Semoko’s exit also means that the Matabane family is no more. With new, exciting families being introduced into the soap recently it seems there simply wasn’t enough room on the soap for the Matabanes. And maybe some of the actors on the show just became too comfortable in their roles…
Nevertheless, it’s hard to imagine Isidingo without this humble family.
Bra Zeb, played by Don Mlangeni Nawa, was a staunch traditionalist who had a lot of respect for his strong wife, Agnes. Their daughter, Letti played by the late Lesego Motsepe, had big dreams for her life but never allowed them to take her too far from her family. And who could forget Parsons (Tshepo Maseko) and his turbulent relationships – the most memorable being his romance with HIV positive Nandipha Sithole (Hlubi Mboya).
Maseko was the first to leave the soap after Motsepe’s character was killed off in a car accident.
“When they [the Isidingo producers] decided to make me a call actor, I knew it was the end for me,” says Maseko.
“So I thought it was time for me to focus my energies elsewhere.”
Maseko went on to join the religious music programme Gospel Classics as a presenter and is currently a leading actor on Mzansi Magic’s Saints And Sinners. But he admits that shaking off his most prominent character has been a challenge.
“I’m working very hard to establish myself as an actor beyond Parsons. He was a great character and I understand that some people might always see me as him, but it’s time to let him go now.”
Asked if he would ever return to the soap if asked to do so Maseko says, bluntly: “Only if they offered me more money.”
Mlangeni Nawa’s exit from the soap is perhaps the most controversial. Nawa’s relationship with the Isidingo producers went sour after the actor reportedly refused to endorse a major bank via a line that was included in his script. A few months later, rumours emerged about him being difficult on set.
In May, the show’s production company Endemol’s managing director Sivan Pillay released as statement saying that Mlangeni Nawa was in a disciplinary hearing.
“The hearing is as a result of the actor’s disregard for the conduct codes and lack of discipline while contracted to the Endemol-produced daily drama. Mlangeni Nawa’s lack of discipline and general disrespect for the show, the company and its many great actors and SABC saw Endemol take action against the actor after his repeated transgressions on and off set.
“No one actor or crew member is bigger or has the right to compromise any part of what makes Isidingo the great show it is today,” said the statement.