7de Laan has chalked up quite a few milestones this year.
Not only did the TV series celebrate its 4 000th episode on air in March, it also got viewers talking when it broadcast the first ever gay kiss since its launch.
And tonight it made history again – by introducing the first transgender actress in its cast!
“People are going to get very fond of Genevieve,” says actress Deonay Balie (27), who plays the character. “She’s a strong woman and looks life squarely in the eye. She knóws who she is.”
For Deonay it’s also an important achievement to be one of the few – if not the only – transgender actresses seen locally on the box.
“There’s no well-known transgender actress in soapies. And LGBT people (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people) do have a need to tell their stories.
“It’s taken us a long time to get to the point that a transgender actress can appear in a series like 7de laan, but I still think it’s wonderful they’ve decided to add a trans character to the storyline,” says Deonay, a primary school teacher who became involved in television almost by chance.
“I teach in Steinkopf outside Springbok in the Northern Cape but I’m also involved in activism and awareness raising. When the soapie’s writers decided to create Genevieve they approached me to audition.”
As an art and drama teacher, she has no formal acting training but impressed directors enough to land the role.
“She and Aggie are at loggerheads in the beginning,” Deonay reveals, “but that’s only Read more