Life imitates art on tense Isidingo set

2011-03-05 19:12

 Shock, anger and betrayal are emotions the cast of award­winning local soap opera Isidingo recognise well. But now life is imitating art for the actors of the SABC3 daily drama.

Actress Hlubi Mboya, who has played central character Nandipha for over a decade, has confirmed a “shake-up” on set that is contributing to the tense atmosphere at their Henley ­studios.

Mboya, along with Gugu ­Zuma (Lesedi), Leeandra ­Reddy (Priya), Meshack Mavuso (Vusi) and Don Mlangeni (Zeb) have had their contracts slashed to become call actors who will be paid per appearance instead of earning a salary.

The same thing happened to Tshepo Maseko last year. He played Nandipha’s husband for close to 10 years. Since then, the actor has all but disappeared from the soapie.

Maseko, who took home a best actor Safta last week, left in a blaze of controversy last year when he stormed into a press conference and accused Isidingo of not paying him. He is now a contestant on Survivor SA: Maldives.

A pragmatic Mboya put it this way: “I think any production where you’ve played a character for 10 years needs a shake-up. Some of the characters in the soapie will take a back seat.”

Isidingo will see a major overhaul of the storyline and new ­actors are rumoured to be coming on board.

“It was definitely a shock (to be cut out) and I do feel there’s a sense of betrayal and anger among the cast. But we do realise it’s a business at the end of the day. I know we are all great actors so we will get picked up by other productions.”
Reddy, however, is being put on call by Isidingo for other reasons. The actress – whose character Priya is embroiled in a love triangle with Frank (Kevin Smith) and Rajesh (Jack Devnarain) – is taking maternity leave. “I was put on call but once my maternity leave is over I will return to the series and resume the role full-time.”

» Several attempts to contact Isidingo’s executive producer and publicist failed.

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