20 & still count­ing

Mu­vhango cel­e­brates two decades of highs, lows and drama.

TV Plus (South Africa) - - MUVHANGO -

Ac­tion, love, drama and witch­craft… Mu­vhango (1997- cur­rent) has never been short of en­ter­tain­ing sto­ry­lines. It was orig­i­nally a 13- episode drama se­ries but its pop­u­lar­ity saw Mu­vhango turned into a three­nights-a-week show and then of­fi­cially a week­day soapie in March 2014. Cre­ative di­rec­tor Tessa Made adds that “no one ex­pected it to be this big. When it did, ev­ery­thing fell into place to cre­ate this in­cred­i­ble fam­ily soap”.

“What’s the show’s se­cret to bring­ing back over 6 mil­lion view­ers night af­ter night? “The sto­ry­lines re­flect real lives and real is­sues,” ex­plains Tessa. “Peo­ple of­ten ques­tion why there is no kiss­ing or al­co­hol on the show. The rea­son is that Mu­vhango has and will al­ways be a fam­ily show where granny, the 5-year-old nephew and aunt can watch to­gether. It’s an African show with African sto­ries about African cul­ture and we try to re­main true to that.”

For its two-decade mile­stone, Mu­vhango will be adding a lit­tle fire to the soapie and Tessa hints that “there are a few sur­prises in store, as well as a new tagline”. Don’t ex­pect any changes to the sto­ry­lines though, es­pe­cially when they know what works, like busi­ness- man KK (Macdon­ald Ndou) re­turn­ing from the dead in 2009, Than­daza and Ran­thu (Sindi Dlathu and Brian Temba) get­ting mar­ried along with the shocking death of Al­bert (Ndi­vhuho Mut­sila) in 2014. But some­times sto­ry­lines flop and the soap learns, says Tessa. “There have been some sto­ry­lines that made us lose view­ers, like the Mashudu zom­bie plot in Thathe in 2015 and Than­daza’s dis­ap­pear­ance in 2016. We didn’t set out to achieve what we wanted in those episodes, sadly.”

What Mu­vhango did achieve though are fas­ci­nat­ing char­ac­ters such as lead char­ac­ter Than­daza, who started out with cameo ap­pear­ances in 1997. Says Sindi of her char­ac­ter, “It all be­gan for Than­daza when she was no­body but then in 2004 the char­ac­ter be­came prom­i­nent in sto­ry­lines and moved to a sup­port­ing role. A few years later, Than­daza’s love life be­came a favourite topic at the din­ner ta­ble.” She adds that “play­ing Than­daza has given me the op­por­tu­nity to work with some won­der­fully tal­ented peo­ple. I’ve watched the drama se­ries grow to be a soapie and I’ve seen ac­tors grow on the show. Some­times you get at­tached to the ac­tors you meet and it’s hard to see them leave, but you will al­ways see them af­ter work. As for Than­daza, who knows where she is go­ing next? Her fate lies in the hands of the writ­ers…”

While the zom­bie story (in­set) was a miss with fans, Ran­thu and Than­daza (main) are a hit.

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