Table Mountain is a world-renowned landmark, boasting plaudits such as “natural wonder of the world” and “Africa’s leading attraction”. It’s flanked on the right (if you’re in the City Bowl or standing on the beach in Table Bay, that is) by Lion’s Head. On the left, is Devil’s Peak: which also happens to be the name of M-Net's latest crime thriller, airing Sundays at 20:00. In honour of this popular moniker, we’ve decided to take a look at the South African elements that hold the name.
Lion’s Head is a popular hiking spot (Table Mountain too) but there are also many who have braved the peak. It got its name – so the story goes – from a Dutch pirate (or sea captain, depending on which version you hear) named van Hunks, who was said to have been challenged to a smoking duel by the devil, on this mountain. These "smoking duels" are the reason the famous skyline becomes wreathed in clouds so often … or so the legend goes ...
When van Hunks and the devil are engaged in smoking duels, it’s a sure sign a southeaster is howling its way through from False Bay. This is an area of the Cape that just happens to be the setting for M-Net’s other new show Summertide (coming soon), and the blustery wind for which the area is renowned is sure to make an appearance.
The legend of van Hunks has become so popular, the city even has a popular bar named after him. There’s also the song 'A Tale of Three Cities' – by Bittereinder, Tumi Molekane, and Jack Parow – that acts as a love letter to Pretoria, Jozi, and Cape Town, the latter mentioning van Hunks in the lyrics. Check it out below.
Have you knocked down an ice-cold glass of this liquid gold? Yes, Devil’s Peak is also a craft beer. Founded in 2012, this delicious local brand offers ales, lagers, IPA, and even a non-alcoholic variety. The bottles boast funky designs, including the mountain’s silhouette on their logo, naturally! If you’re in Cape Town, pop into the Taproom in Salt River for a cold one: it’s a pub located inside the Devils Peak brewery, and also offers time-honoured food pairings: burgers and beer and burgers and pizza.
Deon Meyer fans will be well acquainted with Devil’s Peak as a book, although Afrikaans readers will know it as Infanta. The latter was published in 2004 and introduced the character of Benny Griessel who has appeared in numerous other books, including Meyer’s latest, Leo. The English translation of Infanta, with the title changed to Devil’s Peak, was released in 2007.
And, of course, now we have the series, a five-episode action thriller starring Hilton Pelser as Benny Griessel and Sisanda Henna as Thobela Mpayipheli, a character who has also appeared in several of Meyer’s books. The series is directed by Jozua Malherbe who has worked with Meyer before, on the adaptation of another of his books, Trackers, which also aired on M-Net.
Watch Devil’s Peak every Sunday at 20:00 on M-Net channel 101. If you miss an episode, you can catch up on DStv Stream here. Join the conversation on Facebook, X, Instagram, and TikTok using #DevilsPeakSA.