Wearing that infamous red Speedo while he was a celebrity contestant on M-Net's Survivor South Africa: Santa Carolina will always shadow Izak Davel. Although the handsome actor-cum-musician has been on kykNET's Villa Rosa and several home-grown Afrikaans movies since finding fame as Scab on M-Net's Egoli, he is pretty chuffed about his latest outing as Bradley Haines in SABC3's Isidingo, writes Debashine Thangevelo
WITH Survivor South Africa: Champions creating a divide between Team Fish and Team Krige, it has brought back memories of Survivor South Africa: Santa Carolina for Izak Davel.
He had been quiet on the acting front before creating quite a buzz when he debuted on SABC3’s flagship soap, Isidingo.
Davel explains: “I have been very blessed. After Egoli (he played Scab for four seasons) I battled to find work.
“After about a year, I think Scab started to leave people’s minds. I started auditioning and then I went on Survivor.
“Those red frikkin’ swimming trunks did me a huge favour. But it wasn’t really the plan. It was like 40°C there. I didn’t want to watch Survivor for a year after that. Now that I look back on it, it was an awesome experience. I learnt a lot about myself and people,” he notes.
Revisiting his most arduous challenge in the game, he admits: “It was the one with Okkert Brits. We had to stand on those Gladiator- like stick poles.
“This guy is massive. I knew this oke was going to beat me. But I knew I had to challenge myself and take on this big dude. The nice thing was that I proved to myself that I can do it.”
Aside from Villa Rosa, he has also done a handful of movies: Getroud Met Rugby: Die Onvertelde Storie, Platteland and Hoofmeisie.
On playing Bradley Haines and breaking the mould of being typecast as romantic pretty boy saviour, he says he loves it.
Although, while his character is a bit of a guy’s guy who doesn’t mind roughing up someone, it is poles apart from him in real life.
Davel says: “I’m a softie and very proud of it. I’m one of those guys who is the first to walk out of the door when a fight breaks out at a bar.”
The actor says he’d had his eye on Isidingo for six years. Now that his dream has been realised, he has to get his head around working with South Africa’s very best television actors.
He laughs: “My nerves were shot. One of my first episodes was with Michael Richard, who plays my dad, Albert. This guy is one of the country’s best actors.
“Then we have Robert Whitehead who is of the same calibre. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t act. It felt like going to school for the first day.”
Two weeks later, Davel was, thankfully, much more at ease working with his veteran co-stars.
In the storyline, Albert and Barker Haines are butting heads over what is in Bradley’s best interest, with Barker pushing for a risky operation to fix his injured knee.
And Bradley has been siding with his uncle to the point of even firing his dad as his manager.
Expanding on his character’s reckless and hasty actions, Davel says: “He is one of those arrogant people. “He thinks he knows it all. He loves playing with his fist. He is confident and goes after what he wants.
“At this stage, he is very unhappy. He wants Barker and his dad to sort out their rubbish.”
But there are a litany of upsets coming up, one of which involves Bradley making a racial slur on air. Even worse, he is most unapologetic about it.
Of course, those chiselled features are capitalised on by the writers. He asks Charlie out on a date at some point.
“There is still a lot more coming up after that,” Davel teases.
Thankfully, he does have one friend – S’kumbuzo. But that doesn’t mean the bad boy is about to redeem himself anytime soon.
Nothing like family friction to turn up the heat, eh!
• Isidingo airs on SABC3 on weekdays at 7.30pm.