The end of Isibaya

Isibaya leaves loyal fans hanging

Share this...

After eight seasons and numerous awards, Mzansi Magic’s Bomb Shelter produced telenovela, Isibaya aired for the very last time on Friday 2nd of April. The show’s cancellation was no surprise as the announcement of its winding down had been issued in January after rumours first circulated in October 2020.

Reviving Isibaya

Actor-writer, Chris Q Radebe who plays Chief Dabulamanzi Ngubane, returned to the bucolic valley of Bhubesini after a stint in prison, thanks to the string-pulling Sizakele Sibiya (real name Mbali Enhle Mlotshwa). With ratings reportedly on the decline, Radebe had the task of reinvigorating the long running drama. There was an evident injection of eye candy – because sex sells – in the form of Sihle (real name Zinhle Mabena) and Londiwe (real name Londeka Mchunu). There were copious booty shots for which Isibaya has always been known, but it was clear that the cameramen had gone into overdrive with the signature derriere images. Mabuyi (real name Samukhele Mkhize) who had moved to Joburg, to pursue a singing career, was brought back to Bhubesini where she served generous portions of cleavage.

The grand finale

As the show reached its final week, the plot progressed rapidly, in an attempt to resolve all outstanding conflicts. Phumelele, who was in a post kidney transplant coma since Christmas, regained consciousness to learn of a multimillion inheritance left to her by Mpiyakhe who is presumed dead. Her fiancé, Fenyang (real name Aubree Poo) had issues about Phumelele accepting money from her ex husband. At the same time, Phumie and her handsome advocate fiancé had to deal with his confession of the Cebisile kiss which occurred while his betrothed was in a coma. Phumelele forgave him, and he allowed her to keep the inheritance money, not that the newly independent Phumie needs a man’s permission to do anything.

The Zungus seemed to take turns to be hospitalised in the final four months of the show. MaNcwane, wounded during a shootout with the Ndlovus, returned home after weeks in hospital. She arrived to find her nephew – back from his drug induced disappearance – Jabulani battling to end the Zungu-Ndlovu war as well as verifying his paternity. With Mpiyakhe out of the picture, the producers had brought in Thulani Mtsweni who played Mpihlangene, the wayward youngest brother of MaNcwane, Gadla and Sengwayo. When it looked like Jabu wasn’t Mpiyakhe’s offspring, a DNA test ruled out Mpihlangene as the father, much to MaNcwane’s joy.

Somahhashi behaved like a man fresh out of prison, priority number one, sex. Dabula who disregarded the prevalence of 21st century STIs, fornicated his way through the final months of Isibaya with, Sihle, Ntwenhle and Nikiwe all taking turns to warm the royal bed. He even had his menservants scour the valley before bringing him a new girl to marry. But, alas, Dabula was shot just before he could sample the new girl. His shooter? Ntwenhle Ndlovu who had chosen to resolve their child custody battle with a gun.

Using Dabula, Sibiya had instigated the Zungu-Ndlovu war in the hope that he would get land for his proposed coal mine after the families had killed each other. In the end, the two families killed him instead and Dabula, his accomplice, was taken in by the creepy Sunday Nkabinde as a pet. Sihle, who was tasked by Dabula to deliver a bomb disguised as a cake to the Ndlovus, died in the explosion she helped create and the Gatsheni clan coughed their way out of the bomb debris, unharmed. Phumelele married Fenyang in the second of two last minute weddings. Bhekumuzi, who had defected to the chief’s lodge, married long time sweetheart, Thandi and Skhaleni bought his wife Pam a house. Fezile, who inherited Mpiyakhe’s entire cattle herd and Qondi’s share of the royal lodge, married Sbutubutu whom he snatched from the idiotic Jerry.

But the most heart-warming scene was when Sbu, exhausted with the endless conflict of Bhubesini, bade farewell to Thandeka. A butterfly flew up from Thandeka’s grave and landed on Sizakele’s shoulder before fluttering heavenward, perhaps a sign that Thandeka gave Sbu and Siza her approval.

Isibaya cliff-hanger

There were however some unresolved issues. In the final seconds, Mpiyakhe appeared inside the sleeping Manqoba’s bedroom, his fingernails appeared grimy, perhaps suggesting that he may have come back in the form of Mgijimi. Viewers were left wondering about numerous things. With Sihle dead, does Blade take back Zweli’s son, Langa? Does Mpiyakhe go back home? How does he and Jabu deal with their conflict of last year? Will Mpiyakhe be demanding all the inheritance money and cows back from Sibongile, Phumelele, Melusi and Fezile?

Another unresolved aspect is Duma’s death. Does Sbusiso avenge his friend’s death at the hands of Mbovu? Speaking of Mbovu, does he not get to avenge the killing of Jamludi by the Ndlovu brothers? Perhaps the producers should address all these unresolved issues in the form of a movie. On the day that the pilot of Diep City (Isibaya’s successor on the 830pm time slot) aired, Isibaya trended on Twitter with many of its loyal viewers calling for the show’s return.

Farewell to arguably Mzansi Magic’s best show ever.


My pen is capped

Connect with the author on Twitter @RewindMzansi

Share this...