Thukela Valley feud walks the awards

2014-03-10 00:00

MZANSI Magic’s very popular telenovela Isibaya was the big winner at the inaugural Royalty Soapie Awards (RSA) at the International Convention Centre in Durban on Saturday, winning 10 of the 18 categories.

The show’s prizes included Outstanding Soapie, Outstanding Lead Actor for Siya­bonga Twala, who plays Mpiyakhe Zungu, and Outstanding Lead Actress for Thembi Nyandeni (Mkabayi Zungu), whose joyous celebration captivated invited guests and the hundreds of fans who headed to the ICC Arena to see their favourite stars.

Twala thanked Msanzi Magic for giving creators Bombshell and the cast and crew the platform to tell the story of the Zungus and the Ndlovus.

“And to the producers, thank you for trusting me with this role. To the cast and crew thank you for all the hard work. The chemistry on set is amazing,” he added.

Isibaya also won for directing, art direction, make-up, casting director, lighting and editing.

The 208-episode telenovela, which had been due to come to an end on March 13, but has now been commissioned as a soapie, will broadcast on DStv channel 161 five days a week from March 17. It is set against the backdrop of the taxi industry and in the Thukela Valley in KwaZulu-Natal.

It revolves around a centuries-old feud between two powerful families and the Romeo and Juliet-style story of young lovers Sibusiso Ndlovu (S’Dumo Msthali) and Thandeka Zungu (Nomzamo Mbatha).

Accepting the Outstanding Soapie award, co-creator Angus Gibson said, “I have had the experience once before of getting a lot of attention from a show with Yizo Yizo, but it was not always warm attention … but with this show there has been an extraordinarily warm reception. The fans have maintained a conversation with us, so we want to thank the fans.”

SABC2’s 7de Laan won three awards: Hennie Jacobs was named Outstanding Supporting Actor for his role as Diederik, Annelize van der Ryst (Matrone Netta Nortje) won the prize for Outstanding Supporting Actress and an emotional Simoné Nortmann was named Outstanding Newcomer.

The young star, who plays Nadia in the soapie, was clearly shocked by the win.

“This was really not expected. Thank you 7de Laan — I think my audition tape was horrendous but you saw potential in me. This is so overwhelming. It’s only been a year and my life has changed so dramatically,” she added.

The Best Male Villain award went to Robert Whitehead for his role as Barker Haines on SABC3’s Isidingo, while Marisa Drummond was named Outstanding Female Villain for her performance as Alexa in Binneland.

Isidingo’s popular on-screen couple, Tema Sebopedi and Motlatsi Mafatshe, who play Lerato and Sechaba, were named the Outstanding Couple.

Veteran actress Shaleen Surtie-Richards, was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for her 30-year contribution to the industry and memorable roles on Egoli, Generations, 7de Laan and Villa Rosa.

Accepting the award, she said she didn’t know whether to laugh or cry as it could signal an end to her career, before adding, “Nee, nooit … This is just the beginning”.

Surtie-Richards also had a message for young actors and actresses in South Africa: “Our industry is very small and we have a lot of actors. I hope you are in this industry for the right reasons. I hope you have a passion for the craft [because] fame doesn’t pay the bills.”

Other awards went to The Wild for set design and wardrobe, while Binneland was named Most Popular Soapie. The latter is the only award voted for by the public. The RSAs, which were hosted by Dr Michael Mol (Top Billing, Expresso, The Dr Mol Show) and Hlomla Dandala (Jacob’s Cross, Isidingo, Jozi H) were not without controversy. pulled its soaps, Rhythm City and Scandal!, from consideration last year claiming they didn’t get enough information about the planned awards, and the ceremony itself was postponed from November 2013 to March this year.

For founder,Winnie Modise however, the night was the culmination of a dream.

She said, “We are a nation that lives for our daily dose of soap opera action. We invest in the lives of our favourite characters... their storylines dominate our conversations. But we have never given these players a platform to be celebrated and recognised ... until now, that is!”

• The Witness arts editor Estelle Sinkins was among the judges for the inaugural Royalty Soapie Awards.

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