Generations Going Off Air for Two Months Following Strike by Main Actors

By Oliver Ngwenya    21-Sep-2014 06:00 UTC+02:00 28
Generations going off the screens on 1 October. Image: Africa-Culture.

Generations will be taken off the screens for two months starting from the 1st of October. The show is expected to return in December without the sixteen axed members of the main cast. Image: Africa-Culture.

Generations the soap opera has been with us for as long as we can remember. It had got to a stage where we assumed that it was always going to be a permanent feature of our television sets. That is until a few short weeks ago. We woke up to the news that the much loved soapie actors had gone on strike and we thought that that was nothing new as strikes appeared to be the order of the day. We did not flinch when it was later announced that sixteen of the cast members of Generations had been fired.

The fired actors are; Anga Makubalo (MJ Dlomo), Atandwa Kani (Samora Lembede), Katlego Danke (Dineo Dlomo), Mandla Gaduka (Selwyn ‘Choppa’ Maithufi), Menzi Ngubane (Sbusiso Dlomo), Nambitha Mpumlwana (Mawande , Patrick Shai (Patrick Tlaole), Slindile Nodangala (Ruby Dikobe), Sophie Ndaba (Queen Ndaba), Seputla Sebogodi (Kenneth Mashaba), Thami Mngqolo (Senzo), Thato Molamu (Nicholas Nomvete ) , Winnie Ntshaba (Khetiwe Buthelezi), Zenande Mfenyana (Noluntu Memela), Zikhona Sodlaka (Priska Nomvete) and Zolisa Xaluva (Jason Malinga). We thought that this was a false alarm and that they would soon be given their jobs back so things would soon get back to normal once the madness went away. But, did the madness go away? It did not, it appears! What really happened and where did it all go wrong and what lessons are there for all of us in all this?

According to the actors in an open letter to the public, their reasons for embarking on the strike that led to their firing were many but there are three main ones. The first reason had to do with their remuneration which the actors referred to as bizzaire. They argued that follow actors on the same platform were paid much more than they were being paid. To add salt to injury, the actors say that they had originally gone on strike in October, 2013 on the same issue and had been informed that the situation would be redressed but to no avail despite the fact that MMSV Productions and SABC, the producers and broadcasters of the show had initially committed to remedying the situation. The second reason for the strike, the Generations Actors Guild (GAG) contends, is that of the payment of royalties and syndication fees. These fees, according to the actors, emanate from the airing of Generations in other countries.

The GAG argues that the popular show is viewed in many countries and the actors are yet to receive remuneration for that specifically. In acting circles, it is common for actors to be part of more than one cast in order to be able to make ends meet. In such situations, the actors are allowed time to work with other productions. According to the Generations actors, there is no such allowance in the Generations cast. This means that they cannot then have other contracts outside of Generations. As a result of this, they had requested a minimum of three year contracts in order to secure income in that time. This, they argue, is not unreasonable owing to the hectic and intense shooting schedule at Generations. While the national broadcaster has vaguely admitted to having been made aware of the actors’ grievances, they have not publicly committed to any remedial action. Mfundi Vundla, the head of MMSV and producer of the soapie, has opted to come out criticizing the actors for ‘disappointing’ him after all he had done for them!

Most of the Generations Cast that were Axed Image: Sowetoanlive .

Most of the Generations Cast that were Axed. Image: Sowetanlive .

Commenting on this scenario, other actors in South Africa had only hard words for the SABC and Mfundi Vundla’s MMSV. Most of the interviewed actors and producers alike were sympathetic to the cause of the sixteen axed actors. Daley Lance, a television presenter, commended the axed actors for their willingness to negotiate with their leaders and said that this should be viewed as a turning point in the way producers relate with their actors. In support of this view was Bobby Heany, a director and producer who cautioned the producers against allowing themselves to lose so many actors at the same time. He added that however they dealt with the situation, it would set a precedent on how such situations are to be dealt with in future.

Colin Moss, an actor slash comedian, did not mince his words when he stated that he did not feel that fair remuneration and job security were unreasonable requests. In agreement, James Bartlett, an actor, cautioned that while it was accepted that no actor was bigger that the brand, it was also true that a company of actors was the brand. In the recent days, there have been media reports indicating that the axed actors were intent on returning to the set of Generations. Mfundi Vundla, the creator of Generations has, however not been forthcoming in taking them back into his fold. He has reportedly approached a number of stars that have acted on Generations before. The likes of Connie Masilo-Ferguson (Karabo), Xolille Tshabalala (Julia) and Rapulana Seiphemo (Tau) have been mentioned in the list of actors that have been approached to make a return to the cast of Generations. Connie has however, declined having been approached, adding that if asked, she would do so but only on her terms.

The question of where to go from here needs to address what happens to the remaining actors that opted out of the strike. These are mostly the minor role actors and the latest additions to the cast. These are Sindi Buthelezi (Zinhle Mathe), Khosi Ndlovu (MaSongo), Sibongile Nojila (Sylvia Mthembu), Xoli Zondi (Zodwa), Ntlantla Liwana (Susan), Siyamthanda Moyo (Christina Dlomo), Ronnie Nyakale (Cosmo Diale, Tiki Nxumalo (Sompisi Mbhele), Carlo Radebe (Sello Mvuyane), Noluvu Ntapo (Patricia), Carina Nel (Isabel van Heerden), Denise Zimba (Mary Gumede), Nyembezi Kunene (Jabulani Dlomo) and Makalo Mofokeng (Hlomhla Nomvete). These actors have had supporting roles and have not really come out as crowd favorites. This has led to the question of whether they can be able to fill the main actors’ roles or if the producers have to scan the length and breadth of South Africa to audition for replacements. The question that is awash in the media is whether that is ethical as the new actors would literally be sealing their own fate as far as fair labour practices are concerned. This was supported by the Secretary General of COSATU, Zwelinzima Vavi, who discouraged other actors from auditioning for these roles. Since Mfundi Vundla has made it clear that he will not take the axed actors back despite their show of willingness, it will be interesting to see how he sets about reviving his sinking flagship.

In the meantime, the SABC has announced that from the 1st of October, the popular Generations slot will be taken up by season three of Skeem Saam for two months. Making the announcement, SABC said that the soapie will be back on the screens in December. The national broadcaster made the announcement after it emerged that the sixteen axed actors had taken their case up with the Commission for Concilliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA). Further news to do with the drama have indicated that Jacob Zuma’s daughter, Gugu Zuma, was in the process of putting together a production to take over the Generations time-slot.


  1. Mastermind says:

    Many companies make billions of rands but their employers don’t earn a lot. What is so special about actors that makes them think they should be paid above-average salaries? Do they work longer hours than other people? They shouldn’t compare themselves with actors from other shows. They should apply for acting positions in those shows if they want to be paid more. If it’s true that they earn at least R32 000 a month, I think they are a bit greedy. They forget that they are employees, not co-owners of the company that produces Generations. Even R20 000 a month is a decent salary for most people. That said, I think Mfundi Vundla is being unreasonable and unforgiving. He forgets that these actors are people who support families and have bills to pay. He is dealing with this matter in a childish way. He is letting his personal feelings (anger) cloud his judgement. He forgets that some actors went on strike because they felt they didn’t have a choice. They may have wished to go back to work but felt that doing so would be betraying their fellow actors. If the actors say they are willing to return to work he should accept them and let things go back to normal. He should also ask himself/explain why actors from smaller soapies earn more than the actors of Generations, the biggest soapie in South Africa. If the issue is insufficient funding, he should say so and let the actors resume their duties. There is no need to destroy their careers like he is doing.

  2. vuyokazi simayile says:

    I think Mfundi must reconsider taking them back otherwise I think people must boycott Generations bcoz it wont be the same without those wonderful actors

  3. vuy says:

    I think Mfundi must get over himself and give those wonderful actors their jobs back

  4. pardon mtemeri says:

    gif mfundi wants generations to come back he should take the axed actor or he has to start a new soapie with different storyline and characters

  5. busisiwe says:

    i think mfundi is being unfair because he doesnt know what he doing give them back their job back please mfundi

  6. Sinazo Cetywayo says:

    I think mfundi mvundla must give them what they want because generation wont be the same without them o unless people wont watch his soap

  7. Sam ramoshaba says:

    I think mfundi must give them back,we can’t live without em..

  8. Slender Samma Catalog says:

    Ai mfundi if u want gen 2 get fans lyk before u better swallow ur pride n give da axed actors dey r jobs back,cos without dem generations is nothing

  9. Bengeza Unathi says:

    Oh…please take them back we dont want replacement…please

  10. victoria shabba says:

    I think mfundi mvundla should consider them back or this new generations will watch its self

  11. Khanyiso says:

    Makungenzekiloñto sobasabukelantoni

  12. Bosh says:

    Siyakucela mfundi hle izobanjn igeneration if u fire those actors?

  13. busisiwe says:

    hayini bo guys yibani fair ndiyayiqonda indaba yezikhalazo kwaye ezinye zazo ziyavakala kodwa xa uqiniseke nge three years ungakwazi ukusinika yr best ngalolonke ixesha, yi show biz le akukho nto isisiqinisekiso xa besithi abavunyelwa ukwenza enye into u nic le show ayenza kwi sabc 2 uyenze nini emva kokuba begxotshiwe? okanye uyenze kuba isekwa kwi sabc

  14. Malebo dolo says:

    Mfundi asb,realy now?what is generation without Dlomo,Mawande,kenneth and all the axed acters mara?

  15. Qhamani holiday says:

    Molwen bethun ndithi nam angikwazi hlal phandleni ko generation kuba umnand

  16. Andy says:

    You can’t fire those actors bicoz of strike plz give them their money

  17. buku thulisa says:

    mr mfundi plz dnt do tht.plz give sibusiso dlomo a chance bcz ngoyena ingathi umenza shushu generation sow plz for gv ngamla&mawande memela

  18. pinky says:

    This is a disaster.Mfundi do you really think dat we will watch generations without these actors then ure reallly mad.Swallow ur pride n do what’s right not jst for u bt for us generations fans as well.Or u may jst kiss generations fans goodbye

  19. Notununu Bavuyile says:

    mr Mfundi.iknw what you are going throug maybe you didnt think about this properly.It is advisable that You may seat down wth your actors& solve this..iknw you think that you have the ability to run gennarations with out them.Yes you can but what aboout us? Genarations wth out them is like aCar wth no driver….

    May God bless them& may he open your mind!!

  20. Notununu Bavuyile says:

    mr Mfundi.iknw what you are going throug maybe you didnt think about this properly.It is advisable that You may seat down wth your actors& solve this..iknw you think that you have the ability to run gennarations with out them.Yes you can but what aboout us? Genarations wth out them is like aCar wth no driver….May God bless them& may he open your mind!!

  21. Ludwe sipuka says:

    I think fundi he know uba wenzani so guiz i understand you love generations bt now uyabhora so makabuyise eza actors zindala ukureplacer ababantu bt ndine woory ka sibusiso no queen yaz

  22. Tshego Poss says:

    Mr mfundi please take them back for our sake(fans)

  23. tsomela joel says:

    mfundi we would not watch generations.i dnt understand why u fire the biggest actors bcoz they are our lives

  24. Audrey motsaathebe says:

    without them, generations will never be the same .mfundi take them back ple ase

  25. morongoa says:

    generation is hot bcs of them pls mfundi d’nt do smthing like that pls think about it

  26. bulie says:

    eish no 1 can replace ingamla

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