Vaselinetjie star: The most challenging part was leaving the character behind

2017-09-19 10:49

Cape Town - Anoeschka Von Meck's celebrated youth novel, Vaselinetjie needs no introduction as it has been a staple on many setwork lists.

Von Meck’s breakthrough novel went on to win three literary awards.

The riveting story of Helena ‘Vaselinetjie’ Bosman, a white girl raised by her loving coloured grandparents stirred the heartstrings of many. 

It was only a matter of time before the story got the big screen treatment. 

Vaselinetjie opens in cinemas nationwide on Friday, 22 September. 

Newcomer Marguerite van Eeden plays the older Vaselinetjie.

Landing the role was quite an endeavour Marguerite tells Channel24 in an interview.

"I met Corne (writer/director) and Rene (writer) when I auditioned for Hollywood in my Huis at 15. Afterwards I proceeded to go and stalk them on their production page Red Letter Day Pictures, and saw that they were in pre-production of Vaselinetjie."

She continues: "I immediately went out to get the book and told my agent Susan Rabe about the upcoming film. Two years later I auditioned for the role."

Marguerite loved the novel and resonated with certain aspects of the story while others were out of her frame of reference. 

She stayed in res at La Rochelle Girls High School in Paarl and while it's not the same as a children's home she could relate to the pursuits of fun, love and pain which are often found in res life. It’s a close knit group that stick together through thick and thin which she also found in Vaselinetjie.

What drew her in about the character was that she was a girl who struggled to find her identity and who she was.


To prepare for the role she tried to embody her character. 

Speaking about the process she says she really tried to understand where she was coming from and changed her room into Vaselinetjie. 

"My walls were full of photos that I would relate to her. I kept a journal for her every day and would often just sit and chat with her. I know that sounds weird."

She continues: "The chats help me to distinguish the differences between me and her. I also read the text and tried to understand why she reacts in a certain manner, and why I would react differently."

The most challenging part of filming for Marguerite was leaving the character behind when the cameras stopped rolling.

"Some of the scenes were very physical and emotionally difficult. But it was also a lekker challenge," she says. 

Her highlight during the entire process was working with the amazing cast and crew and not only learning valuable acting skills but life skills too. 

The accolades have already started pouring in for Vaselinetjie.

The film had its premiere at the Silwerskerm Festival where it won Best Film.

For Marguerite this is a huge honour and privilege. 

"I think it shows that a great group of people can work as an ensemble to create an end product where nothing in the movie overshadows anything."

Watch the trailer here:

(Photo: Jay Loots & Ivann Pieterse |

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