There must be skeletons in a closet like this! There's a brand new family coming to 7de Laan

By Marisa Fockema
19 May 2016

At a glance the Welman family is as perfect as can be. But viewers will soon discover there’s more here than meets the eye.

After years overseas the Welman family returns to 7de Laan. But the Laners who once knew this mom and dad and their three children in the past look shocked over the family that’s turned up.

At a glance the Welman family is as perfect as can be. But viewers will soon discover there’s more here than meets the eye, when they make their debut on the show early next month.

We talked to the new family about their characters.

David Rees is Chris Welman

There are similarities between David and Chris, who demands a lot of himself. There are similarities between David and Chris, who demands a lot of himself.

Who can forget him from his Egoli days as outsider Nick Naudé, who always had to fight to make it? In 7de Laan his character, Chris Welman, is a successful, driven businessman.

“He’ll do anything to clinch a deal,” David says. “He demands a lot of himself and everyone around him, and is particularly hard on his two eldest children, Rickus (played by André Lotter) and Alexa (Carina Nel). His youngest daughter, Amorey (Kristen Raath), is the only one who, according to him, can do no wrong. She’s the apple of her father’s eye, makes him laugh and twists him around her little finger.”

Unlike his character, in real life he’s not at all strict with his own daughter, Wanya (12), David says. “Wanyatjie twists me around her little finger,” he says.

But there are similarities between David and Chris, who demands a lot of himself. “I also set high standards for myself and aim for the best. I can’t stand spinelessness. I always work at giving my best.”

Deirdre Wolhuter as Mariaan Welman

Deirdre says the only thing she and her character have in common is that neither of them can cook. Deirdre says the only thing she and her character have in common is that neither of them can cook.

Deirdre describes her 7de Laan character as an “executive housewife”.

“Mariaan manages her whole household," the actress explains. "She’s exceptionally elegant, sophisticated and ambitious for herself, her husband and three children. You don’t want to get on the wrong side of her or do anything that threatens her interests.”

Deirdre says the only thing she and her character have in common is that neither of them can cook.

“We couldn’t be more different. I’m a slob. Mariaan is elegant, always made up and got up to the nines, with her nails done. I tend to have a drill in one hand and a hammer in the other while making a cupboard or painting a room.”

Deirdre recently appeared in the movie Pawpaw Vir My Darling and is presently in the kykNET detective drama series, Fluiters on kykNET.

Years ago her path crossed those of well-known Laners such  as Christo Davids and Vinette Ebrahim when they appeared together in series such as Meeulanders and Soutmansland. This is the first time she’s acting full-time in a soapie.

She says the big change is due to the fact that she’ll be turning 50 next month.

“So far I’m enjoying it a lot. It’s so nice to see my fellow actors every day and build up relationships.” Deirdre says her greatest regret is that she’s not a mother. She’s single in real life.

“Luckily I’m a TV mother. Because I’m playing a mother and don’t have my own children the actors whose mother I play become like my children. I become very protective of them. I take my bottled-up motherly feelings and release them on the poor actors playing my kids – whether they like it or not.”

André Lotter as Rickus Welman

André says when he was young he dreamt of becoming a sports star, just like his 7de Laan character. André says when he was young he dreamt of becoming a sports star, just like his 7de Laan character.

In Villa Rosa he played the hated scoundrel Liam le Roux and has been slapped in public for his interpretation of the role. But this time viewers will like his character, he assures us.

“The girls will just want to hug him. Fortunately my wife knows it,” he jokes.

“Rickus is a 28-year-old professional tennis player but obtained a BCom degree to keep his father happy. He’s driven, motivated, ambitious and hard-working.

"He loves his parents and two younger sisters and wants to make them proud – but doesn’t always succeed. He sometimes makes strange choices but they come from a passion-filled place.”

André says when he was young he dreamt of becoming a sports star, just like his 7de Laan character. “Before I decided on drama I wanted to be a rugby player,” he says.

“That was my big dream. So we share that love for sport and fitness. I’m also driven in my career and relationships and stubborn, like Rickus, but I don’t always show it like he does.”

He enjoys giving life to a whole new character. “This is the first time I’m playing this sort of character. Rickus is a good guy. It’s a whole new experience and world for me.”

Carina Nel plays Alexa Welman

Carina, who lives in Pretoria and will be marrying later this year, says she shares similarities with her character. Carina, who lives in Pretoria and will be marrying later this year, says she shares similarities with her character.

Carina’s character, Alexa, is a medical doctor and the middle child. “She’s different from her older brother and younger sister. They’re more exuberant and get up to mischief. Alexa is responsible, gentle-natured, clever and gives her parents no trouble.”

Carina, who lives in Pretoria and will be marrying later this year, says she shares similarities with her character. “I’m also disciplined and responsible.”

She’s been in the acting business for five years. Before her role in 7de Laan she worked in theatre and played Isabel in Generations for two and a half years. She assures us her new character has many different dimensions.

“She’s interesting and viewers can expect great excitement from her.”

Kristen Raath as Amorey Welman

Kristen, originally from Nelspruit, says like her, her  character is a tough, positive person. Kristen, originally from Nelspruit, says like her, her character is a tough, positive person.

Kristen says her character is the youngest sister and the apple of her father’s eye. “Amorey is spontaneous, energetic character and the light in the lives of the whole family. She’s a student studying at a chef’s school in Cape Town.”

Kristen, originally from Nelspruit, says like her, her  character is a tough, positive person. “She’s going to evolve a lot and viewers will learn interesting things about her.” This is Kristen’s first TV role.

“7de Laan is really a wonderful training school and it already feels like family,” she says. “I sometimes have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming about the wonderful role I have.”

Read more:

Diaan Lawrenson says goodbye to 7de Laan

We still have a long way to go’: 7de Laan actress pours her heart out over viewer racism

7de Laan gets a MAJOR makeover

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