Did Isibaya go too far?

2013-11-17 14:01

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Mpiyakhe’s zombie has divided the viewers of Isibaya. Lebogang Mdlankomo and Lesley Mofokeng debate whether the Mzansi Magic telenovela has gone too far

No: Even before it debuted on TV – from the promos and the short clips – Isibaya grabbed my attention.

It wasn’t so much the story line that had me, but the new faces in the cast.

Then when I found out it would be about taxi violence, rivalry and deceit, I was hooked.

The story started out on a good note and kept me on the edge of my seat every evening, with some days fulfilling what a telenovela is supposed to be – melodramatic serialised fiction – and some days not so much.

Now, we are at the point where the “fiction” is really setting in and I love it. It might seem far-fetched for some viewers, but after Mpiyakhe Zungu (Siyabonga Thwala) was abducted by Samson Ndlovu (Bheki Mkhwane), it seemed like the end of a good show.

But the twist of wanting to turn the beloved protagonist into a zombie never crossed my mind at all.

Iris Zungu (Mampho Brescia) and the likes can stick around having cappuccino and wine, but the action is in Bhubesini village and I cannot wait to see how Thandeka (Nomzamo Mbatha) will rise to the occasion and fulfil the quest to save her father, who is under Samson's “spell”.

It might seem unrealistic, but like some of the stories in Daily Sun, this is someone else’s reality.

Yes: So, Mpiyakhe is a zombie – covered in ash, shackled like a dog and leaping about like a prehuman. It is a disturbing sight.

The once mighty polygamist and taxi boss who died in a car crash has lost all his power and kneels before another man, his archenemy, Bheki.

Just when I thought zombies and the undead belonged to Michael Jackson’s Thriller video, my favourite telenovela had to go there.

Isibaya became essential 8.30pm TV viewing on its ticket of taxi-violence drama, deceit and suspense.

I loved the antics of Iris and her stepson-turned-love, Jabu (Pallance Dladla), and how Iris, the city wife, looks down on Siphokazi (Celeste Ntuli) and Phumelele (Ayanda Borotho), the village women and her late husband’s other wives.

The power that oozes from Mkabayi (Thembi Nyandeni) has also left me spellbound as she takes on patriarchs and usually wins.

The series is well acted, the pace is on point and the story lines are captivating.

This is what sells a TV show, but rehashing Daily Sun stories is not my idea of a classy telenovela.

Sure, the images of a man-turned-animal are sensational and an unexpected twist, but they are enough to make me switch the channel.

I am all for edgy TV, but if I want to see the undead, voodoo, witchcraft and magic, I know where to find it – on thescrap heap of 1980s SABC dramas.

» Talk to us: Has Isibaya gone too far with the zombie stroy line?

» Isibaya is on Mzansi Magic every weekday at 8.30pm

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