7de Laan is gone, and so is familiarity

It did not move on, it moved out.

7de Laan is gone, and so is familiarity

It did not move on, it moved out

7de Laan is dead. Well, almost. She only has a few days left. And even though the people of Hillside are not familiar anymore, I do know this: it’s a loss.

Mix feelings over 7de Laan ending

The end of South Africa’s longest running soapie left South Africans divided in opinion. 

On the one hand you have the fans. They see 7de Laan as an extension of their living room and fought desperately to save it.

And then you have the naysayers. Who will take any chance to vocalise just how bad it is. 

Let’s face it. Soapies are not always well-received. Blame the OTT storylines. The unrealistic events. Or the plot twists that are deeply rooted in oh-so-obvious soapie tropes.

Even when Egoli ended, some celebrated its final bow. 

But unlike 7de Laan — who ripped the plaster off with a hey, in 5 months’ time it will all be over —Egoli fans could at least find comfort in a proper send-off.  A year and a half after the news broke, the final episode aired. And even after that, there were 3 weeks of commemorative shows plus a full-length movie. 

M-Net gave the 18-year-old Egoli its time and day. 

Whereas the SABC pulled a wam bam, here’s some Vetkoekpaleis, get over it ma’am.

7de Laan’s death: a reminder that time is fleeting

My teenage brain from the year 2000 can’t remember what was on SABC at 18:30 before 7de Laan started. 

But I do remember the teasers. 

And they teased well. With breadcrumbs of popular faces from Onder Draai Die Duiwel Rond and Sonkring. We knew something was coming, we just didn’t know it would develop into a soapie — in the proper sense of the word. 

Not everyone stuck around for the daily substance of the almost 24-year-old addiction. For some the detox came after storylines became too much. While others got weaned after moving out of the living rooms, they once called home.

The thing is, 7de Laan was always just there. 

Like a mother’s hug, it was a mnemonic wrapped up in the sound of pots simmering on the stove. With someone rushing back into the kitchen during ad breaks only to be highly upset if they don’t make it back in time.

It was a place you know. 

For the Boomers and Gen X it was the comfort of routine.

For Gen Z it was childhood.

But for Millennials it was familiarity.  

Familiarity that greeted you in your teenage years and welcomed you back every now and then in your 20s and 30s. It reminded you of where you came from even when you were completely out of touch with the who, what or why of the Laan, while you were city-living and binging on Netflix.

7de Laan was always just there. But now it’s gone. 

The bunny ears aerial lies somewhere on a dump.
The house you grew up in is now home to someone else.
The hands that once stirred the pots during ad breaks, have become frail. Some have even said their own goodbyes. 

The familiarity we once knew has changed. It did not move on, it moved out. It’s over.

And in its death lies existential dread. A stark reminder that time is a limited gift. And a debilitating realisation that eventually, all we know, will end as well.