Tilo ngwana Rashaka Mokgopo
Mr Vundla, I’m going to be specific and get straight to the point- I’m writing this letter precisely because I want to tell you that next time when you receive a sheet with audience ratings just know that my viewership won’t be included for the so called ‘Generations the Legacy’.
No, no! Don’t worry my dear. There is nothing wrong with my television set. It works perfectly fine. If you were planning on donating a television set to me, thanks for the philanthropic heart but that won’t be necessary. I’ve got everything under control.
I think I’m being vague thus giving you false impressions that I may have watched ‘Generations the Legacy’ in my own rights. Let me put it to you that I’m happy to announce that I have never watched Generations the Legacy in my free will! The last time I watched Generations it was on Tuesday 30 September 2014. At the end of the episode, I was very emotional, frustrated, and angry but I consoled myself ‘it shall be well.’
I couldn’t understand that who, in his right mind, would want to fire actors that, in the first place meant no harm, secondly, they were very patient and respected the production house and SABC by returning back to work in 2013, thirdly, they were simply fighting for their rights as actors.
But what I saw unfold in August 2014 was capital exploiting labour as if the latter had no feelings. Actors treated as objects. That was disgusting and worse enough, Mr Vundla you went ahead to defend your decision of firing the actors arguing that you owe allegiance only to the SABC (as your client) and the viewers (for the benefit of commodification in the interest of the advertisers) but unfortunately nothing was said about the actors who work 10 hours to bring life to Generations.
Your words still echo in my mind. Mr Vundla, the respected television producer telling actors they are nothing. They are not bigger than Generations. They found Generations a respected production. After them, Generations will still continue being the greatest soapie in South Africa.
“Generations was not made by the actors whose contracts were terminated this week and the series will certainly not die because they are no longer there. This notion that they are indispensable is bogus.”
Partially, you were right. However, I would like to beg to differ with you on one point. Those actors formed an integral part of Generations. Without them there was no show. The reason Generations went off air for two full months was because there were no actors. As a seasoned producer, you’d agree with me that no actors means no show. No show means no content. No content means no viewership. No viewership means no advertisement. No advertisement means no cash injection to pay Hlaudi’s R2 million- and all this because no actors are available to provide their services. Now you see the importance of having actors?
But Mr Vundla let me tell you something, the decision you took in August 2014 did not have my best interest at heart as a viewer. If that was the case, I would have stuck around and continued enjoying Generations the Legacy. However, your firing of the actors only served one purpose, to advance your ‘arrogance’ and ‘bulliness’ and it continue to backfire, doesn’t it? I just read that only last week Friday, Generations the Legacy was sitting at 3.998 million viewers. GOING DOWN once! GOING DOWN twice and still counting…
Before I forget, your esteemed colleague, just across the corridor at Henley Studios, Mr Duma Ka Ndlovu shared the good news with ‘his people.’ Do you want to know the good news? Maybe not. But the cheeky side of me wants me to share the good news with you, instead you haven’t heard.
Ka Ndlovu announced that the recent audience ratings reflect Muvhango as the number one soapie in South Africa. Konje who is usually of the top position? I’m not looking for an immediate answer. Only time will tell whether Muvhango will be able to sustain this milestone achievement because the truth is audience ratings are unpredictable and fluctuate from time to time. Even if they don’t, but the good news is; history will always have it that once upon a time, Muvhango toppled the mighty Generations as the Lead soapie in South Africa.
Just like I’m watching the ANC lose power, I’ll be on a lookout watching the Generations ratings drop down and I’ll document that moment very well. Already I can visualize the article with a catchy headline in my mind.
I watched Generations because I wanted to. I watched Generations because I valued the quality of the production. I watched Generations because you had amazing talent. It was quiet unfortunate when you spit on my face and showed me the way to e-tv.
Speaking of e-tv, I’d like to extend my sincere gratitude to the channel for coming to the rescue of South Africans. Monopoly is a problem. It should be challenged. Next time when people think their productions are the only ones with strong brand values and they can fire and rehire actors as they please, they wouldn’t take that decision lightly.
Wish you luck Nambitha Mpumlwana, Zenande Mfenyane, Maggie Benedict, Patrick Shai and Mandla Gaduka on the resurrection. That was inevitable. You are talented. You deserve better. I’ll be watching Ashes to Ashes on e-tv #BringItHome.
Out going original Generations fan.