Now that it is no more, the 7pm slot will never be the same. Thank you to the team for the past 21 years of beautiful TV. It was more than a soapie.
At 7pm on Tuesday 17 March, I switched on to SABC 3 to check on my extended family from Horizon Deep. I had completely forgotten that my favourite soapie was no more. Instead, I was greeted by Melanie Bala, the host of the special panel Q&A called Isidingo The Journey.
It then dawned on me that indeed the soapie that had been a daily need for me and many other South Africans had come to an end. I didn’t even proceed to watch this special insert. To date, the SABC’s decision to scrap Isidingo doesn’t resonate well with me.
However, after my emotions had calmed down, I went back to check the episodes on YouTube to catch up with the actors and actresses that made up these beautiful stories.
On hectic days where I couldn’t catch up with breaking news or the general news of the day, Isidingo would somehow manage to give a very informative summary of the prominent news of the day.
This news feature on the daily soapie included the ousting of the now late president Robert Mugabe, the Marikana massacre, 2010 World Cup daily updates, Zozibini being crowned Miss Universe and the Rugby World Cup victory, or any other major current affairs news.
I never stopped marvelling at this incorporation of daily affairs into their storyline. It made it so relatable, so refreshing and in tune with what was happening in the rest of the country.
I understand that the SABC is on a mission to save money and make money, and part of this goal is to get rid of shows that are not making money. I cannot fathom how this beautiful story was not making money. I cannot understand how the many other telenovelas that depict a lot of guns and murders make more money than a storyline that gives so much hope.
Perhaps I am in denial of the reality of our country, which is marred with corruption and almost everything negative and regressive. I fail dismally to comprehend the lack of advertising for such a strong, family oriented, racially inclusive and educational soapie.
Above this, the memory of a perfect (not without fault) love story of Lerato Moloi-Matabane played by Tema Sebopedi and Sechaba Moloi-Matabane, which was played by Motlatsi Mafatshe, will forever be etched in my memory. In a South Africa where men generally cheat and are not loyal to their wives, the role of Sechaba Moloi Matabane depicted a man of honour and integrity.
As a young man who came from nothing to becoming an incorruptible mayor and custodian of the Matabane land, he remained true to himself and his character. He was a great example that black men can be young, successful, upright, incorruptible and honourable.
I have so many memories and highlights of this soapie, but the Sechaba Moloi-Matabane character will always stand out for me.
The past week, SABC 3 gave us a four-part Isidingo The Journey broadcast, which was testament to how I felt about the cast and crew of Isidingo. They felt like family because they too were family to each other as colleagues.
In a country where our TV soapies are not educational, Isidingo kept us in check. Sadly, the SABC didn’t see that need any more. The 7pm slot on weekdays will never be the same again.
Thank you to the Isidingo team for the past 21 years of beautiful TV. It was more than a soapie.
Kabelo Chabalala is the founder and chairperson of the Young Men Movement (YMM), an organisation that focuses on the reconstruction of the socialisation of boys to create a new cohort of men. Email, firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter, @KabeloJay; Facebook, Kabelo Chabalala
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