Actress Connie Ferguson reveals why she is dumping Generations AGAIN
Actress and businesswoman Connie Ferguson (45) recently announced her departure from Generations: The Legacy yet again. She reflects on her exit from the soapie, marriage, and her recent role as granny.
It's Friday afternoon. Connie has wrapped up her scenes for Generations: The Legacy and asks me to come to the set at the SABC studios to have our chat. It's just two days since she made the unexpected announcement that she would once again be leaving the show. It's a flashback to 2010, when Connie surprised us by revealing she would be saying goodbye to her much-loved character, Karabo Moroka, after a 16-year run on the show.
Then she had cited wanting to explore new ventures and focus on her production company, Ferguson Films, which she runs wioth her husband, Shona.
In 2011, we saw her star in M-Net's then new drama series The Wild, and in 2013, Ferguson Films launched the popular series Rockville. It seemed playing Karabo was over for the iconic actress, so it came as a happy surprise in 2014 when the soapie reloanched as Generations: The Legacy and she made a comeback. But now she is leaving again.
"I don't think my exit is as big a deal as everyone is making it out to be. In hindsight, it's also maybe because I know I wouldn't have stayed on for 16 years this time around. My agreement with producer Mfundi Vundla was that I had come on board to help restart the show after the departure of its 16 lead actors, with my character bringing familiarity and re-establishing the Moroka name. I was initially meant to be back for just a year and not have Karabo take the lead as she did. But it turned out the needed the character more than they initially thought. When the contract expired, they asked me to renew it for another year, which would finish at the end of October 2016. I decided to leaver earlier as my other projects - Rockville (season four airs in July), and the new Xhosa drama series iGazi - need me more. We are also working on another project that I can't reveal yet," she said.
But why would she come back to the show knowing she wouldn't stay?
"I can't say no to Mfundi and it was the right thing to do at the time. It saddened me to see what had gone on with the 'Generations 16'. It broke my heart even more to see Mfundi, whom I regard as a father figure, be so miserable over the situation. I had never seen him like that. I couldn't reject his offer, especially in the state he was in," she added.
"I also understand that my return may have been perceived as betrayal to the 'Generations 16' and their cause. I expected that, and anticipated that some of them wouldn't be happy with my decision. But at the end of the day, we are all independent freelancers, and I had to do what my conscience felt was right. I'm also a producer and understand how actors' contracts work. Producers don't draw up the contracts - broadcasters do. It's a complex process that isn't as black and white as it was made out to be."
Will Connie come back to the soapie once again in future, or is she saying goodbye to Karabo for good? Connie says she doesn't yet know if her character will be K_illed off, if she isn't Connie is open to making small appearances on the soapie in future. But did she make a Generations comeback because she fells obliged to the soapie?
"I don't owe Generations anything and neither does it owe me. Generations is home, and I regard its crew as family. Just as I do with my own, I will always be available when needed. I know I will never completely say goodbye to it, just as I also know I will never stay on board for another 16 years," she said confidently.
At 45, Connie says one of the highlights of her life is not her flourishing career, but becoming a grandmother. Her older daughter, Lesedi (23) with former husband Neo Matsunyane, gave birth to a boy, Ronewa, last year.
"I have always been close to both my daughters, Lesedi and Alicia (13), but when Lesedi fell pregnant, we grew even closer. I was there when Ronewa was born, so I bonded with him form the start. He is very close to his grandfather. They have an amazing relationship. He is an amazing dad, so I knew he would be an awesome grandfather. We have always wanted a boy, and now we have one."
When Ronewa was born, naysayers pointed fingers at Lesedi, calling Connie out for 'letting' her daughter have a child out of wedlock while studying in her last year at AFDA.
"Life happens. As a parent you have your own dreams for your child, especially when it's a daughter, as you want them to gain independence before they have children of their own. But the reality is that we can't live our children's lives for them. I had Lesedi at 23, too, so who am I to judge? Having her didn't stop my life, and that's what I want to emphasize with her too. The difference is that she has Shona, Alicia and me to offer support, whereas I raised her far away from my own parents, who live in Botswana. I wasn't as financial stable, I had to go back to work just one week after she was born," she narrated
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