Viewers have been waiting for more than 3 years for the next season of drama series Die Boekklub on kykNET (DStv 144) to see what has happened to the Cape Town hipster and now established author Tom Niemandt (Armand Aucamp) after he left the Karoo town Merweville at the end of S2 and moved to Pretoria.

“Tom was my inspiration to write S3,” says Louis Pretorius, Die Boekklub’s writer-producer. “The initial plan was to let S3 play off in Pretoria directly after 2, but actually, Merweville is an integral part of the story and it didn’t work out. In the beginning of 2019, I had this idea to take the story back to Merweville, but how to get Tom there and to make him stay there? Then I went back to the timeline of the deaths of the book club characters, and it just happened to work out that Tom would have to come back for a big funeral in 2024 – exactly after he has just turned 40. And isn’t a midlife crisis just perfect for a little drama? From there, I worked out the story roughly, presented it to kykNET and it got accepted.”

Louis adds that the time jump to 2024 is crucial to the plot. “I wanted to tell a story in a world where [the COVID-19 pandemic] is a bit in the past: It happened and it impacted everyone’s lives, but now things are more or less ‘normal’.”

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Finding hope

When Louis and his team started working on the new season, they first plotted out the characters’ journeys to determine where things would end – and then they put pen to paper. “My co-producer, Albert Snyman (he was also co-producer on Fynskrif), and I set out the stories and ideas for every episode. Then I wrote the script. It was very important to us for the story to be 1 of hope, especially due to the hard times we’re all going through currently.”

The characters were the driving force behind how the season develops. “I think the time jump had a huge influence. All the characters are now older, so what are the challenges they are facing? Where are they in their lives? Because everyone knows when and how the characters die, the journey of everyone became more internal. How did they grow? Tom especially needs to make peace with who and what he is. And then in the end, Merweville is a town of love and it’s apparent in the story we’re telling. There is a love-story between everyone,” Louis explains.

Louis adds the town Merweville is a character on its own. “The town with its gravel roads orbits at its own speed and time. It’s a dorpie that gives you perspective, where the past and the present collide. It makes you realise there is unnecessary baggage in your life, and you have to focus on what is important: your relationship with people.”

Finding the light

As with S1 and S2, S3’s central theme is one of personal growth through your relationships with friends, family and loved ones. “Tom personifies the whole book club’s journey through the 3 seasons. Hy starts out immature, and then apparently reaches an equilibrium. Then he matures in S2, and it seems like he found happiness. In S3, however, he is lost again, and he needs to work to discover his true self and become everything that he can be,” reveals Louis. “This all is coloured in by love and hope, which is very important to us, especially because we are in uncertain times.”

Louis emphasises that the golden thread through the series is the dark and the lighter sides of life. “It always feels as if the dark in life is overwhelming and the history we carry with us makes it almost impossible to move ahead. But in the end, there is light. We just need to look for it,” he says. He hopes that viewers will see how love always triumphs, that your past doesn’t dictate your future, and that there is always hope – no matter how dark things seem.

Welcome to the Book Club

After Tom left Merweville, the residents moved on with their lives and things changed…

Successful photographer Lillie Human (Christia Visser) matured like Tom, but unlike him, she isn’t carrying the world on her shoulders. One thing that troubles her family, though, is that she lost her passion for taking pictures.

The years have also left their mark on guest-house owner Sofia Matthews (June Van Merch), especially after the death of her husband, Tobias (Cedwyn Joel).

Anna Uys (Jana Cilliers), the town’s white sangoma, made peace with her husband Jan’s (Marcel van Heerden) passing, and she is still mixing herbs and reading cards. She’s waiting for her own approaching death.

Master baker Hanli Oberholzer (Nicole Holm) is almost 50 and it’s an uphill battle raising a 7-year-old daughter. The years have brought wisdom and peace and she and her husband, Johan (Anrich Herbst), are in a good space.

Merweville’s lead detective, Lourens Marais (De Klerk Oelofse), is still pedalling all over town on his little bicycle, and still unhappily married to, Kara (Karli Heine), who’s on the brink of opening up her own coffee shop in the village.

Merweville also welcomes some new faces:

Piet Smit (Pierre Van Pletzen) is Hanli’s dad. For years Piet was a mechanic in Danville, and he has a passion for VW Beetles. He can talk about the cars the whole day and it drives Hanli up the wall.

John (Pietie Beyers), Tom’s best friend, is also back in town and decides to stay. Unlike Tom, he is a ball of positive energy and he squeezes the marrow out of life.

Julia (Nicole Fortuin) is the new doctor who loves to stand on koppies and to sing for people.

Vera Klopper (Margit Meyer-Rödenbeck aka comedian Dowwe Dolla) is the new minister in town. Vera was a marine biologist before she got her calling from God. Well read, she knows her Bible, Koran and Torah. She has a devilish sense of humour and has frank discussions with God.

Watch Die Boekklub S3 from Tuesday, 16 February on kykNET (DStv 144) at 20:00.

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