Isibaya binge brings superfan face to face with the stars

How Isibaya superfan Khanyisa Kim Mgwenyana got to spend a day with the show’s stars on set

Isibaya cast member Lerato Mvelase in character as Sibongile Mkhize (centre) with superfan Khanyisa Kim Mgwenyana (right) and husband Siya (left)
Isibaya cast member Lerato Mvelase in character as Sibongile Mkhize (centre) with superfan Khanyisa Kim Mgwenyana (right) and husband Siya (left)
Image: Supplied/Showmax

While on maternity leave in 2018, Kim Mgwenyana took advantage of the a key feature of the new video-on-demand trend and started watching Isibaya from the very beginning. One show led to another, and it spiralled from there. After spending almost 300 hours watching more than 700 episodes, Mgwenyana hit a snag - she’d run out of episodes to watch.

Mgwenyana contacted Showmax to ask when more episodes would be added. The company’s head of communications was so impressed with her dedication to Isibaya that he put in a call to colleagues and asked for a favour. And with that, Mgwenyana’s simple email turned into an invite to spend a day on-set with the stars of Isibaya.

A dream day out

Khanyisa Kim Mgwenyana
Khanyisa Kim Mgwenyana
Image: Supplied/Showmax

In fact, it wasn’t just any day on-set, it was the filming of the wedding of the year. With only a few days until one of the show’s lead characters, Sibongile Mkhize, becomes a Zungu, Mgwenyana had a chance to see the bride film her scenes in traditional dress. She also chatted to some of her favourite characters, taking photos with them, as well as visiting some of the outdoors sets that she recognised from her marathon viewing sessions.

“I still can’t believe I saw my characters and touched them, but I have the proof of the pics to remind me that it did happen. As I look back at them I keep pinching myself in pure disbelief.”

She and husband Siya also received a tour of the warehouse in Johannesburg’s southern suburbs where the sets for the Zungu home are built, as well as the taxi rank, Club Sheba and many other familiar scenes from the award-winning series. The soapie still uses exterior shots of the mansion where season 1 was originally filmed, but as Isibaya grew in popularity and was renewed for season after season, the interiors of the houses were rebuilt exactly inside the warehouse where filming takes place.

“My mind has been replaying the whole day over and over. It was overwhelmingly exciting,” says Mgwenyana of her visit behind the scenes. “Even after my daughter was born, she still recognises the sound of the Isibaya opening music.”

Catch Isibaya seasons 1 to 5 on Showmax.

 

This article was paid for by Showmax.

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