Connie Ferguson's Betrayal

It is a slap-on-the-face that has reverberated throughout the entire industry as Connie Ferguson confirmed in an exclusive interview with Drum Magazine that she is joining the new Generations. With that article, Mrs Ferguson has shunned every plight the acting fraternity in this industry has ever made about their mistreatment and lack of equal acknowledgement and remuneration.  

After months of speculation over which A-list actors will be joining Mfundi Vundla’s rebooted version of the hit soapie, following the axing of the 16 lead actors on the show, Connie Ferguson apparently is elated to be returning to the show to be part of the New Generations. .

Drum reports that the actress told them that she loves the creative process and, just like she was there at the birth of SA’s first black soapie 20 years ago, she’s excited about being a part of the renovated version.
“Renovating can be exciting and I’m looking forward to being part of the material for the brand’s new structure which will most likely outlive all of us,” she is quoted.
She is also reported to have stated that her decision to return was motivated by the thought of the soapie (which helped launch her career) ending on such a horrible note, so she felt compelled to help.

Ok fair enough. Ferguson has some sentimental attachment to Generations. However, the circumstances surrounding the show right now are tainted with abuse of power, exploitation, lies and arrogance, on both sides of the fence. Is this the pool she wants to swim in? Clearly yes. 

Not only does Ferguson's return to Generations send a message that she does not care about the future of performers in this business, it also raises an interesting question of credibility — her credibility as a bona fide actor.

Being on Generations for the many years she was gave Ferguson credibility in-terms of influence and star power. One would have then expected that Ferguson would value that privilege and use it to benefit the advancement of performers in this industry, but she chose not to. 

What some people may not get is that the issue of fired Generations actors is not so much about what was happening at the show. The issues have transcended the corridors of Henley Studios and illuminated problems that have been plaguing this industry for many years. 

Black performers are exploited in this country. We see it all the time when an actor or musician dies and they are poor even though they were part of a successful production or sold lots of albums. 

One would have expected Ferguson, even if she did not agree with her former colleagues, to take a stand against the exploitation of performers by not returning to a show that is accused of doing such. 

More so because Ferguson is not some down and out star that needs the job right now. After leaving Generations she was able to secure work on The Wild. When The Wild ended, she and her husband's production company's show Rockville, was picked up by Mzansi Magic. The show is doing well and has received critical acclaim.  

Rockville is renewed for a new season and since its debut, Ferguson was praised for her performance and was finally acknowledged for being an actress with range. Clearly she is doing ok right now, so why would she want to alienate herself from her peers by seemingly shunning the core grievances that the industry's performers are fighting for through the plight of the axed Generations 16? ...  Beats me.  

Why would she not stand in solidarity with her fellow actors? We understand if a young actor who just needs work joins the new Generations, but AGAIN it is not like she needs Generations to be relevant again. She has done well beyond the show. 

This situation begs few questions; The issue of salaries at the old Generations is undisputed so does this mean Ferguson thinks it is ok for actors on the biggest show in the country to be earning less than actors on a show like Rhythm City which makes 5 times less revenue than Generations and has only been around for few years.  

Now that Mrs Ferguson and her husband own a production company, can we assume that the actors who work for them can expect to be paid peanuts and keep quiet? How much did Ferguson Productions make for Rockville? How much does the leads earn? 

If the actors on Rockville are paid accordingly by Ferguson why does she not support her former colleagues in getting their just dues too?

While Connie Ferguson may have her own personal reasons for returning to Generations, even though it is marred by the controversies, it does unfortunately paints her in a negative light. I love  Connie. I have never actually met her but she seems like a nice lady. As a motswana guy I appreciate her even more for representing my people well. She has become the epitome of classiness.

She may not agree with everything that the SABC and the production company are doing but by being part of the new Generations she is somewhat endorsing the wrong things they are doing. 

It is the principle of it all. That is my point.

Mrs Ferguson has betrayed her colleagues, peers and the industry. Let us hope the new Generations works out for her and she does not end up regretting having tainted her name and legacy for something that was not worth her while. 

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