation. In June 1998 she participated in a post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission special hearing, providing expert opinion and assisting with questioning regarding the 1987 Helderberg plane crash and the Machel plane crash. She was later interviewed for a 2008 Mayday (Air Crash Investigation or Air Emergency) documentary on the Helderberg plane crash.
She was appointed editor-in-chief of e.tv news in 2005 and resigned in 2009. She worked as news and special assignments editor for Radio 702 and its sister station Cape Talk. In October 2013, she returned to Radio 702 as a stand-in talk radio host.
She has worked for e.tv since its inception in 1998. She started as a senior correspondent in Johannesburg and was subsequently appointed chief anchor of e.tv news.
From 2000 to 2013 she was the executive producer and anchor of the weekly current affairs television programme 3rd Degree, a show conceptualized by her which focused on hard-hitting interviews. The final episode of 3rd Degree aired on 14 May 2013.
She has reported on major international stories such as the September 11 attacks and the death of Princess Diana and has interviewed many notable individuals including Shimon Peres, Oprah Winfrey, Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki, Jacob Zuma, Cyril Ramaphosa, Julius Malema, Eugène Terre’Blanche and Robert McBride.
She was appointed editor-in-chief of e.tv news in 2005. In 2009 she resigned her position as editor-in-chief, “to follow her passion for journalism” and focus on 3rd Degree.
She played a key role in the launch of South Africa’s first 24-hour news channel eNews Channel Africa (eNCA) by e.tv in 2008.
In 2012 a puppet version of Patta voiced by Nikki Jackman was cast as co-host of the satirical television news programme ZANews.
On 7 May 2013, e.tv and eNCA announced that Debora Patta had resigned “to pursue other interests as a freelancer for international news companies”. Following her departure from e.tv, she began working as a foreign correspondent for CBS News.
Debora Patta Awards
- 1992: South African Checkers Journalist of the Year.
- 2004: Vodacom Journalist of the Year Gauteng Region.
- 2004: MTN 10 Most Remarkable Women in Media
- 2007: Simonsvlei Journalist Achiever of the Year
- 2009: Vodacom Women in the Media
- 2010: CEO Magazine South Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government
- 2010: She received a Tricolor Globe Award from the Italian Women in the World association which recognizes outstanding achievers of Italian origin abroad.
- 2015: She was part of the CBS News team nominated to receive an Emmy Award for their coverage of the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa.
Debora Patta Age
She was born on 13th July 1964 in Zimbabwe, where her Italian father had emigrated as a railway employee.
Debora Patta Publications
- Baby Micaela : the inside story of South Africa’s most famous abduction case. Co-authored by Anne Maggs and Debora Patta. Sandton: Zebra Press, 1996.
- One step behind Mandela : the story of Rory Steyn, Nelson Mandela’s chief bodyguard. Co-authored by Rory Steyn and Debora Patta. Rivonia: Zebra Press, 2000.
Debora Patta Husband
In January 1996 she married Mweli Mzizi, a black filmmaker and Zulu prince but in April 2002 they divorced. In June 2003 she married businessman Lance Levitas.
Debora Patta Family
She has two daughters, one from each marriage. Her elder daughter Chiara Mzizi has worked as a presenter for YoTV, a youth entertainment show broadcast by SABC 1.
Debora Patta Photo
Debora Patta Contact Details