Reality is lekker
Longing for “real” TV fun in the winter sun? These seven Afrikaans reality shows are spicing up Showmax screens.
There’s no such thing as “too far” when it comes to reality TV in South Africa. Remember the original Big Brother SA in 2001 when viewers got to see winner Ferdinand Rabie doing a midnight number 2 in the garden and hiding the evidence with a shovel? Pooh-pooh for you if you prefer scripted action and drama, because things are about to get lekker with Showmax and its Afrikaans reality offering!
Jan Braai (real name Jan Scannell) is the man behind National Braai Day (24 September), so you know he really loves his boerewors and coals. He and his team have been travelling around South Africa, celebrating some truly beautiful spots and the common culture of food and fire that binds us all. Catch up on all the previous seasons and watch new episodes express from kykNET.
The team behind Slank helps to motivate people who’ve tried every diet in the book without success. The programme, which is in its fourth season, follows contestants as they start down their path to changing their lives and improving their health. With the help of dieticians and psychologists, they’ll stop at nothing to help the contestants reach their goals and achieve the body of their dreams.
Seventy-year-old clairvoyant Gerald Burger ventures where others fear to tread … literally. “Ghosts and poltergeists are afraid of me,” jokes Gerald, who is probably the oldest ghostbuster in South Africa. But even he still gets scared after decades in the business: “The episode was frightening, even for me. This giant man I couldn’t see pushed me to the ground. Even after I’d burnt the precautionary incense, it was so powerful.” You may not believe in the afterlife and spirits and such, but Gerald does – and connecting with them is physically draining. “I want people to know is that they don’t have to be scared of the unknown,” says the clairvoyant. “Most of the spirits on Earth are here to look over their loved ones.”
Did you know that Gerald correctly predicted the deadly Laingsburg floods on 25 January 1981. No one took heed of his warning and more than 200 people died.
Singing-acting siblings Bobby and Karlien van Jaarsveld are the talk of the town when it comes to performances, but they’re out of their comfort zones in their own show. For 48 hours they step into the lives of people dealing with in tough circumstances to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. “The seasons have ripped my heart out of my chest. These people do the most incredible things, against all odds. I was in a wheelchair as a paraplegic and to get around for just one day… I was so inspired afterwards,” says Bobby. It’s not all heavy though, adds Bobby: “I tried my hand, or rather feet, at ballet. All I can say is ouch! My toes! Respect to all ballet dancers!”
Never mind rugby, cricket and soccer – SA’s real national sport is camping. It’s exactly like sport, jokes presenter Paul du Toit: “If you’re a novice, your perfect camping trip can turn into a nightmare. This isn’t for sissies.” And he puts the camping contestants to the test: they’ve got to know their way around the camp, from equipment to how to build a fire, what direction to set up your tent and everything in-between. “Everything must fit in your backpack. Especially bug spray. Do not forget that!” laughs Paul as his contestants already start worrying about being eaten alive on the show.
Dating shows get a twist as comedian Schalk Bezuidenhout and rapper Jack Parow play matchmaker. Single ladies interrogate their suitors, with the added benefit of access to the singletons’ social media. “I’m not on the side of the guys,” jokes Schalk. “I’m one of the girls, so the guys will have to pull out all the stops to impress my ladies… and more importantly me. Party animal Jack isn’t looking for love but he’s willing to chime in with advice: “If a woman can make a perfect braaibroodjie, she has my attention!
Clinical psychologist Dr Wilmien Human packs a gut-wrenching punch on her show. “There is also always hope,” says the presenter. “People sometimes feel there is no hope, but there is and we explore those heart-warming stories that started in a dark place.” Like with Ivor Swartz, who went into prison as a violent thug and gangster and emerged to be an honest, upstanding community builder and leader who helps troubled children. “As a kid, I left home and joined a gang. We had more mieliepitte than brain cells. I’ve changed my life – anyone can,” says Ivor.