It’s hard to imagine Boer Soek ’n Vrou, one of South Africa’s most popular dating shows (among viewers of the Afrikaans persuasion at least, as far as I understand – I don’t have a TV and I’m not romantically fond of boerseuns, although I do appreciate a karmenaadjie* for the braai) featuring same-sex couples.

Given, the demographic that enjoys a lonely farmer’s search for love stereotypically leans more to the conservative side, but if you consider that it actually made headlines when Netflix announced that it would include same-sex couples in its upcoming reality dating series, Dating Around (and when local dating show, The Longest Date, announced that a gay couple would be contestants on the show), one wonders when lonely not-heterosexuals in South Africa’s countryside will ever get a chance to exhibit their search for The One on the significant public platform that is local television.

Sure, they could write to the Landbouweekblad’s “Opsitkers”, asking that anyone with grit and a love for mealies please write to them. But everyone knows that the Post Office has seen better days – I was reminded of this when an 80-something lady staying in the old age home of the small town I currently live in lamented the days when mail (which came by boat, mind you) took just two weeks to get from the English countryside onto your breakfast plate in Africa. Those were the days, she says.

Ja, but the days of letter writing are a thing of the past, I hear you say. We have more modern means of meeting potential suitors now. Dating apps have made the world ever smaller. They shoot your sweet nothings to someone else in an instant – no boat needed. This is true, but as a seasoned online dater who joined Tinder in the early days, I can tell you that there’s no use in trying to find a match if you live in the rural countryside. Location-based services only work up to a certain distance, and if you do, on the off chance, see someone to swipe on, it’s almost certain they’re just passing through.

kykNET is currently accepting entries for the 12th season of Boer Soek ’n Vrou, with the programme set to air at the end of April. Perhaps same-sex couples will only be included on popular local reality dating shows for farmers when pigs fly, even though it’s great to see that the programme now also allows female farmers to search for someone to sit next to them on the stoep.

But I remain concerned. For the farmer that cocks his .22 at tin cans, but doesn’t shoot anything else. For the female farmer that knows how to kneed, but needs to know more. What will become of the isolated agriculturalists that know a hoe from a harvester?

* A karmenaadjie is a piece of meat that is sent to neighbours and friends after someone has slaughtered cattle.