Die Spreeus episode 3: The curse of the pearl necklace

30 April 2019

Die Spreeus episode 3: The curse of the pearl necklace

Warning: This episode is not for sensitive viewers

In the most recent episode of Die Spreeus, detective Beatrice Mack (Monique Rockman) travels to Cape Town’s Bo-Kaap suburb to return the pearl necklace that she bought from a street-hawking widow named Rasheeda (Denise Newman), who takes it back with a compliant laugh after noticing the rash-like black marks on Beatrice’s neck.

“That [the marks] is just nonsense from Tasneem (Beata Bena) again,” says Rasheeda, revealing that the wares she is selling don’t always belong to her, but she is desperate to get rent money. “I sell what I can to stay alive,” adds Rasheeda.

Sad that she won’t be swanning around in her pretty pearl necklace, Beatrice hands her business card to the woman and makes it clear that Rasheeda can call her anytime in need.

Developing drama

Rasheeda soon has reason for Beatrice’s help after a particularly nasty visit from property developer Debra Nathan (Jana Kruger), who reveals that the building Rasheeda lives in has been sold and will be torn down to make space for a luxury apartment block.

Rasheeda can barely afford her rent as it is, so she’ll soon be out of a home too – and she wants Beatrice to find out if the development is legal and if the police will be able to save her home.

Beatrice and her paranormal-investigating partner Bas (Chris Vorster) visit Rasheeda’s home later but they’re not there alone – the spirit of Tasneem is floating around and makes her presence known by knocking a cup off the table. In the meantime, Rasheeda has found a buyer for Tasneem’s cursed pearl necklace – crooked municipal counsellor Karim (Ruben Engel), who gives it to his sidepiece Debra. Uh-oh…

The terror of Tasneem

Just like Beatrice, Debra also develops a rash and the tell-tale black marks when she wears Tasneem’s pearl necklace. And it seems that Tasneem’s dark powers have a greater influence on someone cruel and malicious like her…

While Bas and Beatrice are combing over Rasheeda’s home, they discover a doorway that leads to underground tunnels below the building. Obviously they have to continue their digging – but they’re not expecting to find a skeleton in the pipelines or Tasneem’s ghost.

She tells Bas and Beatrice her story, that she was a slave who arrived in The Cape of Good Hope on a ship from India in 1722. She gave her heart to a fellow slave named Arend (not seen), who proved his love for her by making a pearl necklace with the pretty gems that he went diving for at night. They would sneak off for nightly meetings in the tunnels but Tasneem’s jealous owner cursed the pearls when the relationship was exposed.

Rather than give up her jewellery and love, Tasneem died in the tunnels clutching her pearls. It turns out that Tasneem’s spirit haunts the necklace and when someone puts it on, she draws power from the wearer.

And that becomes apparent during a sundowner event where Debra’s eyes gloss over and turn black as Tasneem possesses her. But Tasneem doesn’t disappear when Debra takes off her necklace – she has a point to prove to vile Debra and her lover Karim, and since Tasneem is dead, she has all the time in the world to get revenge.

Keeping up with the Kaap

Die Spreeus creator and writer Tertius Kapp, who lives in the Bo-Kaap region himself, reveals that episode 3 is particularly close to his heart. The suburb has a history tainted by the slave trade in the early days of South Africa’s history when it was home to workers kidnapped and dragged from their homes in Madagascar, India and further abroad.

While the episodes are standalones, and you don’t need to watch them all to get the story, there’s a general underlying story that is always in the background of the show. Like Beatrice’s troubled relationship with Quinton (Maurice Paige), which gets a break for this episode, or Beatrice and Bas’s boss Brigadier Rosa (Sandi Schultz) investigating alternative treatments for her blood-clot medical condition. And don’t forget that we still don’t know the whole story about Bas’s late wife either…

New episodes of Die Spreeus arrive every Tuesday evening on Showmax, at the same time as the kykNET broadcast. And you can catch up on all previous episodes on Showmax, too.

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