Katlego Danke plays Thathi in "Gomora". Picture: Supplied
Katlego Danke plays Thathi in "Gomora". Picture: Supplied

Telenovelas resume production under strict regulations

By Alyssia Birjalal Time of article published May 8, 2020

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As some of South Africa's most loved telenovelas have started production of new episodes and they're doing so with strict safety measures in place. 

Hit Mzansi Magic telenovelas such as "The River", "Isibaya", "The Queen" and "Gomora" have officially confirmed their return to set, but are adhering to the level 4 national lockdown regulations that have been put in place for their safety during filming.  

Here’s how the stars of these shows have responded to the new ways of working on set:

Award-winning "Gomora" actor Zolisa Xaluva, who plays Melusi – a hardworking, dedicated teacher said the show's return will have fans at the edge of their seats.

"I feel extremely privileged to be working at a time when most people find themselves deeply despondent because they are still unable to. My heart goes out to every family that is struggling under the circumstances. 

"I look forward to going back to work to help provide entertainment that will hopefully help raise the spirits of those who are at home, and hopefully heighten their consciousness. I feel like we are capably led and appreciated. Gomora’s return to the small screen will have viewers on the edge of their seats to see what comes next following a revelation about Melusi’s love child,"he said. 

"The Queen" executive producers, Connie and Shona Ferguson, said that the health of the cast and crew at Ferguson Films remains their main priority. 

“It feels really good to be back on set. It’s been a tough time worldwide with the pandemic and we are grateful to still have an opportunity to do what we love. Our priority is the team’s health and safety on set. We would not be able to make swift decisions without the support of the broadcaster. We are working really hard to give "The Queen’s" audience a great season finale,” said Connie Ferguson.

Asavela Mngqithi, who plays Ntwenhle Ndlovu on the award-winning telenovela "Isibaya" said he finds it weird to work with a mask - but is happy to be back on set.

"They have very strict rules on set and it’s weird working with masks and social distancing, but it feels good to be back at work. We all have to learn to work safely and to protect each other, during this time. I am grateful to MultiChoice that we are able to work, and for their continued support during lockdown,” she said.

Nkateko Mabaso, M-Net CEO said although they had set aside the R80 million fund to pay actors for March and April due to the national lockdown, he was thrilled that they are able to return to work. 

“While the R80 million fund MultiChoice Group established has ensured that the cast and crew continued to receive their salaries throughout the start of the lockdown period in March and April, we are thrilled that they have been able to return to work this week. At this stage, the safety of crew and cast remains a priority and we are in constant communication with production houses, as per the government’s directive, to ensure that stringent health guidelines are in place and are being adhered to," said Mabaso. 

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