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By Amber April

From the Karoo, three men came together to share their love for music. What started as a band of two brothers called “Brother Brother” became a trio made up of three multifaceted individuals with one passion – music. 

This local band consists of Theunis van der Merwe (bass and vocals), Roelof van der Merwe (lead vocals and guitar) and Paul Avenant (Drums and Vocals.)

“Music has always been part of what we do. We grew up in a house where there was always music playing,” said Theunis.

Theunis and Roelof van der Merwe started their musical journey together at a Sunday Funday event at Stellenbosch Brewery almost seven years ago. There they opened for Robert Frost. Later, Paul Avenant joined the band.

Ironically, Paul is the only member pursuing music at a tertiary level. Roelof studied Chemical Engineering, and Theunis did Industrial Psychology.

After winning Texx and the City’s “Band or Bust” competition at the Toyota Woordfees in March 2020, the band has gone on to share the stage with many well-known acts, including Spoegwolf and Glaskas. With a 6 track EP recently released on 30 September, Van Der Aven is making waves in the South African music scene.

Danie du Toit, the lead singer of Spoegwolf, thinks that Van der Aven’s music is “original and truly incredible. You can’t get it out of your head!” 

Their music is unique in that it consists of three-part harmonies, which is not common in alternative rock music. Roelof writes the music for the band in both Afrikaans and English. Their first Afrikaans single was “Heimwee”, released in June 2022. 

When asked why they chose to change the name “Brother Brother” to “Van Der Aven”, they told Die Matie that they wanted to make Paul feel more included. They thus used their surnames, Avenant and Van Der Merwe, to create Van Der Aven. 

Theunis would advise aspiring musicians to “value what you do. Don’t play for a burger and a beer, [because] is that really what you believe your music is worth?” Though, he added that there are exceptions. A meal can be a legit payment for students merely aiming for exposure. 

Van Der Aven aims to become a household name. One of the purposes of recording an EP was to have a product to sell and to ensure that their music could reach as many people as possible. Roelof said they would love to play music as a full-time job.

“[Music] is our first love, and to be able to make your love [and] your passion your work, would be amazing,” said Roelof.

Find Van Der Aven on social media via Linktree (, their official Instagram page @vanderavenband, and on Facebook at Van Der Aven.

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