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Rian van Heerden on Showmax’s ‘Sex in Afrikaans’



Just in time for Valentine’s Day today (14 February) Sex in Afrikaans is officially available for streaming on Showmax. Producer Rian van Heerden answered a few burning questions on the much-anticipated series. 


The Showmax Original documentary follows clinical psychologist Bradley R Daniels. He helps four Afrikaans couples and two singles to have shameless discussions about their sex lives for the first time publicly. 

The series comprises of six episodes that focus on sex workers, sex toys, porn, swinging, BDSM and fetishes respectively, Sex in Afrikaans is an eye-opening tour of what your neighbours and co-workers get up to behind closed doors. 

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Q: Why did you want to make Sex in Afrikaans? 

We had Sex Etc way back, presented by Mark Pilgrim, but people handled the subject matter with kid gloves and it was in English. So about two years ago, I had the idea of exploring the sex lives of Afrikaans people. It’s uncharted territory.

Q: Why have we never talked about these things in Afrikaans? 

I look at my own life and how conservative I grew up and I feel deprived of so much pleasure because these topics were considered dirty and we were not allowed to talk about it. I’ve experienced first-hand what a conservative approach to sex can do to relationships.

We try to make people think or feel differently with the television shows that we produce, and I thought that this is exactly what is needed when it comes to the subject of sex.

Q: How difficult was it to find people to talk openly about sex in South Africa?

It was quite a process. As you can imagine, the vast majority of people are reluctant to talk about sex. Now imagine if you have to do it on television.

And, because of people with alternative sexual needs being judged so harshly in the Afrikaans community, you can imagine how difficult it was to get Afrikaans people to openly talk about sex.

Q: What was the hardest topic to find people to talk about?

We have an entire episode on swingers, which is a big Afrikaans thing. Swinging is a big, big thing, especially in the estates. I’ve talked to dozens and dozens of couples who swing, but that episode was our hardest one in terms of getting people to talk about it on TV.

Q: After everything you’ve seen in Sex in Afrikaans, do you think people are bored with normal sex?

I think if you come out of a background where sex is considered only acceptable when it’s done in the missionary position for 15 minutes after Noot vir Noot on a Saturday evening, you definitely suffer from boredom.

Q: Sex in Afrikaans is already being called “the most controversial series South Africa has ever seen” – before anyone has even watched it. Do you think that’s correct?

I definitely think that this is the most controversial series that has ever been produced in South Africa. Sex in Afrikaans is one for the books.

Q: What do you hope your audience takes away from watching Sex in Afrikaans?

It is important that South Africans understand that they are not alone in their sexual wants and needs. There are others like you! And it’s okay.

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