UPDATE - 9 October, 10:22: Ferguson Films: 'The allegations are misguided, misdirected, and misleading'
UPDATE - 8 October, 12:19: Ferguson Films referred Channel24 to their lawyer, Brendan de Kooker who said; "We are in the process of obtaining instructions from our client and we will respond in due course."
Cape Town – iGazi actress Vatiswa Ndara has written a six-page open letter to the Minister of Arts and Culture about the treatment of South African actors.
In the letter, she lists allegations of poor remuneration, alleged unfair contractual agreement, alleged unfair treatment by producers, and make claims about bullying and intimidation in the industry.
The Safta award-winning actress who plays the role of the Nomarashiya in the Mzansi Magic drama posted the letter on Twitter wrote: "At the risk of public shame, humiliation and salacious headlines, not to mention alienation from peers and possible blacklisting from the powers that be in the sector, I humble myself in expressing the truth of my experience in the arts and entertainment industry and publicly exposing the depth of my frustrated and broken spirit."
She continues by quoting an email sent to her by Ferguson Films regarding her contract for the upcoming third season of the show.
"Ferguson Films is officially starting iGazi3, and we would like to offer Vatiswa a global contract for iGazi3 at R110k (before tax) for the duration of the shoot (5 weeks). No limit to calls, first call exclusive to us. We are looking at shooting from 8 October to 9 November.
"She will also need to allocate a day for wardrobe fitting and make-up tests in the pre-week sometime between 16 September and 22 September, but otherwise we only have her during the shooting weeks."
In the following paragraphs of the letter, she dissects the contract and delves into the "harsh realities" of the offer.
She claims that the amount offered has to be taxed and that there is allegedly no guarantee of residuals. She further claims that whilst under contract she cannot seek further employment until the end of the contract. Vatiswa adds that according to the contract she will allegedly not be compensated for other work-related activities and she could be working up to 12 hours a day.
SEE THE FULL LETTER HERE:
GOOD MORNING ????? ????— Vatiswa Ndara (@theVati_Can) October 7, 2019
AN OPEN LETTER TO MINISTER OF SPORTS, ARTS & CULTURE @NathiMthethwaSA + @asandamagaqa#actor #acting #actorslivesmatter#DiaryOfAMadFrustratedActor#StopExploitingActors#TheShowMustGoOn#IAmAnActorSA#SouthAfrica pic.twitter.com/o2auq7FckZ
Minister Nathi Mthethwa responded to her on Twitter to acknowledge receipt of the letter.
SEE THE TWEET HERE:
Good day Vatiswa, thank you for taking the time to write this letter. This is to confirm that it has been received. https://t.co/PI44pgsKa1— Min. Nathi Mthethwa (@NathiMthethwaSA) October 7, 2019
Other well-known actors such as Sello Maake KaNcube, Florence Masebe, Kgomotso Christopher, Anga Makubalo and Tony Kgoroge have come out in support of the plight of the actress on social media.
Vatsiwa did an interview with Newzroom Afrika on Monday to speak about the letter she penned.
WATCH IT HERE:
Spotlight on Arts And Culture. Are South African entertainers short changed?— Newzroom Afrika (@Newzroom405) October 7, 2019
Award-winning actress Vatiswa Ndara (@theVati_Can) who penned an open letter to the Minister of sports, Arts and Culture to voice her concern on the issue joined us in studio.#NewzAtPrime #Newzroom405 pic.twitter.com/jZSseO9YUA
The Fergusons and Ferguson Films have not commented publicly on the letter.
Several attempts by Channel24 to contact The Fergusons and Ferguson Films were unsuccessful. This article will be updated should they reply.
Compiled by Leandra Engelbrecht.