But, in a first for South African television, Mzansi Magic has decided not to leave Isibaya fans in the lurch and has now commissioned the series into a full-on soapie!
From March 17th 2014, Isibaya will broadcast five days a week on Mzansi Magic, in the primetime slot of 20h30. The run of 208 telenovela episodes will end on March 13th, nearly a year after the television show entered the lives of South Africans all over the country.
“The response to Isibaya has been fantastic,” comments Yolisa Phahle, Channel Director of M-Net’s general entertainment channels.
“Viewership exceeded the expectations we had when we launched in March 2013, With the show now consistently surprising viewers with fresh and interesting storylines. You also only have to go onto social networks during the broadcast of each episode to see how closely viewers are following the story arcs and characters. We are thrilled to now be able to offer our viewers a dose of Isibaya every weekday as the show enters a new era.”
For Isibaya’s devotees, the lives of the Zungu and the Ndlovu families has provided a narrative arc filled with everything unmissable television should have – villains, rivalry, power, money, and impossible love.
But the show has also become a hit with viewers because of its unmistakable South African storyline. From the taxi industry strife that has driven much of the action to the tension between the city and rural family members and the bewitchment that has surfaced in recent months, the fact that Isibaya is telling an authentic, homegrown story is a powerful reason for viewers to keep tuning in.
Those new to Isibaya will quickly be captivated when the show moves into a daily soapie.
Set against the backdrop of the taxi industry, and in the Thukela Valley in Kwa-Zulu Natal, a century- old feud between two powerful families has already seen the central character, Mpiyakhe Zungu (Siyabonga Twala) – a high profile taxi boss, savvy political player and leader – die in a fatal accident, only to return as a zombie.
With producers, The Bomb Shelter, keeping the new worlds and new characters that are poised to enter the Isibaya world under wraps for now, news that Isibaya will become a regular part of viewer’s lives is possibly the feel-good television news of 2014.
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