Isidingo was a South African soap opera, with dialogue mostly in English and isiXhosa.[2] The series premiered on SABC 3 in July 1998 and was broadcast evenings on SABC 3 from Monday to Friday at 19:00. Until 2001 it was titled Isidingo: The Need.[3]

Isidingo logo.jpg
Isidingo logo since 2011
Also known asIsidingo: The Need
GenreSoap opera
Created byGray Hofmeyr
Written by
Kagiso Mogale (Head of Scripts and story editor)
Allyzander Fourie (script editor)
Mimmy Mtshali Ntaka (senior resident writer)
Barang Sebatjane (storyliner)
Siphosethu Xolisa Tshapu (storyliner)
Chinaka Iwenze
Nonzi Bogatsu
Athos Kryiakides (storyliner)
Clive Mathibe
Wayne Robins
Liesl Wolmarans
Fanyane Hlabangane
Thuso Sibisi
Precious Sithole
Directed byNthabi Tau
Michael Sebonego
Kekeletso Mputhi
Pumla Hopa
Motlatsi Mafatshe
Theme music composerSiva Devar
Country of originSouth Africa
Original languageEnglish (including a mix of various other South African languages)
No. of seasons22
No. of episodes5,414 (as of 12 March 2020)
Executive producerPumla Hopa
ProducerPomegranate Media
CinematographyKobus Van Niekerk
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time30 minutes
Production companiesEndemol Shine Africa
Pomegranate Media
Original networkSABC 3
Picture format16:9
Audio formatMonaural
Original release7 July 1998 (1998-07-07)[1] –
12 March 2020 (2020-03-12)
Preceded byThe Villagers

Created by Gray Hofmeyr, the story is loosely based on another popular soap opera created by Hofmeyr, The Villagers, that was broadcast during the apartheid era in South Africa.[3] Former series Head Writers include Neil McCarthy, Mitzi Booysen, Ilse van Hermert, Christian Blomkamp, Busisiwe Ntintili, Loyiso Maqoma, Liam J Stratton, Rosalind Butler, Rohan Dickson, Bongi Ndaba, and Duduzile Zamantungwa Mabaso.

On 29 November 2019 the SABC announced that the production is to be cancelled[4] with the final broadcast being aired on 12 March 2020.


The main characters include the Haines family, the Matabanes, Vusi Moletsane the mine manager and the various residents of the boarding house owned by Maggie Webster. Barker Haines, owner of ON TV, is a high-living billionaire who often schemes his way into the lives of various people in and out of the mining town Horizon Deep, notably his daughter Leone.[3] The Matabanes are a close-knit family who comprise a stronghold, of sorts, in the populace of Horizon Deep, with Zebedee as the patriarch. Other central characters are Lolly De Klerk, Frank Xavier, Parsons Matibane, Georgie Zamdela and Calvin Xavier.

List of charactersEdit

Notable former charactersEdit

Major character exitsEdit

Actress Michelle Botes, who had played villainess Cherel De Villiers since Isidingo's 1998 debut, announced her imminent departure from the series in October 2006, a week after being "snubbed" by The South African Television Awards (though Isidingo had taken home the most awards).[citation needed] Botes next portrayed Ingrid in the rival soap Binnelanders, which directly competed with Isidingo on the pay-channel M-Net.[5] She returned to Isidingo from 2010 to 2013.

Soon after winning the Best Actress Award at the South African Film and Television Awards for her portrayal of Leone "Lee" Haines, 32-year-old actress Ashley Callie died following a car accident in February 2008.[6] The role was not recast, and the character was written out by having Lee gone missing as she didn't show up for work, and later revealed she had died in a deserted field without specifying her cause of death.[7]

Six months after Callie's death, the series killed off original character Letti Matabane (played by actress Lesego Motsepe) in a similar car accident, prompting a "nationwide outpouring of grief".[8]


Isidingo was the first South African TV show to feature the country's first gay TV kiss, which saw the characters Steve and Len kiss. It also made history when it screened the first gay wedding on South African television when the characters Steve and Luke wed. This episode was broadcast just days after same-sex marriage was legalised in South Africa in 2006. The show's executive producer Pumla Hopa explained how Isidingo was different from other soapies at the time: "The thing that sets us apart is that we deal with issues in society from homosexuality, xenophobia, mixed marriages and HIV-Aids. We introduced a different style of storytelling".[9]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Isidingo". The South African TV Authority. Archived from the original on 6 December 2014. Retrieved 6 December 2014.
  2. ^ According to anonymous donor
  3. ^ a b c Willoughby, Guy (28 April 2006). "Isidingo's lustre will never fade while Barker remains his nasty self". Independent News & Media. Archived from the original on 20 October 2008. Retrieved 6 December 2014.
  4. ^ "Final episode of Isidingo to air on SABC 3 in March 2020 | IOL News". Retrieved 29 November 2019.
  5. ^ Engelbrecht, Gerda (19 October 2009). "Michelle Botes: Elegant and charming". Retrieved 6 December 2014.
  6. ^ "Isidingo actress Ashley Callie dies". Mail & Guardian. 15 February 2008. Retrieved 6 December 2014.
  7. ^ Xulu, Nomfundo (19 February 2008). "Isidingo won't replace Ashley". The Times. Retrieved 6 December 2014.
  8. ^ Kennedy, Christina (23 January 2014). "OBITUARY: Lesego Motsepe". Financial Mail. Retrieved 6 December 2014.
  9. ^ Staff writer (18 July 2013). "Gay friendly Isidingo celebrates 15 years". Mamba Online. Retrieved 15 April 2020.

External linksEdit