In a first for SA TV, ‘Isibaya’ is now a soapie

2014-03-10 00:00

MZANSI Magic’s telenovela Isibaya has proved such a massive hit that the channel has decided not to let the story of the Zungus and the Ndlovus draw to a close. In a first for South African television, Mzansi Magic has commissioned the series into a soapie.

From March 17, Isibaya will broadcast five days a week at 8.30 pm on DStv channel 161. The run of 208 telenovela episodes will end on March 13, nearly a year after the television show entered the lives of South Africans.

“The response to Isibaya has been fantastic,” says Yolisa Phahle, channel director of M-Net’s general entertainment channels.

“Viewership exceeded the expectations we had when we launched in March 2013, with the show now consistently surprising viewers with fresh and interesting storylines.

“You also only have to go onto social networks during the broadcast of each episode to see how closely viewers are following the story arcs and characters. We are thrilled to now be able to offer our viewers a dose of Isibaya every weekday as the show enters a new era.”

For I sibaya’s devotees, the lives of the Zungu and the Ndlovu families has provided a narrative arc filled with everything unmissable television should have — villains, rivalry, power, money, and impossible love.

But the show has also become a hit with viewers because of its unmistakable South African storyline.

From the taxi industry strife that has driven much of the action to the tension between the city and rural family members and the bewitchment that has surfaced in recent months, it is truly South African.

Set against the backdrop of the taxi industry, and in the Thukela Valley in KwaZulu-Natal, the show tells the story of a centuries-old feud between two powerful families, which has already seen the central character, Mpiyakhe Zungu (Siyabonga Twala) — a high-profile taxi boss, savvy political player and leader — die in a fatal accident, only to return as a zombie.

MUVHANGO

More news from South African soapie land is that SABC2 soapie Muvhango will start airing five days a week, from Friday, March 14. The timeslot remains 9 pm.

The show revolves around two opposing families, the Mojalefas, who are the newcomers and bought into the Vhakwevho family business, and the Mukwevhos, who at first welcomed the new family into their midst but now see evil intent and scheming in everything they do.

The battle for power between the two families culminates in outright war over a family incident that pits them against each other, both in this generation and the next.

“The viewers have always been asking for this and the channel listened,” says SABC2 publicist Lebo Malete. “This is a journey that started back in 1997 with a 13-episode broadcast. In our 10th anniversary, we started broadcasting for four days, and we believe that this is a milestone.

“Muvhango will continue flighting authentic, real stories that will continue to create conversations amongst the viewers. The five days broadcast comes with some exciting new developments, interesting faces and the storyline will continue to captivate.”

DAVID BOWIE

The documentary David Bowie: Five Years in the Making of an Icon, can be seen on BBC Knowledge (DStv channel 184) at 9 pm on Wednesday, March 12.

Widely recognised as one of the most daring and innovative performers of the 20th century, Bowie has enjoyed both critical and commercial success since his early days in the 1960s. He has been influencing popular culture ever since.

With unprecedented access to his personal archive, including previously unseen footage, this film offers a unique opportunity to explore Bowie’s work and creative vision and shows that he is not just portrayed as the rock star chameleon, but also as an artist drawing on rich and diverse cultural influences.

HAIRY BIKERS

Si King and Dave Myers, aka the Hairy Bikers, return to BBC Lifestyle ( DStv channel 174) in Hairy Bikers Every Day Gourmets at 10.30 am on Tuesdays, starting on March 11.

In this series, the Hairy Bikers reveal how to make gourmet meals at home that don’t cost a fortune.

The pair also reveal frugal lessons from history, money-saving tips from the restaurant trade and a wealth of affordable dishes from multicultural Britain, and at the end of each episode they cook up a feast fit for royalty for deserving individuals.

COSMOS

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, a new 13-part series from executive producer/writer/director Ann Druyan and executive producer Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy, Ted), is set to be screened on National Geographic Channel (DStv channel 181) from 9 pm on Sunday, March 16 (CAT).

More than three decades after the debut of Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, Carl Sagan’s stunning and iconic exploration of the universe as revealed by science, MacFarlane teamed with Sagan’s original creative collaborators — writer/executive producer/director Druyan and co-writer, astronomer Steven Soter — to conceive this new series that will serve as a successor to the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning original series.

As with the legendary original series, the new Cosmos is the saga of how we discovered the laws of nature and found our co-ordinates in space and time.

The series brings to life never-before-told stories of the heroic quest for knowledge, transporting viewers to new worlds and across the universe for a vision of the cosmos on the grandest — and the smallest — scale.

• arts@witness.co.za

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