TAKE A LOOK at your teenager, all wrapped up as they might be, with ear phones and the screen of their cell phone flashing vaguely and surreally against their face. Do you know exactly what they are doing on social media? Do you know who they are accessing, and what things they are saying? Should you? Deon Johnston’s riveting Afrikaans-language radio drama Kulkiekies which broadcasts on Radio Sonder Grense on Thursday evening at 8pm, examines the horrors of social media and the net of perils for a youngster that it represents.
This nuanced, complicated piece, handled with a firm narrative line and immense clarity, introduces you to a teenager, Hannes (Brandon Eloff), who, thanks to a heady mix of hormones and technology, has a complicated relationship with his mother, who is a single parent. His grandfather (Tobie Cronjé) is sympathetic, up to a point, but represents the voice and values of another generation.
It’s a cautionary tale about the dangers of putting your baby’s photographs onto the internet, no matter how cute they may be, as it is one about how easy it is for paedophiles and other monsters to disguise themselves in faceless dialogues. And while you will sit, transported by the radio and with goosebumps rising all over your person, you are presented with the vortex of terrifying possibilities to which technology in hand can expose a vulnerable youngster.
This excellent tale of a meerkat and school bullying, of a ‘shiner’ and a motorbike sees bloodshed, lives lost and morals imbibed; you may leave your radio a little shell shocked, but a little the wiser. The behemoth of the internet is one that doesn’t forget and cannot erase. It’s not something to share your intimacies with, ever.
- Kulkiekies (cheat photos) is written by Deon Johnston. Directed by Christelle Webb-Joubert, and featuring technical input by Bongi Thomas and Evert Snyman, it is performed by Jacques Adriaanse, Michelle Botha, Carmin Coetzer, Tobie Cronjé, Brandon Eloff, Thabang Makoba, Richard van der Westhuizen and Stefan Vermaak and broadcasts on RSG on Thursday December 12 at 8pm. It is rebroadcast on the station’s all night programme, Deurnag at 1am on Monday December 16 and is also available on podcast: www.rsg.co.za