Uzalo matriarch Dawn Thandeka King has quit SA’s most watched show after five years of wreaking havoc as villainous fan favourite MaNgcobo on the SABC 1 daily drama.
King confirmed to the media on Monday that she had opted to not renew her contract for the upcoming season seven of the show, which is watched by 10 million viewers on average.
The 43-year-old actor has portrayed the role of MaNgcobo since the show’s inception in 2015.
The role not only turned her into a household name but won her critical acclaim and awards.
“I didn’t renew the contract and I will not be part of season seven. However, there are things that are still being discussed by production as we had not started shooting for the new season.
“So what’s going to happen in the story with the character are things that I can’t share because I also don’t know what’s going to happen,” King said.
“Thanks to the audience for receiving the character for so long and loving her. I apologise to anyone that might be hurt by the fact that there might come a time that she is no more.”
Uzalo publicist Nomfundo Zondi declined to comment on King’s exit and how the storyline would unfold without such a pivotal character.
“Unfortunately, we don’t have any official comment or statement on the matter,” Zondi wrote in an email.
King said her decision to depart the show was a business one as she was relocating to Johannesburg from Durban. She said she already had a new project lined up and would share details about it in due course.
“The decision of leaving is a business one because sometimes people have to grow. I’m going to miss everything about the character. I have become very fond of the role and had worked hard to create that character – putting her where she is right now,” King said.
“It’s very painful and it was not an easy decision. I’m going to miss the people that I worked with and the production itself. There is no bad blood or anything like that, it’s purely a professional move for growth.
“Everyone was like family because we have been together for so long. It’s going to be strange at first to start somewhere else and create someone new.”
While Durban is emerging as a fast-growing television market, with Uzalo, Imbewu and Durban Gen filming there, King opined that actors still reap the most rewards in Johannesburg.
“The acting opportunities are more in Johannesburg because it’s the hub of the entertainment industry. Durban is starting to grow because more productions are starting to be filmed there, making it a growing hub for the entertainment industry,” King said.
“But it still remains that Joburg has more opportunities in terms of soapies, movies, commercials and other thing that I might need to do. Growth was needed.”