Tilo ngwana Rashaka Mokgopo
We never thought we’ll live to see the dawn of this day. We always knew it was inevitable but we just did not expect it to happen so sudden and most importantly not under this circumstance. But unfortunately Sophie Ndaba and Generations have reached a cul-de-sac.
It has been confirmed that Sophie Ndaba and Generations have parted ways. This after Sophie and colleagues embarked on a one week strike over contractual and royalty fees among others. The actors refused to report for work on Monday 18 August 2014 and the production house and SABC responded by terminating their contracts with immediate effect.
Sophie remains the only original cast for Generations. She has been with the soapie for almost 21 years. To some certain extent, Sophie, who is affectionately known for her onscreen name, Queen Moroka, is synonymous to Generations and vice versa.
All the actors she had worked with from the first season of Generations have all left the production over the years. In many interviews with the media, Sophie took pride of her work at Generations. She could not stop bragging about how the Generations production has groomed her to become the brand she is today.
Sophie has a lucrative fan base that has been there for her through thick and thin. They celebrated with her when she walked down the aisle and equally sympathized with her when her dirty laundry was splashed all over the tabloid newspapers and magazines for everyone to read and see how she looks without her artificial front teeth.
Sophie remains the ‘darling’ of her supporters. She remains one of the most influential television personalities in South Africa. Her down to earth and approachable personality has helped her interact with fans in many different occasions.
But unfortunately it is the end of the road. Come October there’ll be no Queen Moroka portrayed by Sophie Ndaba on SABC 1 at 20:00. Generations’ creator, Mfundi Vundla remains steadfast-all the actors (including Sophie) participating in the strike have been fired.
“These actors found Generations in existence, there were other actors before and there will be other actors in the future,” Mfundi said on 702 talk radio. Mfundi emphasized the fact that Generations will continue playing on SABC 1.
Is this the end of the road for fired actors?
The axed cast members have issued a statement emphasizing their position. They expressed disappointment in the manner in which the SABC and MMSV productions handled the issue. The actors vowed to consider their legal options.
Suppose MMSV productions does not take back the actors, what will happen to their career? I don’t think the actors will go to the gutter. Already Generations actors are highly respected in the industry. A lot of production houses, even those operating outside the SABC, will pay fortunes just to have your Sophie Ndaba, Katlego Danke, Nambitha Mpumlwana, for example, join their productions although it will take a lot of time and effort to remove their Generations characters in the minds of many television viewers.
In April this year, Muvhango posted on their facebook page as a prank call that Menzi Ngubane will be joining their ensemble cast. That, according me, proved just how producers would do anything just to attract Generations actors to join their programme considering the number of fans or followers they have in a bag.
Unconfirmed rumour has it that Julius Malema and partner in crime, Floyd Shivambu have been banned from the SABC’s live programmes. We can only pray that the SABC does not ban the 16 fired actors from ever acting in any of the productions that will play on the broadcasters’ three free to air channels or influence the producers in any way not to consider the actors for any role.
The biggest mistake from MMSV and SABC
Firing the 16 actors could be the biggest mistake that the SABC and MMSV have ever made. In the past many actors have left the Generations set but they did so individually and again in different times. The situation today is absolutely different. You fire all the principal cast at once and expect to maintain the same viewership? How do you convince prominent advertisers that all is well? Perhaps some advertisers cough up approximately R200 000 to advertisers during Generations only because of Menzi or Sophie’s face.
I would love to see Generations continue maintaining its over +7 million viewership daily. But I can’t hide my skepticism though.