15 questions for Tertius Kapp


15 questions for Tertius Kapp

At 35, he was the youngest Hertzog Prize winner yet for his plays Rooiland and Oorsee. Now he is working on Juffrou X, a kykNET series about a maths teacher who becomes a vigilante. LAUREEN ROSSOUW asks the questions.


1. The two teams in the Rugby World Cup final? Who will win? And why?

The Springboks break French hearts in Paris and the whole world hates us. Why? Because we have too much depth and world cups are won on defence. But I will really be happy if France win.

2. Your favourite podcast?

I recently switched from No Such Thing as a Fish to The Infinite Monkey Cage. Fish is trivia on steroids. Monkey Cage is presented by a comedian and a savvy Hadron Collider-level physicist, making advanced, complex science accessible. Also Scriptnotes, presented by two of my favourite screenwriters: Craig Mazin (Chernobyl, The Last of Us) and John August (Big Fish). But that is homework.

Lees hierdie artikel in Afrikaans:

3. What do you listen to when you're alone?

The Infinite Monkey Cage. During lockdown I caught up with 400 episodes or so of Fish, now I'm working on Monkey Cage's 175.

4. Your favourite toy as a child?

Lego. Every report from Huppelland Pre-Primary reads, “Tertius likes Lego". I mostly built boats or spaceships, but in retrospect I was busy with theatre rather than engineering (see below).

5. What do you eat on a typical day?

After a month in Vietnam, my favourite breakfast is phở, which I make from scratch (cook brisket bones with lots of spices for the soup base, which you pour over rice noodles, lemon juice, peppermint leaves, extremely thinly sliced ​​fillets, sprouts and sauces: sriracha, hoisin, fish, soy … it's a whole thing). I like cooking: curries and stews that I make up as I go, crunchy wraps, Marmite on toast with a glass of milk.

6. Five best-kept secrets in Cape Town city centre?

  • CD Fox. As a child, my father and I walked around the city most Saturday mornings and the route varied between Wellington Fruit Growers, Adderley Street's flower market, coffee in St George's Mall, Gordon's Hardware, the bank. But from these routes I choose CD Fox, where we had to buy rope every year for the holidays. (Rope lasts  longer than a year — we ended up with lots of rope.)
  • The Dog’s Bollocks' screaming waitresses.
  • Uwe of the Gardens Continental Butchery — yes, lovely.
  • City Guns, where you can fire an AK in the city centre.
  • A Portuguese restaurant that has to remain secret as far as possible.

7. Your favourite writer(s)?

Right now I love Ted Chiang, but I discovered him too recently to make him a favourite. In theatre/film Martin McDonagh. In TV Craig Mazin and Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

8. Is there a book you often reread?

I rarely read a book twice, unless I have to adapt it. And I mostly read non-fiction for research. I did read Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things by George Lakoff a few times. Gert Vlok Nel's Om Te Lewe is Onnatuurlik remains my favourite collection of poems. I have read Marlene van Niekerk's Triomf a few times.

9. A movie you can't get enough of?

That's a mess: The Big Lebowski, Léon: The Professional, Adaptation, Big Fish, Closer, Mulholland Drive, Stranger than Fiction, The Square, The Untouchables, 12 Monkeys, Die Hard, Antonia's Line. 

10. If you could live inside a movie, which one would it be? Why?

The Fifth Element. For the outfits, of course. 

Tertius Kapp as a toddler.
Tertius Kapp as a toddler.

11. What did you want to become one day?

Like Schrödinger's cat, I wanted to become two equally unrealistic things: astronaut or writer. This went on for a surprisingly long time and led to bizarre university timetables, confused admin officers, one of the few BA degrees with mathematics as a subject and an honours in laser physics overlapping with a master's in writing. The dream is not dead: I still want to become a writer one day (meaning novels/poetry), and I hope space tourism will become affordable in time.

12. What can't you live without?

Cheese. Seinfeld. Monica Bellucci. Rugby.

13. Pet hate?

People who pout for selfies.

14. The most overrated characteristic in other people?

Self-confidence, maybe …

I know the quote has been passed on from Plato to Bertrand Russell to Charles Bukowski to meme jockeys, but it's true: fools and dumb people are so sure of themselves, wise people are paralysed by doubt. It feels more and more like the logline of the script of planet Earth.

15. What are you looking forward to?

The systematic cooling of the universe.

♦ VWB ♦

BE PART OF THE CONVERSATION: Go to the bottom of this page to share your opinion. We look forward to hearing from you.

Speech Bubbles

To comment on this article, register (it's fast and free) or log in.

First read Vrye Weekblad's Comment Policy before commenting.