MAAK HEK TOE !!!
Despite its remoteness and stark, dramatic beauty, the valley lies at a curious confluence of interests. The Cederberg mountains are an iconic destination for nature lovers, hikers, climbers, and in early spring they display a renowned profusion of wildflowers. Behind this, there’s a more muted, but no less famous, spectacle of rock art left by prior San (first-peoples) inhabitation.
Today there are tensions over natural legacies that include herbal resources from rooibos tea to hoodia. Literally in every direction there are wonders, even upward: this place lies en route between the giant optical observatories at Sutherland and the massive MeerKAT radio arrays up north. Finally, the spectacularly winding gravel road is an alternate route for motor-driven trippers to and from the AfrikaBurn Festival in late April. (Similar to the Burning Man Festival in Nevada, USA).
It’s no wonder that the character Miems gets irate at the passers-through. And it takes just a small bound of the imagination to conjure an assortment of boffins, rogues and vagabonds that could drag adventure, opportunism and intrigue through the valley. In short, this is the ready-made location for a series of interwoven tales that thread through the heart of these spectacularly characterful farms, and are activated by the tensions across their common borders.
Episode Two deepens Detective Maake’s frustrations at the unhelpfulness of the locals, and Miems’ suspicions of this ‘fish out of water’. Meantime, a possible lifeline presents itself to the Wiltshires on the Nature Farm in the shape of an interested Scandinavian investor. Skye sees this simply as a ticket out of their predicament, but Miles’ idealism can’t quite cope with the excited developer’s ideas, such as a lucrative naturist (nudist) resort.
Episode Three – The annual wildflower spectacle has arrived in the valley along with eager nature-loving tourists, as well as a forbidding looking couple asking questions about the Xhosa-speaking detective. They convince the locals that Maake is a renegade policeman who runs an international poaching operation, and who is on the hunt to silence a fugitive informer.
The twist introduced in Ep3 does indeed appear true as Maake slips from the valley amidst a tribe of ‘vikings’ on their way through Bikers Heaven to the Afrikaburn festival on the Tankwa plains. The episode transforms into a psychedelic distortion of the classic Hitchcock manhunt.
The escalating tone of surrealism in this series is intended to shift the story from a tale of rural jealousies, to barely understood international intrigue and corruption, yet lensed through local folklore and belief.
Episode Five – Maake reaches Sutherland, and the police base from where he’d been dipatched to investigate the case of the body in the Cederberg. The Superintendent at the station is in fact a kingpin in the crime syndicate. A confrontation with Maake is interrupted by the arrival of the (now disheveled) hit-couple. It’s a redemption for Maake, but a ramping up of the dangers – to himself, and ultimately to the inhabitants of the distant valley. He escapes.
Episode Seven – Maake makes a secretive return to the valley via the alternate road. He has learnt to trust his hunches and to interpret his persistent dreams. He has also known all along that there’s a criminal connection between Miems’s brother and the world of astronomy (based at Sutherland) through a network of corrupted landowners and government officials.
Episode Eight – The true locals protect Maake, although they are still fearful of the manic creatures that traverse the valley at night (Mr Smith, whose reputation is now mythic-scale). That feral presence observes from afar as the driver of a shiny car, a new stranger, stops to unhitch the gate and checks for cellphone signal. (A series-ending denouement is yet to be devised).