No free lunches in this one horse town


NOTHING: As far as the eye can see. The setting for Esther von Waltsleben’s Afrikaans radio play, Geblik.

GOOGLE THE NORTHERN Cape town of Blikfontein. “There’s nothing there!” you may shriek, as you try to zoom in closer and closer, discovering a couple of shrubs and a lot of hot air. Indeed. Blikfontein is the focus of this week’s Afrikaans-language radio drama, which broadcasts on Radio Sonder Grense on Thursday evening. A tale of spying for dad and knowing your own mind and empathy levels, it’s a homely reflection on small town values in the face of ambition.

“I am De-Lish!” bellows Frank Powell (Deon Lotz) in a bid to wake up his son Jonathan (Wilhelm van der Walt) and employee Gavin (De Klerk Oelofse) as to the value of upholding the quality control of his franchised restaurant. He gets a bit of a snigger in response. But when he suggests that the two young men travel to an outpost in the country to do a bit of discreet investigations, they think of an unexpected coastal holiday.

But no. The place in question is in a community which makes the proverbial one horse town feel like a bustling metropolis. And not only do they stick out like sore thumbs, but they quickly meet the whole town and its dead mother and make a hit with the girls. They’re not spies, you see. Merely young men out for a spot of adventure.

They do find a little more than they bargained for, by way of real values and deep family love and just when you think everything’s about to fold, an unlikely hero emerges from the morass and saves the day, morally.

Geblik is a delightful work which focuses on the sub-narrative of South Africa’s little towns in the middle of nowhere. It’s about holding on to the heritage one has and fighting for one’s sense of place. Interspersed with covers performed by Bobby Hendricks this is a light and crispy South African tale that will leave you charmed.

  • Geblik is written by Esther von Waltsleben. Directed by Johan Rademan, and featuring technical input by Cassie Lowers with music by Bobby Hendricks, it is performed by Karli Heine, Deon Lotz, De Klerk Oelofse, Andre Samuels, Juanita Swanepoel, Wilhelm van der Walt, June van Merch and Mariechen Vosloo. It broadcasts on RSG on December 13 at 8pm, will be rebroadcast on December 17 at 1am in Radio Sonder Grense’s Deurnag programme, and is also available on podcast.

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