Isibaya's Siyabonga Twala won the outstanding actor at the annual glamorous Royalty Soapie Awards held at the Internatioanal Convention Centre in Durban late Saturday night.PHOTO:RAJESH JANTILAL

After courting much controversy since they were announced, the Royalty Soapie Awards turned out to be a relatively polished affair held at Durban’s International Convention Centre on Saturday night. Isibaya, Mzansi Magic’s fledgling telenovela, soon to be a soap, cleaned up with 10 wins. Debashine Thangevelo caught up with founder Winnie Modise (Khetiwe in SABC1’s Generations) and project director Sindile Xulu after the event to gauge their thoughts…


WINNIE Modise had a lot riding on Saturday’s Royalty Soapie Awards ceremony being a success. And, for an inaugural affair, it certainly was.

Looking ravishing in a gorgeous Biji Couture cream gown with gold sparkly detail, the svelte actress said: “It was a dress that completed the (royal) theme of the evening.”

Amid the shrieks of excitement by throngs of fans in the crowd, the event was co-hosted by the dashing Hlomla Dandala and Michael Mol. And their witty banter had the audience in stitches.

Despite’s Scandal and Rhythm City withdrawing from the event, it did what it set out to do – pay homage to the soap industry.

The only upset on the night was Binneland bagging the viewers’ vote for Most Popular Soapie of the Year. Judging by the comments of those around me, it was clear the win didn’t sit well with many.

As for whether the Royalty Soapie Awards stayed true to her vision, Modise said: “The ceremony was exactly as I’d hoped it to be. The soapie industry was out in full force, so too were the viewers who tune in every night. It was a celebration of what is best in the industry and people were honoured for the great work they do. Despite all the hurdles, we have made a good start.”

During her speech on stage, she intimated that this isn’t the last we will be seeing of the Royalty Soapie Awards as they will be “knocking on doors again”.

She elaborates: “Yes, these awards are an annual event. We thank all our partners: the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government, the Department of Arts and Culture, the eThekwini Municipality and Ukhozi FM for having faith and sharing our vision. We want to strengthen our relationship with them. We want to grow the project to impact on many other aspects; social investment, tourism development, arts development, and so on.

“We cannot do this on our own so we will approach many other potential partners. Many have already indicated a willingness to work with us.”

Looking ahead, Modise says they want to develop these awards to the point where they be broadcast live.

A woman behind the scenes who also deserves praise for the triumph of the Royalty Soapie Awards is project director Sindile Xulu.

On the logistical challenges of putting the event together, Xulu says: “The scale and sophistication of the event meant the logistical demands were great. We had an amazing team of professionals and that helped tremendously to pull this off. We had to all be on top of our game regarding the television production, the event production: from red carpet to seating to safety and security to dining and so on.

“The ICC Durban is also a great venue that makes the task manageable. Also, moving a large number of people from Joburg – and the hospitality it entails – was a mammoth task in itself.

“Thankfully, we managed to do it all. Credit must go to the team. We also had great partners.”

With everything in place, the red carpet affair ran like clockwork.

“We had a team of about 200 people. They included performers, presenters, project managers, sound, stage and lighting technicians and engineers, publicists, hosts and hostesses, security, caterers, barmen, waiters, chefs, make-up artists, stylists, DJs, cleaners, drivers, television producers, cameramen and women and many more. The economic impact is significant and the event creates jobs.”

And that’s also thanks to the rehearsals. She confirmed: “We started rehearsals late on Friday with Hlomla and continued with everything else thereafter – lighting, performances, presenters, etc.”

Viewers hoping to catch a glimpse of the Royalty Soapie Awards on Sunday night were disappointed. SABC1 have the rights to air it, however the date and time have yet to be confirmed.