Fans of popular South African soapie 7de Laan were outraged at news the SABC plans to reduce the show’s airing from five weekly episodes to three. In its place, a new Afrikaans telenovela called Die Sentrum will air.
The broadcaster confirmed to Channel 24 that both 7de Laan and the Venda soapie Muvhango are being reduced to three weekly episodes. 7de Laan will broadcast from Mondays to Wednesdays at 6pm from April 5 and Muvhango episodes will go down to three per week in August.
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According to the SABC’s Head of TV Merlin Naicker, this change is “part of our long-term plan to invest in quality local content.”
He continued: “Serving a diverse South African audience, it is imperative that we come with innovative and exciting content, which will not only draw the viewership, but bring in the revenue required to keep the public service broadcaster financially sustainable.”
This decision has left many viewers disappointed. Loyal fan Jermaine Christians even started an online Change.org petition demanding 7de Laan remain on air for its five weekly episodes.
“As loyal viewers and fans of one of South Africa’s best soapies we have the right to demand that we want to continue having 7de Laan to be on air for 5 days and nothing less,” reads the petition.
“This is unacceptable and we highly condemn this action as loyal viewers, and tv license payers we have the right to say what we do and don’t want to watch. It is sad that we weren’t even approached as fans regarding this matter, as we are partially the reason behind the success of the long-running, multicultural soapy. This comes after the soapy just recently achieved the milestone of airing their 5000th episode and are part of our households for over 20 years.
“This is not just an attack on us as loyal fans and viewers but on the Afrikaans community as well. This is the soapie that taught thousands of us how to speak Afrikaans since a young age. This soapy is known for Its large roadshow campaigns to interact with fans and viewers, the soapy is also known for Its internship opportunities to help create jobs and boost the countries economy.
“We don’t foresee 7de Laan only being on air for 3 days and later totally off from our screens, because ultimately that’s what it will lead to, when viewers loses interest – we highly condemn this and will fight this fight until SABC decides to leave our soapy on air for 5 working days!”
Thus far, 1,807 people have signed the petition.
Picture: Instagram / Real 7de Laan