Entertainment & Arts

South Africa soap Generations on hiatus after cast sacking

Generations' Sophie Ndaba on a Soweto billboard Image copyright AP
Image caption Generations cast member Sophie Ndaba looks out from a Soweto billboard

South African soap fans have been cut off from the country's most popular show following the August sacking of its cast for demanding better pay.

The last available episode of Generations was broadcast on Tuesday.

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) said it would be at least two months before a "revamped" version of the show returns - with a completely new group of 16 actors.

Generations is South Africa's longest-running soap, having launched in 1994.

Watched daily by some seven million viewers, it follows predominantly black middle-class characters working in Johannesburg's advertising industry.

No episodes

The cast first went on strike in August after a long-running dispute over pay and contracts.

They claimed they were underpaid and received no repeat fees for their work, which is also screened in other African countries.

The actors were asked to continue filming while negotiations were taking place, but were sacked after they did not return to work. The SABC has now run out of new editions to broadcast.

"We don't have enough episodes of Generations, so we will only go until today," SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago told the AFP news agency on Tuesday.

"We are hoping that Generations will have episodes ready for the first week of December."

'Exploitation'

At the time of the cast's sacking, executive producer Mfundi Vundla told a South African radio station that the actors were not irreplaceable and the soap would continue without them.

"There were other actors before, there will be other actors in the future," he told Talk Radio 702..

"Generations will go on, it doesn't mean the demise of the series."

The cast have since approached the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration in an effort to get their jobs back.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions has urged other actors not to be persuaded to join the soap as replacements.

"Don't be used by the arrogant producing companies in order to maintain and continue the exploitation of your fellow actors," said secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi.

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