South Africans and fans of TshiVenda soapie Muvhango took to social media to react to news that the show might be coming to an end soon.
Actors of popular SABC2 drama series Muvhango allegedly staged a walkout from a production meeting in April due to a salary dispute with the producers of the show.
It has become a never-ending financial roller-coaster behind the scenes of the iconic Tshivenda drama series.
This time the actors are allegedly up in arms after they were told that they will not receive their salaries later in the year.
A source close to production told Sunday World that the producers were left gobsmacked after gatvol actors and crew walked out of a meeting in April.
The meeting, which was held at the show’s SABC studios, intended to inform the actors and crew that they will have to tighten their belts because they will not be paid in October, as the soapie negotiates the renewal of a contract with the public broadcaster.
The source said: “They have actors who are on permanent contracts with the soapie and get paid monthly salaries. These are actors like Muamela [Susan], Gabriel [Azwindini] and Dingaan [James].
“They get paid every month, even when we are on production break, so they have things they pay for like cars, houses, and school fees. So, when they were told that they won’t get salaries for October, they were not having it.”
The mole added that the actors felt blind-sided because they were told previously that their contracts will only end in October, and that they will get paid for that month.
“Now the new contracts that they [producers] want actors to sign state that their contracts will end in September instead, and that they will not be paid for October, which was not the case previously. So, they are refusing to sign the new adjusted agreements,” said the mole.
Another actor, who asked not to be identified, said they want executive producer and production house Word of Mouth Pictures founder Duma Ka Ndlovu to commit that he will pay them for October and then recover the funds from the SABC, as other production houses will be doing.
“We are the only ones affected by this, others at Skeem Saam and Generations: The Legacy never have issues when it comes to contract renewals.
“They [Muvhango producers] don’t want to take any responsibility for payments in case the negotiations with SABC do not cover actors’ pay for the month,” said the actor.
Muvhango, which has been on television screens for more than 27 years, was involved in another salary payment drama in January.
Its spokesperson Thanduxolo Jindela was sent an e-mail and had not responded at the time of publishing.
SABC publicist Vuyo Mthembu said the public broadcaster cannot comment on contract-related matters.
“The SABC is not at liberty to engage on contractual matters with producers via the media,” said Mthembu.
“It must be noted that contracts between the production house and cast and crew is not the responsibility of the SABC.”
WILL ‘MUVHANGO’ COME TO AN END SOON?
Entertainment commentator Phil Mphela took to Twitter on Sunday, 08 October to ask if the long-running SABC2 soapie Muvhango is coming to an end?
“Is the sun setting on Muvhango? SABC Head of Video Entertainment marketing assured media, last month at an event media launch, that there are no plans to cancel the show.
However, practically, with Duma Ka Ndlovu’s production company producing 3 telenovelas for Multichoice and now adding another one to replace Gomora, can they keep Muvhango going?
Rhythm World Productions produces telenovelas; Umkhokha, Sbongile & The Daminis as well as Komkhulu. Is Muvhango ending?” tweeted Mphela.
Rumours of the soapie ending also spread like wildfire in October 2020 when Sunday World claimed that the longtime soapie was going to be canned and given one more season if the show’s ratings did not improve.
SABC acting spokesperson Mmoni Seapolelo rubbished reports and said in a statement: “The SABC disputes the allegation that Muvhango has been canned. All SABC programmes are subjected to evaluation based on a number of factors, including audience ratings, associated costs and relevance to the market.”
“To this effect, the SABC is pleased to have signed a new contract for Muvhango for another season. Our viewers can look forward to watching their favourite programme on SABC 2.”