Both Leleti Khumalo and Sihle Ndaba will be bidding South Africa's most-watched TV show Uzalo farewell in the 4th season of the hit primetime show.
Their characters will appear in the upcoming season until the 6th episode. Notably, the last day on set for Khumalo and Ndaba will be 15 December. While, the veteran actress who has played the character of the KwaMashu matriarch MaNzuza on the top-rated show said it's time to move on, Ndaba who played Smangele, has not commented on the exit.
"I am grateful for the opportunity, and the platform Uzalo provided for me to bond with the viewers, and my fans who have been a part of my journey over the years," says Leleti Khumalo in an exit statement.
"Whilst this has not been as easy decision for me as an artist, it is time for me to move on and grow professionally in other areas." Apparently, she's seeking to explore her horizon after leaving the show.
The show's producers, Stained Glass TV, says Uzalo will continue to thrill viewers with some fresh faces. The production also commended the efforts of the outgoing stars.
"Leleti and Sihle have been such an incredible part of the Uzalo story and journey; they will always be part of the family," says Pepsi Pokane, co-owner of the production company.
"It has been a joy to work with them, and alongside the SABC, we created the platform where they were able to showcase their talent so captivatingly. Parting ways with actors of such calibre is always going to be bittersweet, but we have no doubt they will continue to work their magic on the new trails they'll be embarking on. We have a clear stance where our onscreen talent is concerned. We've always been committed to including fresh, new talent, while ensuring we had some seasoned, established players in our cast."
In no time, the production will have auditions to usher in new faces to grace the screen.
While it's not clear what led to the exit of the actors, the possibility of a hitch in the re-upping contract negotiations for the 4th season should be taken into account. Notably, Uzalo is arguably one of the most successful shows in Mzansi at the moment. It is the most-watched show on SABC1 as well as the overall most-watched show in South Africa, drawing in 9.23 million viewers in September.
In as much as it's a good thing to have a popular show on TV, it also makes contract negotiations more difficult, as stars on hit shows want to get properly and adequately rewarded at all times. This is because they are the ones bringing the story to life and attracting the viewers.