A child goes missing every five hours in South Africa. Approximately 30% of missing children are never found, while almost 50% of missing adults never re-emerge” according to the SAPS Missing Persons Bureau, 2013.It is this statistic and the many notifications of missing people across the country that spurred on the development of KykNET’s newest drama series, Projek Dina. The show relies on expert advice from a former Hawks investigator and members of Missing Children SA portray the effort that goes into missing person investigations. As a result of these specialist consultants, the stories in the show are inspired by real events; giving viewers an intimate picture of what it’s like to know someone who goes missing.
The premise of the show surrounds three detectives, hand-picked by their Brigadier (played by Vicky Kente) to form a brand-new task force responsible for rapid responses to missing persons cases. The task force is nicknamed “Projek Dina”, after the biblical character, Dinah; who was thought to be the first person in history to be kidnapped.
The team is led by the stoic and strategic Captain Deon Visagie (Tim Theron), who is detail-orientated but struggles in personal relationships. Deon’s greatest challenge comes in the form of one of his team members, the happy-go-lucky Sergeant Lux Dladla (Chumani Pan). Lux has excellent people skills and scores high in emotional intelligence. He and Deon constantly butt heads over the way an investigation should be run, particularly when it comes to following petty rules. The dynamic between these two polar opposites will resonate with anyone who has ever had to work with someone they don’t get along with. It demonstrates the reality that we don’t always like our colleagues but, sometimes, personal feelings must be put aside in the interest of the bigger picture. The internal conflict within the team adds an interesting dimension to the drama as personalities clash within their fight to find missing people and solve their cases.
Holding the team together is Warrant Officer Ronel Oosthuizen (Chanelle de Jager), a wife and mother who holds a deep personal connection to cases involving missing children. Ronel is fearless in her pursuit of the truth and can always be counted on to keep the men of the team in line, until their cases have been solved. She delivers an incredible performance; striking the perfect balance of sensitivity and ruthlessness and will not stop an investigation until a resolution is found.
The task force is rounded out by an unofficial informant, the rough-around-the-edges Charlene Botha (Kay Smith), a self-taught hacker who helps the team on the technological front.
Projek Dina showcases some realities of our country; from the underworld of human trafficking, to the daily reality of people who vanish without a trace. The show portrays some adrenalin-fuelled chases, some happy resolutions, and some heart-breaking endings that will leave you reeling.For its realistic portrayal of missing persons cases, its storylines, and its celebration of good South African talent (from amazing actors, to the spectacular music of Laudo Liebenberg, which ends every episode), Projek Dina is a Five Star Show, and should be on everyone’s watch list.You can find Projek Dina on KykNET and DSTV Catch Up.