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20 December 2022 | Story Gerda-Marié van Rooyen | Photo Supplied
Crystal-Donna Roberts
Crystal-Donna Roberts is a multifaceted lady. She appears regularly in soaps and is now a published author too. Speurder Sammi, an Afrikaans book written for early teens, explores themes such as anxiety, trauma, and pain.

She loved mysteries from a young age. Growing up, Crystal- Donna Roberts was fond of Columbo and Murder she wrote. Roberts, who graduated with a BA Drama and Theatre Arts in 2005, says she had always liked the tricky puzzles Scooby-Doo and Nancy Drew had to solve. She eagerly joined them on their missions page by page. Being an actress and having a busy schedule in front of cameras, Roberts actively decided to put time aside last year to write while participating in the Jakes Gerwel mentorship programme for upcoming authors. A lifelong dream came true when she wrote her debut novel, Speurder Sammi: Die blou steen (Detective Sammi: The blue stone). Tafelberg published her mystery-based story, which Roberts launched in September.

“Sammi is a teenager who lives with her artist aunt Valerie. The duo went on holiday visiting Oumie and Dedda in the Northern Cape. Although Sammi will miss her friends, April and Lerato, she is looking forward to a change of scenery. It will also distract her mind from the anticipation of waiting for acceptance at an art school she fancies. However, rural towns are full of surprises – and chancers.”

“There are teenage memories we seldom forget. The memory of growing pains is still vivid in my mind. I recall it and draw inspiration from it.”

Roberts doesn’t have set rituals when she writes. “I allow myself to do what my body and soul likes. Sometimes this means simply sitting down and enjoying a cup of tea.” Looking back on her fellowship, she discovered her love for creating new worlds and allowing the story to develop a storyline of its own. “I’ve learned I still have a lot to learn – this excites me. I also learned the importance of deadlines, even though they are scary.”

The former UFS student says she chose the Northern Cape as the setting for her story as it is one of the most beautiful parts of our country. “It is one of the prettiest parts of our country. I wanted my character to explore new horizons, but to remain between her loved ones when she goes through her healing and strengthening process.” Although Roberts is determined to write her second book, the details are still unknown. In the meantime, she enjoys reading Walter Russel’s The Secret of Light. She draws inspiration from Andrew Davidson’s The Gargoyle. “Apart from the story that deeply resonates with me, I can appreciate the detail in the story and Davidson’s writing style.”

To enquire about stockists selling Speurder Sammi, visit

Presenter and television, theatre and film actress, Roberts is currently starring in kykNET’s drama series, Fraksie. She is also known for her roles in 7de Laan, Getroud Met Rugby, Montana, Vallei van Sluiers, Krotoa, and The Endless River.

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