SABC1 telenovela Uzalo’s behind-the-scenes drama arguably makes for better TV than most of the prime-time show’s episodes.
And this round of Mzansi’s favourite production’s saga involves it losing key cast members.
Insiders said Thulane Shange (Thulani) had become a distant memory on Uzalo’s set, with his on-screen ghost set living out the last of its appearances in the TV show.
He stopped shooting two weeks ago, the sources said.
When called for comment, Thulane confirmed the breaking news.
Said Thulane: “I’m currently unemployed and looking for work. Be that as it may, I didn’t leave on bad terms.
“It’s just that my storyline came to an end. Yes, my last shoot was indeed two weeks ago.”
Thulane said his contract was originally set to expire in October, but the lockdown period to curb the spread of COVID-19 affected the telenovela’s plot.
Concluded Thulane: “Life is hard, but I keep myself busy by helping musician and gqom star, Mampintsha, with his music videos.”
Insiders said the producers had also pulled the plug on Sizwe Khumbuza (Godfather).
When called, Sizwe referred inquiries to Uzalo.
An insider claimed Sizwe was also recruited by Mampintsha for the same music video shoot.
Actors Dawn Thandeka-King (MaNgcobo) and Syabonga Shibe (Qhabanga) were said to be living on borrowed time, as Uzalo’s producers would allegedly soon kiss them goodbye.
Claimed an informant: “These two are no longer in the producers’ good books because they made the mistake of asking for a salary increase.
“Dawn is, in fact, among the actors who have a dark cloud hanging over their head.”
According to the mole, Dawn’s “attitude also isn’t doing her any favours”.
Insisted the insider: “She makes the writers’ and directors’ jobs difficult because she sometimes demands to change the storylines.
“She was very close to one of the directors who left Uzalo for Imbewu. Since that director’s departure, things have been hard for her.
“Remember how GC (Khaya Dladla) was booted? It’ll be the same with Dawn. She’ll also be told she’ll get a call when she’s needed.”
Siyabonga, on the other hand, allegedly complained about his salary.
Said the third mole: “But it’s not clear how he’ll exit. All I know is that his job is on the line.
“At Uzalo, actors are told there are many people who want their jobs. It’s as if they’re being done a favour for working there. Truth is, they’re the reason the telenovela is number one.” When called for comment, Shibe said he doesn’t know anything. Thandeka was not available for comment. Uzalo’s publicist Nonfundo Zondi requested an email sent to her but had not responded at the time of going to print.