Van der Walt's Fault is a South African comedy series created by Alan Committie which is a comic look at South African history through the eyes of part-time security guard and sometime-historian Johan van der Walt.
The series is a spin-off of the M-Net comedy Laugh Out Loud, in which Committie first played the role of Van der Walt. Both series are directed by Bobby Heaney.
Van der Walt's Fault premiered on M-Net on Wednesday 9 April 2008, at 19h30, replacing The Coconuts. There are six half-hour episodes in the series.
You’ve always had a good grasp of South African history, but have you ever thought about the possibility that there could have been some significant gaps in our history lessons?
Are there any guarantees that we were given all the facts? What if there were some influential figures that did not make it into the history books? What if important details were distorted? Yes, and what if there were also some other strange, hitherto obscured goings-on behind the scenes?
M-Net brings you a no-holds-barred television show that could change your view of South African history. You’ll see it’s all Van der Walt’s Fault.
Directed by stage and television veteran Bobby Heaney and scripted by Alan Committie and Tom Eaton, Van der Walt’s Fault is a comic look at South African history through the eyes of part-time security guard and sometimes-historian Johan van der Walt.
In this six-part comedy, Johan van der Walt - who debuted on M-Net’s Laugh Out Loud - delves into his family history and ancestry to reveal that a person by the name of Van der Walt was responsible for many iconic moments in our South African history.
Van der Walt’s trip down history lane starts with the arrival of his Dutch forefathers in the Cape in 1651 (the Van der Walts arrived almost 12 months before van Riebeeck on a ship called Windgat - a little-known historical fact) and continues right up to the present day.
Each week a landmark historical event turns out to be Van der Walt’s fault. Who convinced the Dutch not to go back to Holland in the 1650’s? Who instigated The Great Trek; caused the Gold Rush; created Windhoek during World War 1; accidentally created separate development in the 1950’s; and helped release Madiba?
Take a guess...
Throughout the six episodes, each dealing with an important chapter in history, Van der Walt appears not only as himself, but also as his calamitous ancestors - and is surrounded by a cast which will help bring his stories to life.
Robyn Scott is Van der Walt’s wife Jacomina, Sello Sebotsane is his right-hand man Progress and his slightly slow half-brother Whatsisname is played by Tobie Cronjé.
David Dennis portrays various establishment figures – from British generals to prison wardens – and each episode features a celebrity guest star who steps into the roles of history icons such as Piet Retief, Paul Kruger, Ghandi, HF Verwoerd and PW Botha.
Director Bobby Heaney describes Van der Walt’s Fault as "Forrest Gump via Orkney Snork Nie in the vicinity of The History Channel. The styling of the show will be zany and technically we will be using a number of innovative special effects."
The show is recorded without a laugh track.
Van der Walt himself describes the show thus:
"It’s one man’s story; one family’s history. And it’s her-story, too. We Van der Walts are equal-opportunity herstorians, ag, historians, I mean, bliksem.
"We have been here for centuries, hier op eie bodem, here on our own bottoms – settle, settle, and this are our story. My story. Your story. No well, actually more my story.
"So, I’ll take you for a ride, through the annals of history – nee kom nou mense, I said 'annals', julle moet fokus."
Character of Van der Walt
Johan van der Walt is a creation of stand-up comedian and actor Alan Committie and has been around in one form or another since 1999.
First seen on South African television on M-Net’s comedy series Laugh Out Loud, Van der Walt is best known for his passionate but misguided monologues on all kinds of topics including art, gardening, law, defense, movies and astrology.
Through the years Johan has evolved. First it was the safari suit and the holster with no gun, then the glasses and finally the moment critique – the teeth.
Sampson has his hair, Van der Walt has his teeth ... they give him his charm, his wit, his intelligence and above all else his good looks.