One of Mzansi Magic’s most popular telenovelas, Isibaya - which is set on the backdrop of the taxi industry and follows the lives of feuding families, the Ndlovus and the Zungus - is reportedly coming to an end.
According to Daily Sun, the show - which is currently in its 8th season - will not be renewed for a 9th season due to its low viewership. Speaking to the publication, sources revealed that the show’s actors had been notified about the ending of the telenovela and that the news did not come as a shock since the show had been battling to keep its viewers for a long time.
“The cast and crew has been told the show is in its last season. There have been numerous discussions about canning the soapie, but now a decision has been made,” a source told Daily Sun.
“Unfortunately, the channel has decided not to renew the show for another season because it doesn’t see a return on investment and doesn’t see sense in continuing with a property that doesn’t make financial sense,” another source concurred.
In a statement sent to TRUELOVE, Mzansi Magic did not refute nor confirm the reports but said that the channel is currently in the process of reviewing its local content and would be making an announcement soon.
“Every year before we recommission the great shows that are broadcast on Mzansi Magic, we conduct a review of all shows using a variety of metrics as is standard practice in the industry, to ensure the decision to renew contacts is well informed," Nomsa Philiso, director of local entertainment channels at M-Net, said in a statement.
"The review is not exclusive to Isibaya and an announcement will be made in due course."
According to the Broadcast Research Council of South Africa, Isibaya has not been appearing in the top 5 most watched shows on DSTV for a long time. It was also kicked off its previous number one spot by Gomora, which has pulled in 1 145 095 million viewers, closely followed by The Queen which is sitting on a viewership of 1 108 051.
Some of the leading cast members who had been on the show since its inception - including Nomzamo Mbatha who played Thandeka Zungu, Siyabonga Thwala who played Mpiyakhe Zungu and Sdumo Mtshali who played Sibusiso Ndlovu - are not on the show.
If this is true, then it will be a sad day for South African television. But, Isibaya made an incredible contribution to South African storytelling. It's a show that stayed true to our culture, we were able to see ourselves represented in a way that a lot of shows don't do, and we were thoroughly entertained in the process.
The legacy that this show will leave behind will be much greater than the despair of it coming to an end - and that's what matters.