Generations actors’ R16 000-a-week ‘peanuts’ can secure their future

2014-08-20 17:57

A comment by a caller to a radio station on the ongoing Generations saga got me thinking.

The caller said the actors were paid “peanuts” and this was why most people in this industry were buried as paupers when they died.

An article in a Sunday newspaper reported that the 16 main actors in the popular soapie were demanding a salary increase from R16 000 to R30 000 a week.

In response, SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said meeting these demands would mean each of them would earn R120 000 a month, which translates to a whopping R1.4 million a year a person, taking the wage bill to R22.4 million a year for the cast.

I am not going to enter the debate on the merits and demerits of the actors’ demands, or the SABC and MMSV Productions’ resistance thereof.

I have two points to make.

First, I disagree that R16 000 a week is peanuts. I also think it is unfair to make a blanket statement that South African actors die poor because they are short-changed by the industry. Yes, there are some who get a raw deal, but not all.

There are actors who get good roles and are paid well for them. The same applies to football players.

Second, when you start a “normal” job – like an 8-5 office job – you are usually advised that to retire comfortably, you need to invest (please note: not save) at least 20% of your salary.

For someone who starts working around the age of 25 and retires at 65, this would mean 40 years of investing and not touching that nest egg.

But a job in the entertainment industry has a very short life span that usually lasts about 10 years. Some people in this industry are lucky and work for up to 20 years or more.

So, common sense – which by the way is not such a common commodity – would suggest that if somebody with an ordinary job needs to invest 20% of their salary for up to 40 years in order to retire comfortably, someone in the extraordinary entertainment industry would have to put aside four times that.

But what usually happens – as a result of the instant gratification syndrome – is that people go out and splurge as much as they earn without thinking about the proverbial rainy days.

In football, we have examples of players who bought two similar, expensive cars and would have them parked alongside each other at training, on match day or during events just to show off. I am talking about one player buying two cars of a similar make and colour.

One even boasted of having seven cars. Others have several expensive mobile phones.

We also know of a player who came back from plying his trade overseas with $6 million in his bank account but died a pauper.

The point I am making is that the industry is not entirely to blame for practitioners dying poor but there are four other fingers pointing at the individuals themselves.

Not all of them get peanuts. The onus is on those who get paid well to save for the rainy days so that they retire and die as dignified individuals who can be celebrated.

Generations Actors Guild Thanks South Africa for Outpouring of Support

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.