Cape Town – The SABC3 soap Isidingo on Friday pulled the plug on yet another longtime character, killing off Frank Xavier.
On Friday evening viewers had to watch as son Calvin Xavier (Maurice Paige) allowed the doctors to switch off the machines keeping his declared brain dead dad alive. This comes after his dad, played by actor Kevin Smith, was shot recently.
Kevin is leaving the soapie after a decade since his first appearance in 2005.
Kevin, who had moved to call actor status a while ago, isn't leaving the soap, but will be directing episodes in future.
Isidingo viewers are unhappy with yet another high profile character leaving the show which has seen an exodus of on-screen talent as well as writers and production crew the past few years.
They took to social media to voice their opinions.
"I was hoping he was going to wake up. Frank was the best actor in that show," wrote viewer Natasha Forbes on Facebook.
"They should have removed the Sibekos and bring back Zeb and Agnes. [The] Sibekos are a yawn," wrote Realeboga Itumeleng.
"I understand that Frank and other actors need to grow in the industry. What I don't understand is why they should exit the soapies in the form of death. This hits home and I'm so sad," wrote Millicent Napyane.
"Today's episode is so sad. The emotions and pain are so real," said Phumeza Cakata on Twitter about the Isidingo death.
No longer a firm favourite
The soap recently had a low-key 17th birthday celebration with Isidingo which has lost a lot of relevancy the past half a decade with dull story lines not resonating with viewers.
The American soap The Bold and the Beautiful, also on SABC3, manages to lure more viewers, while Isidingo is also conspicuously absent from MultiChoice's on demand, DStv Catch Up service where SABC1's Generations - The Legacy, Skeem Saam and SABC2's 7de Laan are available.
Isidingo is a far cry from the buzz-making, must-watch local soap it once was, overshadowed by SABC1's Uzalo, e.tv's Ashes to Ashes and Mzansi Magic telenovelas whose story lines and characters are more attuned to the challenges of South Africa's middle class.
e.tv's upcoming telenovela, Gold Diggers is for instance squarely centered around a mining community - the exact milieu where the Gray Hofmeyr created soap debuted in 1998 before it decided to move away from its roots at "The Deep" and became a glossier weekday soap.
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