Mzansi Magic’s new drama,the Omen, was forced to drop five former Muvhango actors from its planned cast after Multichoice’s decision to change the drama’s language from Venda to Pedi.
Sunday World can reveal that former Muvhango actors Candy Moloi, Millicent Makhado, Sylvester Makhado and Mulalo Mudau were among those who auditioned for roles in The Omen during auditions held in Venda, Limpopo, and Randburg in Johannesburg. They got the parts and their names were submitted to Multichoice for confirmation.
The entertainment giant later dropped a bombshell on the production company, Magic Drums Films, ordering it to change the drama’s setting and language.
Afro-pop and gospel singer and actress Maduvha Madima, who used to play the character of Vele Ramabulana on Muvhango, had also auditioned for a role in the drama, and her name was among those that were sent to Multichoice for confirmation.
To top it all, Muvhango’s lead actor Gabriel Temudzani and Millicent Makhado’s names and pictures were allegedly used to promote the drama on social media without their knowledge, allegedly creating rifts between the producers and the actors as they wanted answers since they never made it to the cast.
But sources close to the production said unlike Makhado, Temudzani had not auditioned for any role on the Mzansi Magic drama, and they said it was not clear if the posters were sanctioned by the production company.
The executive producer and director of Magic Drum Films, Mfariseni Dave Mukwevho, confirmed that all five former Muvhango actors including Madima had auditioned for roles in their drama, and he said their names were among those submitted to Multichoice for consideration.
“They had auditioned for Venda characters, but because of the channel’s instruction to change the language of the drama, they could not be considered,” he said.
The channel’s decision, according to Mukwevho, was communicated to the production company when they were still in pre-production after having finalised a list of actors to consider for roles in the drama.
“The scripts were ready from episode one, and because of the decision, we had to start from scratch,” he said.
Mukwevho said The Omen’s lead actor Lesley Musina, also a former Muvhango actor, was also affected by Multichoice’s decision, but he said the actor was saved by the fact that he was multilingual and could speak fluent Pedi.
Mukwevho said before joining the production company, he saw posters of Temudzani on social media indicating that he was part of the drama, but he said the actor never auditioned for a role in the drama.
Temudzani said he knew nothing about his links to The Omen, and did not remember auditioning for a role in the drama.
Makhado confirmed that she auditioned, but she said she thought she did not make it. “I thought maybe they changed the direction when I saw Pedi people on the drama,” she said.
Madima said her case was different from those who auditioned for Venda roles.
“I auditioned for a role of a daughter of a witch with the Sepedi crew. I only heard about the Venda auditions, but I did not go,” she said.