Celebrating some of Isidingo's most unforgettable characters

Hlubi Mboya and Tshepo Maseko of Isidingo
Hlubi Mboya and Tshepo Maseko of Isidingo

Today marks the end of one of SABC's biggest soapies, Isidingo. comes to an end after 21 years of on-screen lust, deceit, bliss and the everyday happenings of a mining town called Horizon Deep.

Since its premiere in July 1998, Isidingo has not shied away from working class struggles, fictional accounts of current affairs and hard-hitting topics.  

Over the years, many phenomenal characters have made us fall in love with the show and have managed to keep us intrigued. Some of the show's characters have even made many South Africans feel like citizens of Horizon Deep, making it quite impossible to reminisce about Isidingo without including them.   

Here are some of the characters which we will never forget.

Barker Haines  

The evil Barker Haines which was played by Robert Whitehead brought a whole lot of excitement to our screens. This rich, unapologetic and wicked character managed to get his way most of the time, and when he didn’t, it only meant chaos would most definitely erupt.

Barker Haines very soon became the villain we all loved to hate, and was part of the reason why many South Africans made it a point to tune into the show every evening for years. 

We have definitely been entertained by his character and he has provided us with many unforgettable moments. For instance, how could we ever forget the time when he shot himself and ended up blind while stressing about his son who was shot and his daughter who was kidnapped? Or the time when he staged a coup in an African country in order to manipulate the oil price?

Cherel De Villiers-Haines-LeRoux-Holmes 

The infamous Cherel never failed to surprise us with her cunning ways. Actress Michelle Botes who played the character made absolutely sure that Cherel always brought the heat and made an unforgettable impression.

Being a character who only ever thought of herself, Cherel will not be forgotten for various reasons. For instance, she managed to have Bornman wipe out an entire family (the Vorsters) without getting her hands dirty.

Her cold and heartless self even turned the gun on her very own stepson, Duncan and dumped his body in a mineshaft.

The character got married to many men in her lifetime, hence her many surnames. However, her wedding with Eddie Holmes is one we will never forget, a wedding so splendid that it even appeared on Top Billing! 

Georgie Zamdela 

Known to his fans and many members of the Horizon Deep community as "Papa G”, Georgie Zamdela was Horizon Deep’s very flamboyant gangster with many gold chains and rings.

Played by Darlington Micheals, the character of Georgie Zamdela easily comes to mind when one thinks of Isidingo. His tsotsi-taal driven performances were nostalgic and endearing, and he made us eagerly anticipate the next episode.

For the most part, Papa G had many viewers feeling like none of what they were watching was scripted or just an act. His authenticity has undoubtedly made a mark in the entertainment industry and in our hearts, as has his Sophiatown-inspired colourful fashion sense. 

Sechaba Moloi

Being a go-getter who never let any opportunity pass him by, Sechaba arrived in Horizon Deep and very soon made it big by grabbing each and every opportunity that came his way without being stopped by the fact that he had no qualifications.

From being a shebeen boss, to making his way into the Sibeko Gold Mine and even being the mayor of Horizon Deep, there is honestly not much which the character has not done.

We stan a hustler indeed! Played by Motlatsi Mafatshe, the scheming character appealed to the average young man who is determined to make it in life by any means necessary. Over the years, Sechaba has served as an inspiration for many viewers to reach for their goals against all odds and to never say never. 

Nina Zamdela

Played by Khabonina Khubeka, businesswoman Nina Zamdela was forever testing the limits. She was Horizon Deep’s favourite shebeen queen who was always ready to shake things up.

Might we add, she also had a trick or two up her sleeve…every single time. Nina was unpredictable and that’s what made her interesting. I

While Nina was a character which many viewers hated, she was a necessary villain who will always come up each time we think of the show.

Morongwa Kau

Played by Soso Rungqu, Morongwa was a tough and opinionated welder who could have easily been perceived as the epitome of fearlessness. She was always ready to speak her mind, and felt no shame in standing up for what she believed in.

Commonly known as "Rongwas" to her fans and her circle,  the alluring character will be remembered for her phenomenal and extremely well-executed scene where she put an entire church fundraising party to a standstill and spoke her mind, eventually forcibly dancing with Barker Haines himself.

This epic performance had South Africans in stitches and social media in a complete uproar for some days.