Sandisiwe Mbhele
Lifestyle Journalist
2 minute read
3 Nov 2020
9:36 am

Mzansi Magic ‘reviewing local content’ as ‘Isibaya’ ratings fall

Sandisiwe Mbhele

The recent casting of veteran actress Palesa Mocuminyane was seen as a way for producers to arrest the decline of the drama series.

'Isibaya'. Picture: Showmax

It seems that the rumours around Mzansi Magic drama, Isibaya, and its demise are true.

The Bomb Shelter Film Company-produced series, which premiered in 2013, garnered a large audience countrywide and a strong fanbase over the years, featuring stars such as Nomzamo Mbatha, Sdumo Mtshali, Pallance Dladla and Abdul Khoza. However, the departure of some of these stars may have hurt the series.

Mbatha left the show after her character Thandeka Zungu – on air for seven years – was killed off in February 2020. In 2019, Mbatha was cast in the yet-to-be-released Coming to America sequel and has also expanded her career to include an UN ambassadorship.

The latest departures include Mtshali, who left the show to play a new character on Clive Morris Production Estates and veteran actor Siyabonga Thwala bid farewell to the lead character Mpiyakhe Zungu in October 2020. Thwala now has a recurring role on M-Net’s telenovela Legacy.

The recent casting of veteran actress Palesa Mocuminyane was seen as a way for producers to arrest the decline.

News of declining ratings have gathered steam over the last couple of months. In June, according to Broadcasting Research Council, Isibaya had a viewership of roughly one million viewers in June. The audience since then has declined.


In July, the viewership dropped to around 823,700 viewers. The biggest show for the month was the reality cheating drama show Uyajola 9/9 with over 1.4 million viewers.

Isibaya numbers for July. Graphic: Screenshot/ Broadcasting Research Council of SA

Isibaya declined further in August, losing nearly 100,000 viewers and still sitting in eighth place.

Isibaya numbers for August. Graphic: Screenshot/ Broadcasting Research Council of SA

The ratings dropped further in September by around 3000 viewers.

Isibaya numbers for September. Graphic: Screenshot/ Broadcasting Research Council of SA

Attempts for comment from Isibaya were unsuccessful. However, Mzansi Magic one of the channels under M-Net did respond. 

Nomsa Philiso, director of local entertainment channels at M-Net (which runs Mzansi Magic), said: “Mzansi Magic is currently conducting a review of all its local content with a view of reaching a decision on which shows, in the near future, will be renewed. The review is not exclusive to Isibaya and an announcement will be made in due course.”

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