Since childhood, Wayne van Rooyen has been a performer of sorts and the family entertainer. And after he watched Kat and the Kings (1997), an international award-winning musical by David Kramer and the late Taliep Petersen, he knew that his destiny was in the performing arts.
And those who are familiar with Vernon “Stokkies” Jacobs, his character in Scandal, will readily agree that Wayne is a genuine acting talent blessed with the gift to entertain people. The role of Stokkies was introduced to the popular e.tv series three years ago and since then it has grown by leaps and bounds.
Currently the whole community of Scandal is reeling with shock, disappointment, anger and regret after they were swindled of their hard-earned savings in a pyramid scheme.
Stokkies, a perennial loser and ex-convict-cum-cleaner, has always dreamt of transcending his impoverished background and making it big financially.
So when he was recruited as an agent of Comboa - short for Community Building One Another - he sincerely believed that he was helping his colleagues at Safe N Clean to reach for their dreams. Through the bogus investment scheme he has coined it, bought a car and saved some of the money for future plans.
Stokkies, “a good guy with bad tendencies”, is unfortunately not aware that it is a pyramid scheme that is doomed. However, his newly acquired wealth and his selection as Comboa’s Agent of the Month convince those around him that the scheme is the real deal.
This semblance of credibility inspires co-workers to invest a fortune with disastrous consequences. After realising that they've been conned, Stokkies’ angry colleagues burn his car, loot and destroy workplace property, but the effects of their loss will have long-term implications for their families.
The Stokkies character was introduced as a prisoner on crutches after he presumably suffered a beating at the hands of other inmates. It later turned out that he had faked his injuries.
His manipulative and unpredictable character means that viewers can still expect surprises after this latest Comboa episode. His involvement in the fraud scheme is not surprising, considering that Stokkies has always found get-rich-quick methods appealing.
He was attracted to gambling, drugs and partying. His wayward lifestyle eventually landed him in prison.
On the other hand, Van Rooyen’s upbringing was stable and he has managed to avoid the temptations of a criminal lifestyle in pursuit of the arts. The Wits University drama graduate and award-winning actor was raised in the Johannesburg suburb of Eldorado Park by loving parents and grandparents with positive family values.
He had good role models who made it possible for him to make informed and responsible choices. World-renowned poet Don Mattera was a neighbour and community elder who left a lasting, positive impression on him.
However, his decision to become an actor was not really encouraged because he was told that it was a passport to hunger. But he has followed his dreams and, at 39, he is one of the country’s most accomplished stage and screen actors with a proud international resumé.
Scandal airs on e.tv at 7.30pm, weekdays.