7de Laan is celebrating diversity with Casual Day this year

7-e-laan-July-2017_4From the very beginning, 7de Laan was like no other South African TV show.

Here, for the first time, audiences were given the Hillside community; a cast of Afrikaans-speaking characters from all walks of life. From across all race groups the characters lived together and told the stories of life in South Africa’s young democracy.

“At its very heart 7de Laan is about diversity, and has been from episode one. The creators and producers of the show made a very conscious decision to create a new kind of television show that was inclusive and that showed audiences new ways to imagine relationships,” says Frances Maposa, 7de Laan’s line producer.

Maposa was speaking backstage at a visit to the popular 7de Laan’s set by a team from Casual Day, South Africa’s largest fundraiser in the disability sector. This year Casual Day,  will be held on 1 September and the theme is “Celebrate diversity with persons with disabilities”.

7de Laan has created many firsts, which is a large reason why the show is still one of the most watched TV shows, and has been for 18 years. The show was the first soapie in the country that included English subtitles on all of its episodes to make sure that it could reach the widest possible audience.

Most of the show is in Afrikaans, with some English and some isiZulu, but the subtitles mean that 7de Laan has reached a much wider audience.

“We have two million viewers every day and our biggest fan base is black South Africans. We also have a devoted fanbase among viewers who have hearing loss or who are deaf, who let us know how important this show is to them. The subtitling and translations do cost money, but it is absolutely an investment in our audience’s diversity and it has paid off,” says Maposa.

The partnership with Casual Day is a natural fit.

“It makes a lot of sense for a brand like 7de Laan to be supportive of the important work that Casual Day does to raise awareness of the need to be inclusive of persons with disabilities, and our show’s ethos is echoed in the theme for this year’s campaign,” says Maposa.

This year Casual Day will be celebrated on 1 September and the theme is Celebrate diversity with persons with disabilities.

Therina Wentzel, the national director of the National Council of and for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD), says the theme is an incredibly important idea to share with all South Africans, as diversity makes our families, communities and society stronger.

“There is a great need to create inclusive spaces for persons with disabilities … to create access to social and economic opportunities for a great diversity of disabilities. Casual Day has been running for 23 years and we are very proud of the work that it allows us to carry out,” she says.

This Casual Day, says Wentzel, South Africans are being asked to buy their R10 Casual Day stickers and show support for and solidarity with persons with disabilities, and to celebrate the differences between people.

“Disability is a part of our society’s diversity – persons with disabilities contribute to our strength as a country and to our sense of being proud citizens of a proudly diverse country,” says Wentzel.

7de Laan is a great friend to the NCPD and especially Casual Day. The work and great spirit with which they have partnered with us this year shows what is possible when we come together for a common cause.”

Last week members from the Casual Day team visited the set of 7de Laan in Lonehill and got a chance to share the message of this year’s Casual Day campaign and to talk to some of the show’s stars.

Speaking backstage, R&B singer KB Motsilanyane, who plays Lesedi on the show, said that being South African means that “we need to be able to live with each other because this country is home to a lot of different people”.

“As South Africans we need to teach ourselves; we need to embark on a journey where we learn about other people and not be uncomfortable about other people being different to ourselves,” she said.

“We have an opportunity and responsibility that we all need to take up, which is to accept e and understand each other, so that we can learn from each other. We need to ask questions and listen to what other people say about themselves and about their lives.

“This is what celebrating diversity means; it means we can find out that we are not so different from each other, that there are commonalities … that is why I will be celebrating diversity with the rest of cast and crew of 7de Laan this September 1.”

About the Author

Able online

Able online

Hi, I’m Able the Casual Day mascot and ambassador for disability. I encourage you to see the ABILITY in people and not the dis-ABILITY. We’re all able, we can all live our fullest lives if the barriers are removed. Join me each year, on the first Friday of September and raise funds to support organisations that render services in the field of disability. This year Casual Day falls on Friday, 1 September. Your donation of R10 for a sticker makes a difference and improves lives all across South Africa.

Visit Website

Comments are closed.