enerations, once rated the country’s top soapie, has confirmed that one of its popular former cast members, Vusi Kunene, is returning to the show.
But Kunene’s current employers, telenovela Isibaya, seem to be in the dark about his new plans.
Generations publicity manager Gaaratwe Mokhethi this week confirmed that Kunene, who previously played villain Jack Mabaso on the soapie, would be rejoining the show.
However, she said that Kunene’s character story line had not yet been finalised by the writing department.
“We are not at liberty to confirm his date of appearance on the show,” Mokhethi said.
She said that once the story line progressed a bit more, Generations would be in a position to confirm when viewers could expect to see Kunene return to the soapie.
Mokhethi would not reveal when Kunene had signed on with Generations.
“We would also like to give the actor [Kunene] an opportunity to respond to the media at his own convenience. Until such a time, it would be best to pause all Kunene-[related] questions,” she said.
City Press has reliably learnt that Kunene, who plays the role of Bhekifa Ngubane on Isibaya, has shocked his current employers by signing a contract with Generations while still contracted to the Mzansi Magic soapie.
Two well-placed sources said Kunene signed a contract with Generations The Legacy two weeks ago, without informing Isibaya’s producers of his intentions.
According to TV insiders, Mzansi Magic became aware of Kunene’s departure through media reports.
Generations creator Mfundi Vundla refused to comment when contacted about his reasons for wanting Kunene back on the show.
When approached for comment this week, Kunene said he was busy and would be in a position to comment later. Later, he did not answer his phone or respond to SMSes.
The head of public relations at Mzansi Magic, Nondumiso Mabece, said Kunene could be expected to explore multiple options in the thriving South African film and TV industry, like all popular and successful actors of his calibre.
“He currently remains very much a part of the primetime Isibaya, where he plays the role of Bhekifa Ngubane,” said Mabece.
South Africa’s prime-time wars are well under way, with Generations losing viewers – and its long-standing number one spot – to newcomer Uzalo.
This despite Vundla’s recent attempts to bring back old faces to the soapie, which was off air for months following a salary dispute with cast members.
In its heyday, Generations boasted 7.5 million daily viewers, but is now down to just over 6.1 million.
According to the SA TV Authority (TVSA), Uzalo boasts an average viewership of 6.6 million. This puts it in the number one position in the prime-time slot, with Generations now at number three.
The Sepedi drama Skeem Saam, which occupied the 8pm slot on SABC1 when Generations went off air because of the wage dispute, is now in the number two