Bullies be gone
Ronel searches for refuge far from schoolyard meanies as well as her marital problems.
“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.