Isidingo is a popular South African Soap opera which premiered in July 1998 on the SABC 3 channel.
The show’s dialogue has mostly been in English since the show’s debut.
The Show was called ‘Isidingo: The Need’ until 2001.
Isidingo shows by 19:00 from Monday to Friday every week on SABC 3.
The show was created by famed South African director Gray Hofmeyr whose career has lasted over thirty years. Hofmeyr is considered one of South Africa’s most prolific film and television writers.
Of the many writers and directors in South Africa, he has won the most awards.
Many actors and actress who have worked under the directions have won best performance awards, including Keketso Semoko who won a Golden Horn Award for Best Actress in a Lead Role in a TV Soap for her work on Isidingo.
Some of Gray Hofmeyr’s more recognizable works include: Mr Bones (2001), Mr Bones 2 (2008), Mama Jack (2005), There’s a Zulu On My Stoep (1993), Mad Buddies (2012), Schuks Tshabalala’s Survival Guide to South Africa (2010) and Jock of the Bushveld (1992).
Isidingo is loosely based on another of Gray Hofmeyr’s soap opera which was broadcast during South Africa’s apartheid era – The villagers.
Isidingo has also served as the launching pad for the careers of many of South Africa’s greatest actors and actresses today.
The plot of the story revolves around the Haines family, the mine manager – Vusi Moletsane, the Matabanes and the different residents of Maggie Webster’s boarding house.
Barker Haines, for example, is the patriarch of the Haines family and the owner of ON TV. He is also a scheming billionaire who meddles in the lives of the different residents of the Horizon Deep – the mining town where the majority of the series is set.
The person most affected by his schemes is Leone, his daughter. Ashley Callie who played Leone Haines since the series debut passed away in a car accident on the 15th of February 2008.
Other well-known characters in the series include Lolly De Klerk, the Matabanes, Georgie Zamdela, Calvin Xavier and Frank Xavier.
Isidingo has a multi-camera set up. Kobus Van Niekerk is in charge of the show’s cinematography.
Rohan Dickson is the head writer for the show.
Isidingo’s current running time is 33 minutes per episode.
Over the years, the show has been directed by Raymond Sargeant, Krijay Govender, Johnny Barbuzano and Sthembiso Mathenjwa.
Pumla Hopa is the show’s executive producer.
The main theme song was composed by Siva Devar.
While English is the main language on the show, a variety of other South African languages is featured on the show.
The show has run for a total of seventeen seasons with over four thousand episodes.
Isidingo has seen a bevy of actors come and go. The show has also created and lost so many characters as well.
Most notably was the loss of Leone Haines who was played by Ashley Callie. The character was killed off-screen after Ashley Callie died in car accident in 2008 shortly after she won Best Actress Award at the South African Film and Television Awards for the role.
Letti Matabane who was played by Lesogo Motsepe was killed off the show in a car accident to the dismay of many of the show’s fans.
In 2006, Michelle Botes who played Cherel De Villiers – a villainess on the show – announced she was leaving the show a week after being snubbed at the South African Television Awards. She returned to the show from 2010 to 2013.
Other Notable to stars to exit the show include Don Mlangeni who portrayed Zebedee Matabane, Meschack Mavuso who played Vusi Moletsane, Tshepo Maseko who played Parson Matabane, Keketso Semoko who portrayed Agnes Matabane and Milan Murray who portrayed Dusty da, Silva.
While many actors have come and gone, here’s an alphabetical list of both present and past actors and actresses with the characters they portray(ed):
Arno Marais as Benjamin le Roux
Ashley Callie as Leone Haines
Bianca Amato as Philippa de Villers
Brendan Pollecutt as Mark Brookes
Clive Scott as Ted Dixon
Colin Moss as Stuart Buller
Darlington Michaels as Georgie Zamdela
Don Mlangeni as Zebedee Matabane
Gugulethu Zuma as Lesedi Maloi
Izak Davel as Bradley Haines
Jo da Silva as Natasha Wallace
Judy Ditchfield as Stella Fouche
Karin van der Laag as Maggie Webster
Keketso Semoko as Agnes Matabane
Kevin Smith as Frank Xavier
Kgomotso Christopher as Katlego Sibeko
Kim Engelbrecht as Lolly van Onselen
Leeanda Reddy as Priya Kumar
Lesego Motsepe as Letti Matabane
Letoya Mangezi as Ayanda Diale
Linda Sokhulu as Nikiwe Sibeko
Mary Anna Barlow as Dr. McNamara
Maurice Page as Calvin Xavier
Meshark Mavuso as Vusi Moletsane
Michaella Russell as Charlie Holmes
Michelle Botes as Cherel de Villers
Milan Murray as Dusty da Silva
Motlatsi Mafatshe as Sechaba Moloi
Noluthando Neje as Zukisa Zondile
Owen Meyer as Kyle Ortlepp
Robert Whitehead as Barker Haines
Tessa Jubber as Erin McPherson
Tshepo Maseko as Parsons Matabane
Zane Meas as Jack van Onselen