Bul­lies be gone

Ronel searches for refuge far from school­yard mea­nies as well as her mar­i­tal prob­lems.

TV Plus (South Africa) - - ARENDSVLEI -

“Arendsvlei is a place of safety for bro­ken souls,” sym­pa­thises Me­lanie Du Bois about her char­ac­ter Ronel. The ac­tress, who played Felic­ity Daniels on 7de Laan (2000- cur­rent) be­tween 2011 and 2016, re­veals that high school teacher Ronel comes from a trou­bled mar­riage and she’s search­ing for peace. “She and her son Lee-Roy (Roberto Kyle) lit­er­ally fled the town of Clan­william in the mid­dle of the night and they’re pray­ing that the town of Arendsvlei will pro­vide them the calm and peace and safety they need.” As with most trou­bled soap char­ac­ters, their past has a nasty way of catch­ing up, adds Me­lanie. Her ag­gres­sive ladies’ man hus­band Lionel (Jody Abra­hams) made their lives a liv­ing night­mare and he’s fol­lowed them to Arendsvlei on Mon­day 5 Novem­ber. “She is speech­less when she sees him. She wanted to for­get about him but here he is, on her stoep. Her past is eat­ing her alive,” says the ac­tress.

Ronel is in­cred­i­bly pro­tec­tive over her son. Is that be­cause of Lionel? Lee-Roy is her only child and he’s been through hell.

He was bul­lied ter­ri­bly in school and noth­ing hap­pened. The school turned to look in the other di­rec­tion. He is a sweet-na­tured boy like his mom. Lionel on the other hand be­lieves that fists are the only way to solve prob­lems. Bul­ly­ing is a mas­sive is­sue in the real world. How did the show pre­pare for the sto­ry­line? I didn’t have to re­search any­thing be­cause I’ve lived it. My 12-yearold daugh­ter Roxy was bul­lied at school for three years. At first she told me, “Mom, I can han­dle it,” but one day she cracked. It was sorted out quickly and prop­erly and she is smil­ing again. Does Ronel have some­one to turn to for

sup­port? Thank­fully yes. Beatrice (Jo­lene Martin) has been at her side as a shoul­der to cry on. They were friends in school and are al­most as close as sis­ters. They give each other sup­port and help wher­ever pos­si­ble.

What were your school years like? To­tally op­po­site! I went to a Catholic pri­vate school, com­plete with nuns. Ev­ery­thing had to be per­fect. Your uni­forms had to look iden­ti­cal, even the way you walked and talked. Schools to­day sadly don’t have that kind of dis­ci­pline.

Ac­tress Me­lanie went through school bul­ly­ing with her daugh­ter Roxy. Ronel and her son Lee-Roy have been vic­tims their en­tire lives.

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