‘Is it because I am a black woman?’ – Chomee denies receiving millions from NAC

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Singer Chomee during a performance at the  annual South African Music Awards (SAMA24) in 2018.
Singer Chomee during a performance at the annual South African Music Awards (SAMA24) in 2018.
Frennie Shivambu/Gallo Images

She's been making headlines – but unfortunately, it's been for all the wrong reasons.

Last week the Daily Sun reported Kwaito star Chomee’s company, Divatainment received funding of R2 million from the National Arts Council (NAC) fund.

Since then, she's refuted the claims, first through an Instagram post and now through an official statement.

In her statement, Chomee denies ever getting a cent from the NAC.

“It is falsely reported that I received R2 million and to date I have not received a cent in my name for this project. Why would a journalist not double-check such basic information with the NAC before believing their so-called faceless sources?” she wrote in a statement.

In the Daily Sun article, a source claimed that "according to her NAC proposal, the funds were meant for a project called Online Broadcasting Development Programme. But that project never saw the light of day. Instead, she used the money for her personal use”.

The source told the newspaper that Chomee bought herself a new car as soon as she received the money.

Chomee says she has not received any payment, and she asks why she is the victim of "bad journalism".

“I was affected by the lockdown like all other practitioners and lost a lot of work. Why then am I under this scrutiny? Is it because a black woman is not deserving of a R2 million funding? Is it because a black woman cannot manage money or projects meant to empower other black women in the industry?

“The question I am asking myself is, what did I do that is wrong or different as an applicant to an open call for funding? Why am I in the newspapers and newsrooms and being questioned for doing what others did?

“Is it because I am not deserving of funding, or because I am a black woman? The list released shows women of all races who applied for the funding got approved and some even received part payment, and no one is asking them anything. Were they asked who they dated before applying, or is it just me?,” her statement asks.

Chomee says she started in the industry as a six-year-old child and has graced stages all over the world while releasing albums, so her journey is well-known and documented.

“The PESP funding is for creating jobs opportunities and unfortunately no journalist has to date asked me how many jobs I am planning to create and where these will be created and who the intended beneficiaries are.

“I hope that one day in this country women will be respected for who they are and not be treated and defined through the lens and eyes of men, but be seen for who they are, for the work they do and the contribution they make to society without being attached to men,” Chomee says.

Read more| Millions meant for artists relief fund 'disappear’

The NAC funding debacle is yet to be resolved. There are currently artists staging a sit-in at its Newtown offices in protest of the funding process and the alleged disappearance of millions.

In a status meeting held by NAC on Friday, the council revealed that two senior members had resigned and they are known to the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa. Reasons for their departure were not made clear but again they were said to be known to the minister. 

Even though the NAC keeps reassuring that the monies will be paid out, artists aren't convinced.

Chomee – real name Thulisile Madihlaba – is a former artist under 999 records, which is owned by Arthur Mafokate.

Arthur was also implicated in the article and companies linked to him were reported to have benefitted almost R10 million from the NAC fund.

He addressed these claims in his own statement last week Friday.

Read more| ‘I have not received any monies from NAC’ – Arthur Mafokate on R10 million allegations

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