Investigating crime stories and giving a voice to victims and their families is a difficult task, but Kuier journalist and TV personality Ernusta Maralack sees it as her privilege and an honour in real-life crime doccie series Op Seer Se Spoor.

Season 2 of this SAFTA-nominated series starts at the end of April on kykNET&kie (145), and this time Ernusta will travel to more provinces including the Western Cape, Northern Cape, Gauteng and the Eastern Cape. “This gives us the opportunity to tell more stories than we could in the first season, when we only stayed in the Western Cape,” says Ernusta. If you’re not home when the show airs, use DStv Now to stream it wherever you are.

The 13-episode season is also split into themes, reveals the presenter. “We take a look into violence against women and children, police cruelty, suicide, and gruesome murders.” Ernusta will also be taking an in-depth look at the motives and social conditions driving these crimes.

A story you can’t shake off

There are two stories that shook Ernusta in this season. Episode 2 takes the presenter back to 2017, when a widow named Aneesa Arrison shocked the community of Bernadino Heights in the Cape Town suburb of Kraaifontein by shooting all three of her sons before she killed herself. And in episode 4, Ernusta tells the story of 11-year-old Elizabeth Martiens, whose decomposed body was found in 2007 in an abandoned water tank on the Weltevrede farm in the Western Cape.

“Annesa’s story is close to my heart because in the end, only one of her sons, 21-year old Waseem, died. Her then-14-year-old twin boys, Yaqoob and Yusuf, survived,” says Ernusta. “Back in 2017, I could not talk to the twins as they were minors. But in this episode, I get to talk to them, and viewers will be amazed at how they have blossomed despite what happened to them.”

Ernusta has known about the Elizabeth Martiens story since it happened in 2007, when she worked at Die Burger newspaper. “When we started doing research for Season 2, a friend reminded me of her story, and we decided to pursue it. In this episode, I had to go out of my way to find a clear photo of Elizabeth as it was hard to find one even back then. Viewers will see the lengths I go to get one, and to tell her story with dignity,” Ernusta adds.

Working through the pain

“It’s not as easy as flicking a switch off to forget the terrible things you hear and see while doing this job,” says Ernusta. “Sometimes I get home after a day of shooting and either keep silent for a long time or start crying.”

Ernusta reveals that keeping her faith and praying helps her to deal with the things she sees in Op Seer Se Spoor. “The crew who work with me are also a huge source of support for me, and when things truly get dark, I go and see a psychiatrist to help me work through it,” she adds.

There is one thing that Ernusta wants viewers to remember after watching an episode: the value of empathy. “Start caring for your fellow human beings, especially those that are going through a difficult time, like the family and friends of the victims in this series. It’s hard to understand why people would do such crimes, but my hope is by telling these stories, that people will see the devastation it brings and that will stop them from even thinking about committing a crime.”

Watch Op Seer Se Spoor S2 from Tuesday, 28 April on kykNET&kie (145) at 20:30

Stream the latest episodes with DStv Now straight to your phone or device. For more on Op Seer Se Spoor, including videos and special content, visit kykNET.

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