Nêrens, Noord-Kaap

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Geon Nel (Frans), Albert Pretorius (Ronnie), and De Klerk Oelofse (Andries) in Nêrens, Noord-Kaap. (Photo: kykNET)
Geon Nel (Frans), Albert Pretorius (Ronnie), and De Klerk Oelofse (Andries) in Nêrens, Noord-Kaap. (Photo: kykNET)

SHOW:

Nêrens, Noord-Kaap

WHERE TO WATCH:

Premieres Tuesday, 31 August at 20:00 on kykNET (DStv 144). Available on Catch-Up. (Includes subtitles)

OUR RATING:

5/5 Stars

WHAT IT'S ABOUT:

kykNET’s 13-episode new drama series Nêrens, Noord-Kaap is based on the award-winning play by the same name. The story revolves around three estranged brothers who find their way back to the family farm, Nêrens, where secrets, heartbreak, and the truth surrounding their mother’s death threaten the path to redemption.

WHAT WE THOUGHT:

Afrikaans TV exists in many different forms.

There’s one genre I’ve fallen in love with multiple times. It's poetic in its authenticity and its complete lack of pompousness. It's raw, and real, and stuffed with beautiful descriptive phrases that are both surprisingly honest and effortlessly colourful. 

It’s delivered with unrestrained honesty and has a richness and sweetness to it that I can only compare to biting into a doughy koeksister drenched in sugary syrup. It instantly fills your mouth with a familiar sweetness that triggers an avalanche of memories with just one bite. One word. A sentence.

Nêrens, Noord-Kaap – based on director Nico Scheepers’ award-winning play by the same name – falls into this category of Afrikaans TV. It’s a beautifully made 13-part drama series that revolves around three estranged brothers that return to their family farm, called Nêrens (Nowhere), in the Northern Cape. 

The first episode introduces us to the cast with a wedding and a baptism - two notable events in Afrikaner culture. However, everything quickly unravels when secrets start to be exposed, and heartbreak quickly follows. The traditionalism of both events are marred by the fact that they take place simultaneously. An older generation might call it a "moet trou" (shotgun wedding), but for the younger crowd it simply means living by their own rules.

The struggle between the restrictiveness of tradition and the freedom of modernisation is a constant theme throughout as our characters battle to accept the price of choosing one over the other.

The original cast that won the 2018 Fiësta Award for best ensemble - Geon Nel (Frans), Albert Pretorius (Ronnie), and De Klerk Oelofse (Andries) – return in their leading roles as the three Adendorff brothers, each burdened with their own inner demons.

Then there’s the patriarch; A stubborn Afrikaner bull named Lourens – masterfully portrayed by veteran South African actor Frank Opperman. 

Ilse Klink, as Maggie, is the glue that keeps it all together. She’s the motherly figure within the lives of the four men who so desperately needs her gentle yet firm touch. She's the warm hug that makes it feel like everything is going to be okay. Or will it?

The beauty of the setting of Nêrens, Noord-Kaap, lies in the absence of that which is traditionally considered beautiful. The Northern Cape provides a bare and vast emptiness so simplistic that anything that plays off in front of it is instantly elevated. This makes for breath-taking cinematography that adds another layer to this delicate in-depth drama. 

Nêrens, Noord-Kaap is a triumphant showcase of the best that local TV has to offer. It’s neatly polished and well put together, from its talented cast, engrossing script, to its visual presentation. You’ll want to savour every bite of it, and it deserves nothing less.

WATCH THE TRAILER HERE:

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