As the off-screen drama surrounding Generations starts to supersede that of the soapie’s on-screen storylines, the Generations Actors Guild has during a press conference controversially stated that the issue around their ongoing strike-action is a racial one.
Reporting on the press conference via Twitter on Tuesday, Drum magazine quoted Nambitha Mpumlwana as saying: “We feel highly embarrassed that we have to lay our dirty linen in front of you, but since we are already doing it, let’s go on.”
Among the 16-strong group of actors who took to the podium to personally voice their grievances was Patrick Shai, who plays the role of “Patrick Thlaole” in the soap, and who Drum quoted as saying: “The SABC and [Generations production company] MMSV are using the same tactic of apartheid of diving people.”
“Twenty years later white owned productions still get the bulk of commissions on SABC,” he added. “Twenty years is too long. We won't wait another twenty to get what rightfully belongs to us.”
Zikhona Sodlaka, who plays “Priska Nomvete”, echoed this sentiment when she revealed that there are separate rooms for black day actors and white day actors at the Generations studios.
And referring to Generations producer Friedrich Stark, she also said: “A lot of people don't know the show belongs to the Starks. Mr Mfundi also works for the Starks.”
Zikhona, who also said that Katlego Danke got fired while she was away from work on maternity leave and that Atandwa Kani was sacked before he was shown on the screen, Zikhona didn’t finish because she broke down in tears.
This was followed by a brave admission from Menzi Ngubane "Sibusiso Dlomo" who said he couldn’t afford being treated in a private hospital when he was diagnosed with kidney failure and had to accept help from show creator Mfundi Vundla, only to receive a call sheet saying he was needed back at work on Monday after the Friday he was released from a seven week stint in hospital.
Seasoned actor John Kani then took to the podium, where he voiced his outraged over the situation, saying: “How the hell did we get here? We carry the residue of the apartheid era of a master and servant. We didn't struggle for this. Let's not allow these people to treat us as unskilled labourers.”