5 November 2003 | Julie_Julii
The Best South African TV Show ever
"Isidingo" is still a fairly young show but has grown from strength to strength and continues to be compelling viewing.
It is billed as a soap opera because it airs daily at the accepted soap opera slot (5pm-7pm) but it is so much more. It is one of the few TV shows in the history of SA that has been able to keep itself connected with the real world. There is none of the fake, Americanised drama that has become the staple of most S. African soaps like "Egoli", "Generations" and the worst of them all, "Backstage". Where these shows aim to scandalise every development in the plot and fall into typical and conventional soap opera narrative modes, "Isidingo" is humorous, emotional, current and very, very real. The stories tell of 'real' lives (in the loosest sense) and never become overblown or tired.
"Isidingo" will perhaps be best known as the show that killed off nearly half its cast in a strange and still-unsolved family murder in the first 2 months of its broadcast.
Through great writing (and even greater acting) "Isidingo" has proved itself to be original, fresh and always relevant. The story lines are atypical of the soap opera genre and continue to twist and turn, often leaving the viewer breathless and intrigued. A case in point is the death of Duncan Haines at the hands of his former lover and step-mother Cherel de Villiers-Haines. It was a plot development no-one expected and one that still threatens to bring uber-bitch Cherel down once her husband, Barker finds out about it, which no doubt he soon will.
But there is so much more to Isidingo. From topical issues such as affirmative action, domestic abuse and (of course) racism, Isidingo tackles every storyline with integrity and class, and a degree of dark comedy which is something which usually translates as farce on South African TV (see 7de Laan). But here it resonates as a true and heartfelt depiction of life in a country with a bright future but constantly having to grapple with issues of our dark past.