There was serious panic on Twitter when we realised that lockdown meant our favourite stars were at home and new episodes of our favourite shows were numbered.
Thankfully, with the nationwide lockdown moving to level 4, production has started again on Mzansi Magic telenovelas like The River, Isibaya, The Queen and Gomora. But strict health and safety guidelines will apply and it’s unlikely there will be any steamy kisses any time soon as cast and crew put social distancing and health first.
Government has published regulations that have seen several sectors, including the film and television industry, being allowed to return to work under strict health guidelines.
Here’s how the stars of these shows have responded to the new ways of working on set:
Award-winning actor Zolisa Xaluva plays the character of Melusi in the telenovela. Xaluva says being back at work is a privilege. Gomora is on a break until 25 May 2020. New daily episodes will then be streaming on DStv Now and on Showmax. (All previous episodes are ready to binge-watch on Showmax.)
“I feel extremely privileged to be working at a time when most people find themselves deeply despondent because they are still unable to work. My heart goes out to every family that is struggling under the circumstances. I look forward to going back to work to help provide entertainment that will hopefully help raise the spirits of those who are at home, and hopefully heighten their consciousness. I feel like we are capably led and appreciated. We didn’t work in April but received our remuneration as per our contractual agreement”.
The Queen’s executive producers, Connie and Shona Ferguson, say that the health of the cast and crew at Ferguson Films remains their main priority.
“It feels really good to be back on set. It’s been a tough time worldwide with the pandemic and we are grateful to still have an opportunity to do what we love. Our priority is the team’s health and safety on set. We would not be able to make swift decisions without the support of the broadcaster. The team at Mzansi Magic has always been there to respond promptly to our questions and concerns and, together, we are working really hard to give The Queen’s audience a great season finale.” – Connie Ferguson
Asavela Mngqithi, who plays Ntwenhle Ndlovu on the award-winning telenovela, is among those who returned to work this week.
“They have very strict rules on set and it’s weird working with masks and social distancing, but it feels good to be back at work. We all have to learn to work safely and to protect each other, during this time. I am grateful to MultiChoice that we are able to work, and for their continued support during lockdown,”