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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

For the past 15 years, we have had great stories and without sex, beer and smoking scenes

Duma Ndlovu
The show that started as one man’s dream to give a marginalised group of South Africans a voice on national television celebrated its 15th year of riveting storylines in Bryanston last week Thursday. Muvhango stars came out dressed to nines to have a night of partying.

The celebration was hosted by SABC 2 and a few of Isidingo stars also attended. As guests started arriving on the red carpet, there was an instant contagious vibey spirit. 

When Gabriel Temudzani (Chief Azwindini) and Maumela Mahuwa (Susan) arrived together, their on screen chemistry was evident and other guests could be forgiven for mistaking them for a real life couple. As the show’s stars arrived in leaps and bounds, the show’s superstar, Sindi Dlathu (Thanadaza) who arrived a bit late, was noticeably missing as everyone waited for her arrival. Sindi is one of the sow’s mega-stars, along with Candy Moloi (Makhadzi) who have been with the soapie from the very beginning.

Gabriel Temudzani (Chief Azwindini) and Maumela Mahuwa (Susan)

Sindi arrived in a mini black number adorned with gold details. As she made her way down the red carpet, all the attention focused on her as photographers shoved to get her perfect picture. It was only fitting since her character has been dubbed the Karabo Moroka (Generations) of Muvhango.

Another popular star on the show, Nthabiseng Mphahlele (Meiki) commanded presence as she and Sindi posed for pictures with fans of the show. The show ran a competition on Phalaphala FM where 7 lucky viewers won all expenses paid double tickets to the show’s celebration. The winners were transported all the way from Venda to Joburg to attend the show’s shindig. 

Pam Mgabadela who is the mother of the late Lindiwe Chibi who played the deceitful Doobsie on the show, was also in attendance. Pam was reduced to tears during the ceremony as the soapie paid tribute to the late Lindiwe as footage of her in character at the prime of Doobsie’s arch-rivalry with Thandaza was shown.

Executive producer of the show, Duma Ndlovu, had nothing but praise for his cast and crew especially writers Phathu Makwarela and Pamela Power who work with him in writing scripts for the show. “If I don’t thank them they will ask me at work why I took all the glory,” he joked. Ndlovu went on to say that it has always been his dream to give Venda people a voice and an opportunity to laugh at themselves. The show portrays vernacular and cultures of Venda, Zulu and Sesotho languages. “Our aim is to tell African stories that are entertaining and can be watched by the whole family. We tell stories that people can relate to,” he said. “For the past 15 years, we have had great stories and without sex, beer and smoking scenes. We want the whole family to watch the show without making anyone feel uncomfortable. Muvhango is about family and our values as Africans,” said Ndlovu.

Well done to the team of Muvhango!
Ndlovu also emphasised the need to be proud Africans. “You cannot be proud as an African if you look down on other Africans. We are a mirror of each other. This is the same reason we will not have stories that look down on black people because we aim to make them proud,” he said. 

His friend of many years, National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega, also showed face. She was given a chance to congratulate her friend on his major milestone. In her tribute, she shared the same sentiment as Ndlovu about the show. “In more ways than one, Duma Ndlovu, in your space, you made us realise it is beautiful to be who we are, thanks for that. Muvhango is making us proud as Africans, is making history and it will never be forgotten. We have our own Hollywood in Venda,” said Phiyega.

Muvhango is a show based on two branches of the same family who are at war with each other torn apart by the rural and urban beliefs, values and lifestyle. In their battle to sort out their differences emerge(s) betrayal and revenge. In true African style, no matter their differences are, the families always find a reason to sit down and sort out their issues. Sometimes, however, they involve the courts to get a verdict if they do not agree on anything.

The soapie first launched on SABC2 on 7 April 1997, as a 13-part series and went on to land another 13 episodes. SABC2 ordered another 26 episodes, then 52, then 104 and started airing three episodes a week and later started airing four times a week. 

However, the past 15 years have not been without drama behind the scenes. Rumors that the show was closing down did the rounds. There were instances where the actors got paid very late and half the money they should be paid. Contractual issues between the SABC and the production company, Word of Mouth, owned by Ndlovu, surfaced affecting the filming of the show. Some of the show’s actors allegedly got fired for making headlines in the tabloids. Actors such as Florence Masebe, Khanyi Mbau, Mutodi Neshehe were among such actors. Recently the soapie has allegedly showed Phila Mazibuko the door and Joane Reynecke who plays Pearl faced the same fate for making tabloid headlines. 

For the past 15 years, like life that imitates art on the show, the production house and the actors always found a way to sort out their issues and focus back on telling true African stories.

Article/Photos By Dimakatso Mokwena

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