After a successful twelve years as the popular character “Emma” in the evergreen Afrikaans soap “Sewende Laan”, Bertha Le Roux has decided to close this chapter of her life and move in a completely unexpected, yet very fitting, direction. I had the pleasant opportunity to sit down with Bertha and chat to her about her project; “Godsliedjies”.
Sdtrck: Tell us a little more about Bertha Le Roux before she became known as “Emma” in “Sewende Laan”?
Bertha: I love children and after school I au-paired in Belgium, so I can speak French with a Belgian accent! I did a lot of children’s’ theatre and also worked behind the scenes at several festivals, doing sound, lights, stage managing… pretty much whatever they needed. I also met and fell in love with my husband, Karel Wahl, in this time and we got engaged just before I joined 7de Laan.
Sdtrck: Almost the entire country will remember you for the role of “Emma” that you played in “Sewende Laan”, how difficult is it for you to move away from that persona? Do people still call you Emma when they meet you in public?
Bertha: Absolutely, how lucky am I that Emma is a nice person otherwise people would want to hit me all the time! 12 years will not shake off that easily, but I have managed to build up a brand in these years and people in public do call me Bertha, which is very nice and appreciated. You do get the odd person who will not accept that I am in fact not the tragic Emma….
Sdtrck: What made you decide to end your time at Sewende Laan?
Bertha: Mainly I wanted to spend more time with my daughters, Kiana (7) and Brioné (4). They are growing by the minute and the hours at 7de Laan prevented me from enjoying them. My time at the Laan has been quite eventful and I felt that there are other characters out there that could challenge me differently. I also wanted to clear more time to work on my new project, involving my children – “GodLiedjies”, which loosely translates as “God Songs”.
Sdtrck: Tell us more about your new project “GodLiedjies”; what’s the inspiration behind the concept and what are your goals with this project?
Bertha: My girls love praise and worship and every time Brioné gets into the car she used to say: “GodLiedjies, Mamma GodLiedjies!” — her special name for gospel songs. I, like many other mothers, obliged and played the songs in the car. We would sing along and it brought back faith like a child to my heart. Then I thought, why not create songs that are easy for the kids to remember and then incorporate moves that we can put on a dvd. And then I thought it would be nice to make a whole episode with a story, craft and new song – then the kids at home can have a full experience! My first goal with “GodLiedjies” is that the children have fun whilst learning about the Bible and God’s love. There are so many shows on TV at the moment and I want kids to be excited to switch of Doc McStuffins and Gummy Bears to learn more about Jesus – because He is the ultimate superhero!
With the shows I hope to reach as many hearts as possible and teach them that God loves them and wants them to have fun and be happy.
My second goal is to reach more children by translating it into Zulu, Xhosa and Sesotho.
Sdtrck: What do you enjoy the most about doing “GodLiedjies”?
Bertha: Being able to share it with my girls. Kiana has been very helpful in writing the songs and Brioné quickly tells me if something doesn’t work! Seeing how they are growing in their faith, overhearing little discussions they have about Jesus and creating a dialogue between me, Karel and them about God and faith – that’s what life is about!
Sdtrck: What has been the general response to your new project?
Bertha: People have been so generous about “GodLiedjies”, every one encouraging me and praying for “GodLiedjies”. The children love the show and the songs and that makes my heart soar!
Sdtrck: Is it difficult presenting the Gospel in a fun way to children, or does this come naturally to a mother of two?
Bertha: I think God gave me a gift to work with children, because to me it’s nothing but a blessing to tell stories from the Bible to them! Sometimes the children are very eager to help tell the story or they veer of topic, and that means they are listening. It’s up to me to give them the right direction. Seeing their thirst for knowledge is what drives me.
Sdtrck: What is the Gospel to you in the simplest of forms?
Bertha: God the Father loves you with all His heart and Jesus came to create a pathway so we can speak to God directly! The Holy Spirit guides our everyday thoughts and carry us through the hard and happy times.
Sdtrck: The CD/DVD releases next year, but you are currently touring with “GodLiedjies”. Where can we catch it live?
Bertha: Our next show is at Alice Art Gallery in Ruimsig on the 9th of December. I am still available to book a show for your church or school, bazaar or birthday party for the rest of the year – for more information please go to our Facebook page GodLiedjies. The show can be done in Afrikaans or English.
Sdtrck: What moment took your breath away during a “GodLiedjies” performance?
Bertha: That would be at our first performance when I did the show for the whole congregation – it was their family service — it was the middle of the show and I realised that everyone was enjoying it. I felt the joy and faith growing in the church and I knew God is blessing me and “GodLiedjies”!
Sdtrck: What is next for you after “GodLiedjies”? Any career or projects we can look out for in the future?
Bertha: I’m still keeping my actress hat on and would love to do a series or movie in the next year. God has blessed me with many talents and it is time to lift those buckets of and use them! I want to do more public speaking and MC work with my husband Karel, who is an auctioneer and in general just grab every opportunity God throws my way!
Breaking away from your comfort zone and what you have always known is always a difficult decision to make. Bertha decided that she would like to dedicate her talents to God and has taken the change in her stride. In the months to come I can already see many a mom and dad’s CD player being raided with the request for more “Godsliedjies”. It truly is a unique project that has been dreamed up by a very talented woman and her two little masterminds and it promises to keep the young ones and adults busy for hours on end. Bertha is a unique woman with a passion for God and children and I could not think of a more fitting person to take on this precious task.
For information on the release of “Godsliedjies” you can search and follow their Facebook page, alternatively you can email Eon at Xrossbeat@gmail.com. If you would like to book Bertha and her production “Godsliedjies” you can email Jennis at firstname.lastname@example.org