NOTE: This article first appeared in The Citizen newspaper on September 18, 2014.
The creator and producer of hit soap Generations, Mfundi Vundla, is standing his ground and is rewriting the entire show after he fired 16 principal actors who were on strike.
Following their dismissals by Vundla’s company, MMSV Productions, almost a month ago, he reportedly left the country to rethink the direction of the show now that his entire cast was gone.
Earlier, he said he took the strike very personally and felt “betrayed” by their accusations of exploitation.
Yesterday, when The Citizen contacted Vundla, who is back in the country, he said he was in a brainstorming session.
“I am busy rewriting the whole of Generations, I can’t talk to the media at the moment,” he said.
Viewers and fans of the soapie have been tuning in to watch prerecorded episodes for almost six weeks.
No filming has taken place since August 11, when the actors started “withholding their services” – meaning there may only be seven prerecorded episodes ready to air from today.
This is probably the reason Vundla is in a frenzied rush to pen the new direction of the show.
SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago could not confirm how many episodes were left, but said: “They haven’t been shooting, so at some point the episodes will be finished.”
He added that the SABC did have a backup plan for when that time came and this would be announced in due course.
In the event that the 16 actors were not reinstated, the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) would march and picket in solidarity, the federation said. Patrick Craven, Cosatu national spokesperson, said they had requested a boycott of the show from Monday and would continue to put pressure on the SABC, producers, government and the public.
There has been no word on when auditions will be held to replace the fired actors or allocate new roles for the “new” Generations. Cosatu general secretary
Zwelinzima Vavi threatened that any actors who auditioned would be publicly named and shamed.