7de Laan is one SABC soap that I watch, not because I have now left my parents’ DSTV-infused home and have to suffer through the banality of terrestrial television, but because it’s sweet.
I’ve always known that it was a rather safe and naive show, a bit behind on current issues and always with that little safety net. For example, a girl is raped, which for 7de Laan is a brave and major leap into the dark world of South African reality. But instead of dealing with it, they kill her off with a quickly forgotten suicide. Baby steps, baby steps.
So now they’ve done the unspeakable — introduced an interracial couple. Ciska is a pretty white redhead, Vince a cute coloured boy. Finally. But my excitement, it seems, may be diffused in a short while. Ciska’s mom doesn’t like old Vince because he’s coloured and Vince is getting hassled by his community for having a white girlfriend. In one memorable scene, the couple is accosted by two confusing Jo’burg coloured guys with striking Cape Flats accents, who are very angry with this example of the rainbow nation. They ask Vince what he is doing with his ”lily-white” girlfriend and tell him to stick to coloured girls, because they’ll give him far less problems.
Now, this would have been a breakthrough episode had it been 1995. But in 2009, it seems like the boat has long since sailed. Characters on Isidingo and Generations have long been gallivanting with people of other races. It’s sweet that 7de Laan is trying, but it feels as though they’re attempting to throw in token issues and then get rid of them as soon as possible so they can get back to Oppiekoffie for some soulfood, like white sauce on white pasta and barbecue chicken on brown rice.
All we need now is some homosexuality.