CityPress - - News - NTOMBIZODWA MAKHOBA ntombizodwa.makhoba@city­press.co.za

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

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