An online petition, which was launched on the website Change.org on 18 July this year, to cancel the popular SABC2 soap 7th Avenue to keep on the till had been signed by around 26,000 individuals by Friday.
The aim of the petition is to extend the life of this soap opera, which has been broadcast for 23 years on SABC2, after it was recently announced that the soap opera will take its last breath in December.
SABC2 and Danie Odendaal Productions announced on 17 July that the beloved soap has not been renewed for another season and will come to an end after 23 years and 24 seasons.
7th Avenuea brainchild of Danie Odendaal, made its debut on SABC2 on 4 April 2000 and gave life to beloved characters such as Oubaas, Hilda, Charmaine, Aggie, Emma and the Meintjies family.
The online petition was launched after the shock announcement by one Jermaine Christians.
“We would like to ask the SABC for the decision on 7th Avenue to reconsider its renewal,” reads the petition.
“The success of the program stems from real storylines, multiculturalism and meeting the needs of every South African who can relate to it.
“We also want to request other production houses, such as e.tv or even kykNET, to buy into the idea of 7th Avenue and to not only save the jobs of the players and the team, but also the no. 1 soap opera in the country.”
The entry also criticizes the job loss of more than 120 members of the 7th Avenue-team. “Just the idea that more than 120 people are left unemployed in a country where the economy is already in decline, it is sick to say the least.
“How do you close the doors of an award-winning soap opera with millions of viewers? It does not make sense. We as viewers believe there is more behind the story that the SABC is once again trying to end one of the most loved soap operas.”
Thousands of people also commented at the bottom of the petition about the ending of the soap.
“7th Avenue has given new upcoming upcoming actors platform where they can learn from older actors. Fantastic opportunities opened up. Also, their storyline is often instructive for viewers and uses it as a means of education (sic). Thank you,” writes Sulizna van den Berg.
“I grew up with 7th Avenue and learned so much from this soap,” writes Henrico Plaatjies.
“I’m already looking 7th Avenue since I was in primary school, because it helped me with Afrikaans,” writes Olerato Masisi.
“I fell in love with the soap and I’ve finished school for years, but I still enjoy watching it. 7th Avenue helps many children out there with the Afrikaans language.”
According to reports 7th Avenue by June this year had around 1.19 million viewers, making it the Afrikaans soap with the highest number of viewers on the box office, and the second most popular program on SABC2 after Muvhangowhich has 1.4 million viewers.