Off-screen Generations drama gets industry hot under the collar

On Monday, MMSV Productions, the producer of South Africa’s most popular soap opera, terminated the contracts of 16 of the show’s cast members, leading to a larger industry dialogue about the rights of South African artists.

The ANC Youth League jumped on the bandwagon to express their disappointment, along with the rest of the country, at the SABC and MMSV Productions’s decision to axe the actors and held a meeting with the actors on Tuesday.

“The ANC Youth League informs media and the public in general that it will be meeting with the cast of the popular South African soapie, Generations. As the ANC Youth League, we seek to get their side of the story on what happened to the supposedly well-resolved crisis and how we can be of assistance to these performing artists, who are dearly loved by our members.”

There was even a selfie after the meeting.

South African artists voiced their opinions on Twitter concerning the termination of Generations actors’ contracts.

Minister of Sport and Recreation Fikile Mbalula tweeted about how unsettling he found the dismissal of the actors.

On Monday afternoon, MMSV Productions released a statement to say that the contracts of the striking actors had been terminated. “MMSV Productions, following consultation with the South African Broadcasting Corporation [SABC], have today [Monday] terminated the contracts of the striking actors on the SABC1 soap drama, Generations. The termination follows calls by both parties for the actors to return for recordings, following the start of their illegal strike.” 

The actors are demanding bigger salaries and extended three-year contracts. They also want royalties from episodes that have been rebroadcast, as well as syndication fees resulting from the sale of Generations outside of South Africa.

Media representative for the actors Marang Setshwaelo told the Mail & Guardian that the actors are exploring their legal options.

Mfundi Vunda, executive producer of SABC1’s prime-time soap opera, which attracts more than seven million viewers a night, says that fans of the show should not worry about the latest developments. “My creative team and I are working on ways to take the show forward.”

Vundla added that Generations will remain on television regardless of the outcome.

The actors who went on strike will remain onscreen until October: 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).

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