Shaleen Surtie-Richards on her new role in Arendsvlei: 'It is the beginning of Janice's new hell on earth'

Shaleen Surtie-Richards in 'Arendsvlei.'  (Photo supplied: Penguin Films)
Shaleen Surtie-Richards in 'Arendsvlei.' (Photo supplied: Penguin Films)

Cape Town – Shaleen Surtie-Richards needs no introduction. On Wednesday the veteran actress made her debut on Arendsvlei with a bang.

By the looks of it, Lionel (Jody Abrahams) and Janice's (Crystal Donna Roberts) world is going to be turned upside down now that his mother is in town.

We spoke to Shaleen about her role, what she will be up to on the show, and what it's like to be back on TV three times a week.

We only got a glimpse of your character on Wednesday, can you tell us a bit more about her?

Muriel Foster is a retired nurse who has been working for Doctors Without Borders for the last seven years. When Lionel arrived in his hometown just outside Clanwilliam, his mother was away in Canada helping out at a clinic. Lionel is her everything, so she came back to Clanwilliam to see what exactly is going on in her son's life. To say she was shocked is an understatement.

How is she different or similar to the other characters you have played?

Every character is different, but Muriel is one of those characters that everyone will recognise. She's the aunt in the family that's not afraid to ask the uncomfortable questions, and that'll reprimand you in front of everyone. There's no shame there, and she knows it.

Without giving away too much, can you reveal a bit more about your storyline with Janice and Lionel?

Let's just say, Muriel landed with a suitcase full of drama. She turns everyone's life upside down and doesn't care if she hurts people in the process. It's her way or the highway. Wednesday's episode was just the beginning of Janice's new hell on earth. It's an epic battle between daughter and mother-in-law. And poor Lionel is in the middle of it all.

Shaleen Surtie-Richards and Crystal Donna Roberts

Before signing on to Arendsvlei, were you a fan of the show and did you have a favourite character?

I've been following the show for about two months now, and Janice is my absolute favourite!

I read that you travelled from Johannesburg to film scenes for your role. What was it like being back in Cape Town filming again?

It's always a fun time being back in Cape Town. I was there for a few days, and everyone was so lovely on set.

Arendsvlei is unique, and almost singular, in it's representation of the coloured experience in South Africa. What is it like to be part of a show like that?

It's a privilege, to say the least. I think it's very important to represent the coloured community in its purest form. And to be part of something like that is a blessing. I'm excited to be part of everyone's Monday to Wednesday nights again.


Tune in to Arendsvlei Monday – Wednesday at 20:00 on kykNET & Kie (DStv 145).

Compiled by Leandra Engelbrecht

(Photos supplied: Penguin Films)

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