Fired actors, the BTS drama & more! Here's a 2020 timeline for The Fergusons

31 December 2020 - 08:00 By chrizelda kekana
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Connie and Shona Ferguson have have kept Mzansi entertained with their productions and behind-the-scenes drama.
Connie and Shona Ferguson have have kept Mzansi entertained with their productions and behind-the-scenes drama.
Image: Gallo Images / Sunday World / Bafana Mahlangu

In a bizarre episode of art imitates life, 2020 gave us drama, drama and more drama from power couple and owners of Ferguson Films, Connie and Shona, both on and off the screen.

With everything from showing off their lavish mansion and many luxury cars to fitness routines, downtime in their house and family vacations that had many screaming “please take us with you!”,  2020 proved  a reality show focused on the life and times of power couple Connie and Shona and their family would sell like hot cakes.

More than that, the behind-the-scenes drama that kept them trending on Twitter this year also proved  the pair are truly in the business of “making drama” both on and off the screen.

From making money moves to firing more actors than Mzansi was ready for, the Fergusons served us hot entertainment on all fronts.

Here's a timeline of top events in 2020 involving the power couple:

Covid-19 hits Fergusons where it hurts

Despite being seemingly untouchable, life reminded Connie and Shona that in reality Covid-19, was going to mess up their plans just like everyone else. The global pandemic affected their business when lockdown forced them to put down their tools.

Connie, who runs Ferguson Films with her husband, told the Sunday Times: “We will not be able to deliver that content by the end of May. There’s so much going on behind the scenes. We are thinking about how we’re going to survive as a company, but not only that, we are thinking how are we going to help our people.”

However, after a few weeks, some regulations were relaxed and that allowed them to go back to work.

Ferguson Films goes on 'firing spree'

While it isn't outrageous for productions to fire actors and hire new ones, the number of actors Ferguson Films fired raised some red flags for their fans.

Actors Dineo Langa, Rami Chuene, Mlamli Mangcala and even Shona himself are some who were either fired or didn't have their acting contracts renewed by the production company.

While Rami's exit was full of drama and sub-tweets, Dineo's exit is the one that broke many fans' hearts.

“All The Queen season four contracts are ending on May 31. We have a new crop of actors carrying the story for season 5, so not everyone will be returning, including Kea and Jerry.”

Kea formed part of the original cast of the popular show and played Connie's on-screen daughter. Connie said the manner in which Kea would exit would surprise many but it was an important element of the plot.

Fergusons get backlash for firing actors, especially Rami Chuene

Of all the actors who were let go, Rami's exit was the one with the most fireworks.

This was especially courtesy of how her exit came to be known by Mzansi.

Sunday World  reported that Rami's character is set to be killed off after alleged behind-the-scenes drama with the Ferguson family, who produce the show.

The publication said the relationship between Rami and the Fergusons deteriorated after the actress allegedly sided with seasoned actress Vatiswa Ndara after Vatiswa's open letter to sports, arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa last year. Vatiswa publicly supported Rami while Rami's fans dragged the company on social media.

Rami confirmed she was leaving and said she was going to try her utmost to be a professional on set.

After the dust had settled, the Fergusons replied to a fan who wanted to know why they always “fire” people during an Instagram LIVE chat with actor Themba Ndaba.

“Guys, this is a soap, it's a telenovela, OK. Characters come and go. That's how soaps operate. It's for a story, sometimes to introduce another story, but characters come and go,” Connie said.

Ferguson Films actors stand up against 'trolls' for their bosses

Zenande Mfenyana  and SK Khoza defended their bosses at The Queen, with Zenande telling fans she will not tolerate anyone badmouthing them to her.

The Fergusons had made headlines in recent months amid claims of mistreatment from actors and an open letter from former The Queen actor Mlamli Mangcala, alleging the producers made empty promises about his salary adjustments, made its way to Zenande's TL.

“Don’t for one second assume I will entertain people badmouthing my bosses. So if you have something negative to say about them, don’t bring it in my mentions please. Let’s respect each other. Hands off the Fergusons,” she wrote.

Her comments come just days after actor SK slammed those who were criticising the couple.

“Take a moment and appreciate. Shout out to Shona and Connie Ferguson. Everyone is just hating on y’all. When you the best, people will talk, it doesn’t matter if you doing good or bad,” he wrote.

Connie sparks colourism debate with 'black face' snap

Connie faced the Twitter firing squad after a snap of her with her face seemingly darkened for a new role went viral.

The image, posted to Ferguson Films' Instagram page, shows Connie dressed as a domestic worker. Her hair is sticking out of her hat while she stares at the camera.

While many users, including several celebs, found the snap amusing, others took to Twitter to accuse the actress of “black face”.

The Fergusons give iconic Brenda Ngxoli star treatment

Veteran actress Brenda has praised Ferguson films for giving her a private dressing room for the first time in her 15-year career in the entertainment industry.

Though Ferguson Films has been shrouded in controversy over the past few years, Brenda joined those on set of their productions who have praised the couple.

“With more than 15 years in the industry, I can finally say I have my own dressing room. This is a first for me,” said the star, who joined the telenovela this year.

Shona goes for boss of the year, with ice cream truck for his employees

The Queen actor Vuyo Ngcukana spilt the deets on Twitter of a cute moment that happened on set, courtesy of Shona.

The actor took to Twitter with a story about the “ice cream” scene in The Queen. The star said Shona surprised the cast of the show with an ice cream truck.

“The ice cream scene was not planned like that. Shona Ferguson decided to surprise us with an ice cream truck on set that day. It arrived as we were about to shoot and instead of Russians and chips we jumped at the chance and asked for ice cream instead,” wrote Vuyo.

Ferguson Films take sexual harassment seriously

Shona and Connie were applauded by Swift SA, an organisation committed to gender equality in the entertainment industry, earlier this year. This after the power couple welcomed a workshop by the organisation on their the set to ensure it is a place where equality is of utmost importance.

Taking to Instagram, the organisation posted a snap with the Fergusons, thanking them and the cast for “opening their minds and hearts and taking the pledge to play their role in ending harassment and discrimination in the entertainment industry”.   

“The leadership of Ferguson Films is in full support of the sexual harassment impact workshop held on the set of The Queen.”

Ferguson Films makes money moves with Netflix partnership

After teasing Mzansi with snippets of their upcoming project Kings Of Joburg, media moguls Shona and Connie finally announced they had entered into a partnership with Netflix to give the people what they want.

The power couple who, through Ferguson Films, have given Mzansi productions such as Igazi and The Queen, opened up about their first partnership with the online streaming service.

Shona and Connie went back to what they know and love, and used actors they've worked with before to breathe life into the vision they had for the series.

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