‘Donkerbos’: Tri-lingual murder mystery hailed as ‘masterpiece’

The 18LSVN eight-part series Donkerbos which is now streaming on Showmax — with new episodes every Tuesday until 17 January 2023 — has been labelled a “cinematic masterpiece” by Elri Boucher from TVPlus and top movie critic Leon van Nierop calls it “innovative and dazzling”.

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Set in Limpopo, the new crime thriller captures true South Africans stories from domestic violence to child abductions and killings.

“When the bodies of six children are found in the backwater forests of Donkerbos, an ostracised detective must wrestle with her dark past, her family and a distrustful community to catch the killer before another child is taken,” according to the synopsis.

Donkerbos was written and directed by Nico Scheepers from (Nêrens, Noord-Kaap).

“Limpopo is under-represented on TV in South Africa,” said Scheepers.

“I was tired of coastal and Karoo stories in Afrikaans series, and I was tired of only hearing Zulu and Xhosa in everything else,” he continued.

WATCH: ‘Donkerbos’ trailer

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Multi-award winner Erica Wessels (Dwaalster and i am ALL GIRLS) stars as detective Stephanie “Fanie” van Wyk. 

“We had six incredible options but everyone else approached the character with anger,” said Nico. “Erica brings empathy. She elevated the character so much; I couldn’t fathom the depth she brought.” 

Erica Wessels plays the lead detective in the new crime drama ‘Donkerbos’. Image: Supplied

Fleur du Cap winner Sanda Shandu (SkemerdansThe Kissing Booth) plays detective Tsedza Tshivenga, her new partner, who is brought in from Johannesburg to assist on the headline-grabbing case by Captain Didie Baleka (SAFTA Lifetime Achievement Award winner Thoko Ntshinga from Egoli: Place of Gold).

“He’s perfect for making Fanie walk on eggshells,” said Nico. “His eyes are magnets but you never know what he’s thinking.” 

Sanda Shandu plays detective Tsedza Tshivenga. Image: Supplied

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