Blonde Venus

Anita Senekal. Foto's: Mariechen Schoeman

Anita Senekal. Fotos: Mariechen Schoeman

You can overcome your circumstances.

“You can overcome your circumstances.”

It is election year and just about every South African seems to be angry and paranoid. One could say that it is the end of niceness. But then you meet an exception such as actress and beauty queen Anita Senekal from Saldanha Bay – of whom one could say that her heart is as big as the open plains where she grew up.

“I’m a mother of three boys,” the blonde Venus emphasises upon meeting this journalist. I have to extricate the rest of her CV from her during a long interview. For the record, here it is. Anita has a lead role in the upcoming television series Tinka. It won’t be her first appearance on the box. She has appeared in series like Meeulanders and Wild Life, TV ads and a music video. She was also recently chosen as Mrs West Coast Region 2016 and for the past six months she has been a presenter for Radio West Coast. And through it all she has managed to remain nice.

“How do you manage to remain so … nice?” I ask. It appears impossible. But I’ve got an idea. Call it female intuition. “Was it the way you were brought up? Your mom?”
“I grew up poor. I suffered hardship as a child,” she answers without missing a beat. “You can write about it if it will show people that one can overcome things.”

Anita, Jaco and the three boys.

Anita and Jaco take time out with the three boys.

Mixed memories
Anita remembers her father walking out on the family. The feeling of loss and emptiness. But she doesn’t dwell on that old pain. Instead she talks about growing up on the farm outside Mariental. “I was one of four children. Always the quiet one, the little girl who wore her hair in two pigtails, an introvert who had to change into an extrovert.” Adulthood came early for Anita. She had to leave school in standard 8 to go and waitress to augment her family’s income. She interrupts herself at this point, and says, “You can take the sadness and turn it into something good.” Another thought, also along this line. “If there are no cracks, no light can shine through.”

Jaco supports Anita wholeheartedly.

Jaco supports Anita wholeheartedly.

Cracks and breaks. It’s the same theory that is behind a form of Japanese pottery in which the vessels are broken and then put together again, after which they are stronger. “My mother is my hero,” she says. “And my gran. I grew up on the farm. I fed the lambs and listened to bird song. It shapes you and makes you humble.” That’s the introvert speaking.

The extrovert in Anita comes to the fore when she talks about husband Jaco, who is the love of her life, and her three children. And when she presents her show Op my Rusbank met Anita Senekal on Radio West Coast.

The name of the program gives one an idea of how far Anita has come. It suggests that she can become an Oprah Winfrey. She loves this job, and she says she loves “interviewing people above all. And whenever I interview young beauty queens I try to teach them that a crown comes with responsibilities.”

We round off the interview with some quick questions.


“I want to leave a legacy.”

Me: Who is your favourite designer?
Anita: Tara Simeon. She also designed clothes for Rolene Strauss.

Me: Best colours?
Anita: Turquoise and red.

Me: Best cook?
Anita: My husband. I’m just his assistant in the kitchen. He’s a dab hand at braaiing and his pastas and stews are great.

Me: Most beautiful thing?
Anita: Before I had my children I would have said life, but now I’ll say it’s the love I see in the eyes of my boys.

Me: What drives you?
Anita: I want to embrace life, with its good and bad. I want to leave a legacy behind for my children.

Me: What are you doing for charity at the moment?
Anita: I’m working alongside CrimeFighters Weskus, collecting and handing out blankets, food and clothes.



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