The ones that we do not see!

5 Dec


On Tuesday evening I was invited to give the keynote address at an event hosted by Hlanganisa Institue for Development in Southern Africa and The Joint Gender Fund.
The event was to celebrate their 10th-year anniversary as well as release the toolkit and address the topic of amplifying the voices of women with disability and affected by gender-based violence.
The topic of my speech highlighted the fact that people with disabilities are aften forgotten or hidden and therefore neglected, which is in itself another form of abuse. I spoke on topics related wo a personal story that included the life and abuse of a family member.

The evening was an absolute eye opener for me as I had the opportunity of meeting some of our hidden warriors. On arrival, we sat in the reception area, meeting and greeting the guests and panelists I managed to engage with Mme Bridgette Dhlamini who shared her frustration of being booked into a Johannesburg hotel that claims to have wheelchair access but in fact, it does not.

Mme Bridgette Dhlamini

The event was compered by the powerful Vangile Gantsho, she also gave an incredibly thought-provoking poetry performance. Her work can be found via


The opening remarks were given by the Director of Hlenganisa Institute for development In Southern Africa, Bongiwe Ndondo.

My warrior sister Miranda Lephoko, form the National Council of and for People with Physical Disability shared her testimony of how our system failed her and left her paralyzed and wheelchair bound. She was in an abusive marriage and chose to leave the matrimonial home after he threatened to kill her. She shared the story of how she would have to work long hours and when she refused sex with her husband as she was tired, he would accuse her of having an affair. This jealous behaviour led to him going through her phone messages and calls. One night, whilst taking a bath she heard smashing sounds that came from the living room, She walked out and saw that he smashed their furniture and galssware with a kitchen knife. He then proceeded to threaten to kill her. She knew then that she had to play it safe but would have to leave home. That night she managed to calm him down and they slept. On the next day, she went to work with her toothbrush and face cloth hidden in her bag. She informed her family and they went to see the damage of the home. They agreed that she should leave the husband. Whilst living with her parents, her husband called her to tell her about a supposed geyser problem that was at the house. She then went the next day and was escorted by work colleagues. On arrival, she found that he had changed the locks on the front door, as she was about to leave, he arrived and had a gun and threated to kill her.
Her collegues who were sitting in the car on the side of the road saw what was happening and called the police immeditaly. Unfortunately, the police did not arrive. They then called her father who arrived and seemed​ to defuse​ the situation.

As they were walking to her father’s​ car, she tried to enter the passenger door but it was locked, so she waited for her father to enter the car and unlock​ the door. At that moment​,​ she saw that her husband was pointing​ his gun at her and the all she heard was a loud bang. When she woke up she found a dead weight body lying over her. Her husband had shot her three times and then shot himslef in his mouth thus killing himself. She then blacked out and slipped into a coma. On the day that she awoke from her coma, was the day that they buried her hsuband.
She saw that as a revelation from God taking him and giving her life. She then had to heal and then adapt to her new life as a woman​ in a wheel chair. As she was a succesful and vibrant woman before the crime ocurred, she has now made it her mission to eduacte people on abuse, women with disabilities and how to pick up the pieces when your life has been shattered.
“Being able to walk one day, and not being able to move the next was a difficult transition”.
DtlYLXeX4AEfyK4 Miranda Lephoko

The programmes Manager at HiDSA Chiedza Chagutah spoke on the research report, titled Amplifying the Voices of Women Disability Report. Some of the findings of the report included te following:
1. A lot of violence​ occurs in institutionalized​ centres and schools for learners with disabilities.
2. There​ is a lack of understanding of disability in relation to Gender Be violence.
3. GBV is often perpetuated by cultural beliefs and myths.
4. There is a lack of access to social services
The full toolkit will be distributed​ to NGOs across South Africa.

DtlhfP3WkAALJvO Chiedza Chagutah

The panel discussion​ led by Bongiwe Ndondo
The panelists​ included​ Commissioner​ Nomasonto Mazibuko from the Commission​n of Gender Equality South Africa, Bridgette Dlamini from Siyalungisa, an NGO based in KZN. Roseweter Mudarikwa of Network of African Women with Disabilities and Bongi Zuma of Create #GBVandDisability.

Commissioner​ Nomasonto Mazibuko says that we need to name and shame people who continue to violate women with disabilities​​​ so that they can be held accountable. Individuals, institutions, ​and companies all together must account​ for their ill treating “In Africa,​ we are considered a cure and gems when it suits them and a curse when they feel like it”. Such myths have led to mutilation, where our bodies parts are used for muti. She also stated that albinism is considered ​a disability even though it is a genetic skin condition.

Mme Bridgettte Dhlamini ​ ​said that the African proverb of Ubuntu, which ‘translates I am because you are’, no longer exists and has been replaced by individualism​​m. “Where people no​ longer​r care about or for women with disability. Instead,​ there is more abuse. She gave a harrowing testimony of how on her last trip from KZN to Johannesburg she was booked on a Mango flight. All went well and she arrived safely. On the day she was to return to KZN, she was told by ground staff that she was not allowed to travel as passengers who are wheelchair bound needed a chaperone in order to fly. This, of course, caused her a delay of four hours. Fortunately, after waiting at the desk, friends of hers who were also traveling that day came to check in and then agreed to assist as the chaperone.

Roseweter Mudarikwe says that women in the Human Rights Movement need to stand and speak for women with disabilities, they need to help the blind and the partially blind women get fair trials and proper access to justice.S ​he gave testimonies of how partially impaired and blind women are abused by so-called​ caregivers​. When they complain to officials they are then told that they are being ungrateful as these people are going out of their way to assist​ them, despite the fact that they are abusing them. She also shared stories of when these women went to report the crime they received​ secondary victimization​ from police officers who the asked questions such as:
What did he look like, can​ you describe him?
What race was he?
Did he have a mustache​?
Blind and visually​ impaired​ women have often been raped​ and mugged on the road after recieving their grant money and nobody helps them.

Bongi Zuma shared stories of how women with disabilities are raped​ and the police do not assist​​with opening​ cases. This then leads to the​ rapists​ taunting and intimidating them, as they know they hold the power. She also spoke to the fact that members​ from the deaf community had problems with opening​ cases at police stations as the there was a lack​ of tolerance from police officials. As they cannot speak and the police do not know sign langauge, they attempt to write. In one​ case the survivor was labeled​ as a fool. We need to take into consideration that blind people​ learn to ​sign and are often not word perfect especially​ in a language​ that they do not speak.

The event was closed with a​ vote of thanks from HiDSA Board member and CEO of Soul City SA, Lebo Ramafoko. She reflected on the Research Report, and how the toolkit and training manual will be instrumental to organisations that cater to​ women with disabilities.
​ ​​​
For more information​​ contact​:
+27 65 965 0289.


Moving SWIFTly along!!

3 Dec

My three passions in life are Women, Africa, and the arts. I trained through POWA (people opposing women abuse) over 17 years ago and ever since I have been using my knowledge, expertise, and experience to create awareness on abuse and help survivors.
In 2015 I gave up acting after an unfortunate incident, which can be read here:

After I resigned, I received an influx of private messages from actresses who had worked with the same particular producer and thanked me, as they had received the same treatment, some were fired and some succumbed to the demands. The unfortunate reality is that women have suffered for centuries by having to prove themselves, the couch audition is very real and often actresses are expected to perform sex acts just to get ahead. I worked extensively with SAGA on the matter and they have really been a pillar of strength and support not only on a personal level but they have been credible in their work ethic and standpoint. In 2018 I met with the new management of the same production house who were horrified at the findings and the matter are resolved effectively and I feel satisfied as I know their sets will be safe for artists and crew to work on.

At the beginning of the year, I was alerted to a disturbing tweet regarding a fellow industry player. My blog on the matter can be found here:

When I wrote that particular article I was concerned but also I felt guilty as many years back the accused called me a cock teaser after I got out of a very comfortable situation that he deliberately put us in. I knew that the time would be right to support the survivors as for a long time I felt that perhaps if I had ousted him then, perhaps I could have saved so many other rapes.
I then made the decision to contact SWIFT, through Sara Blecher. They assured me that they had been waiting for my call despite knowing where I was they never made the initial contact.
SWIFT- Sisters Working in Film & TV started the organization in 2016.

Charl Blignaut from City Press newspaper contacted me for an interview and I was in two minds to share my story as a few days prior I had spoken to a SWIFT representative who suggested that I do not go public. I sat on the decision and then I decided that as an activist I owed it to the other survivors and I participated in the article:

After the whole process, I realized that I had not dealt with that period effectively and reading up on the other survivor’s stories, I was triggered as I was still dealing with a separate trauma, I was raped nearly 20 years ago but never did anything about it and I purposely suppressed it. These triggers led to anxiety and elevated my fibromyalgia. A condition that I was diagnosed with after suffering from PTSD. I knew then that I would have to deal with my inner conflict and pain but I needed to gain as much support emotionally and psychologically. So I needed help and felt that SWIFT would be able to supply us with the necessary support as one of their mandates was tackling the sexual harassment in the industry. PTSD and these illnesses and triggers are very common to survivors of sexual harassment, rap, and abuse.

I began working with Aliki, Natalie, and Sara and agreed to be part of a panel at an event which was meant to be a safe space, the invite is below. My assistance to them included interviews, meetings and using my own resources, as an activist I was glad to assist.


The panel included experts from the legal fraternity ad myself.
At the event Carolyn Carew, whom I knew as a revered and professional producer stood up and read out a written testimony, pouring out her heart. I truly felt for her story and after she was done, I even said that she needed to find healing. She had stated that she did know about the allegations against Khalo Matabane and had subsequently fired him from her company and seemed to be more worried about the release of her new movie. He had directed that particular film along with a number of others. Her major concern was that she would lose a lot of money.

A few days after the event, I then met with Sara, Carolyn, and members from SAGA on working out a way forward. The meeting was held at Sara’s home. I had mentioned in the meeting that I had sent an email to the IPO (independent producers organisation) for a response on the matter and that i was waiting to hear back. I also shared some of my strategy forward, regarding our reporting and legal route. At this pont in time, I had no idea that Carolyn was in fact the chair person of the IPO and when I shared my plans she did inform me that she was the one who had received the complaint. A few days later we received a repsone from IPO and stating that Khalo was not a member, I was initially satisfied but I then I discovered that he might not have been a member but his business artner, Carolyn was the chair and had orchestrted the mail.
We managed to obtain proof of this below:


All the while I had been assisting and supporting survivors who had shared their stories publically as well as many others who did not want to reveal their identity. This is a common factor in these cases as survivors fear intimidation and in my case blacklisted as an actress, as you are seen as being diffiuclt and too opinionated. I still respect their deicon and I still believe them and I will support the to the grave.

A few months later many people questioned me as to why Carolyn had not made a public statement on the matter. It was then that I learned that she in fact was not his employer but a business partner as he was the director of her films and a director in the business and held a percentage in the production company. I was also awakened to the fact that she had orchestrated the IPO response but failed to mention it in the private meeting that was held at Sara house. This was worrying.
One of the survivors contacted Sara and asked these questions and Sara’s response was that the press release had been issued. In a private email to Sara and the survivor, I questioend this. Please read below. Please note I have omitted the last part of the email as it incuded perosnal infomtion on one of the other survivors and I shared with Sara as I believed it to be safe.

Greetings Ladies,

I hope you are well.

I wanted to write to both of you at the same time, as I believe in transparency.

Firstly, I wanted to thank both of you for your support and allowing me the platforms to push my passion and activism, the industry really needs that energy and force.

I do believe that moving forward, we need clarity on certain things so we are all on the same page. We cannot allow ourselves to become divided on this as it will dilute our fight.

With regard to the Khalo issue:

1. A few survivors will be opening cases but we are working on a few logistics and Inge and myself will share that with SWIFT when the time is right.
As per my previous mail, we wanted to know if SWIFT would stand in solidarity with us, yourself and Aliki replied, saying that the decision would be made by the board. I respect that and I will wait for that response.

2. The AGM. I believe the AGM has been moved for logistics reason. The time that it was meant to happen was 11h00 thus excluding many JHB and CT members as they would prefer to have it after hours. There will be an alternative meeting that will take place. As per my previous mail to Sara, please let me know what the agenda is, as I was planning to travel but if it is not that important then I can Skype through.

3. The Carolyn issue. This has come up on many social media streams as well as conversations that I have had with Inge. Carolyn did speak out the issue at the JHB meeting but I have not gone public on her speech as the meeting and space was a sacred one. It was a safe space for us women to unleash, share and find healing. It would be wrong and disrespectful for me to publicly make those announcements. This has then led to a number of filmmakers believing that SWIFT is protecting Carolyn and indirectly Khalo, as they are unaware that she has removed herself from Khalo. I am not sure how you plan to make this public but perhaps ask if you can make her comment public and then notify the other members that you have received that permission. This is to ensure that the other members still feel safe.

There was a response to some of the areas, but there was no mention on my response on the Khalo issue.

After continually​ asking this question I soon felt unsafe as I shared a lot of private information​ via email regarding​ our strategy, legal route etc.
I then decided to distance myself​ from Swift and the email is below, once​ again I have omitted the end part of the mail as it contains confidential information on one of the survivors and her well being.

From: Rosie Motene
Date: Monday, August 6, 2018 at 9:23 AM
To: Aliki Saragas
Cc: Sara Blecher,​ Natalie Haarhoff
Subject: Re: distance from swift


I hope you are all well.

I would like to inform you that from a personal standpoint I will be distancing myself from SWIFT.

I regarded this as a safe space as well as our jhb meeting. I understand your loyalty to Carolyn and her company but my concern is for the survivors.
With the IPO statement,​ Carolyn did not disclose that she had orchestrated the response. Her response at the jhb meeting was met with concern and as I told her she needed to heal. I then discovered that response was shared publicly, as a participant of the meeting, I find it concerning as we were not informed. What else was made public? Remember you declared it as a safe space.


A few weeks after my​ email was sent I was invited to an interview on a TV show called Daily Theta. There I​ met with Zoe Ramushu who told me that she had received​d my mail and that she would respond. I was surprised at what she said as in the past few months I had never met with her and all my email and telephonic and personal corresponadne had been with Sara, Natalie and Aliki.

Response from Zoe through the SWIFT board:
On 22 Aug 2018, at 18:48, Chiriseri Studios wrote:

Good day Rosie,

I’m so glad we met and were able to chat. As per our conversation,​ I’d just wanted to reach out formally as SWIFT to just apologize for the ways in which some of the issues around Khalo were handled.

We are so proud of the women who spoke up and started the wave of more women speaking up- we fully support and stand by them. We do believe our actions showed our support- by the statement we put out (albeit a bit slow), the event we set up, with your help, as well as engaging and facilitating connections to help the survivors who reached out to us. However, we do acknowledge that in all these actions there were some mistakes made from which we are taking our learnings from.

Essentially as I mentioned, SWIFT is an organization made up of volunteers, the majority of whose backgrounds are in film & television. If I’m absolutely transparent it varies between 5-7 of the same women depending who’s not on a project or burnt out. None of us in the team have any experience with trauma counseling or legal advising re: sexual crimes. As such we always intended to be a place people could reach out to and be connected with organizations who are trained and qualified to deal in this sensitive area- ie LHR, Lifeline, POWA partnerships.

We must acknowledge that in our haste to protect and help the victims who spoke up, we began engaging directly with them when untrained and this is potentially more damaging- but in all honesty Rosie when there is someone who has been brave enough to step up and contact you it’s difficult to tell them the technicalities such as – LHR hasn’t responded to our emails yet so please wait till they do -for example. Natural instinct is to jump in and help a fellow womxn/human.

That said we are vigorously working to put in place all our partnerships so everyone who comes forward can be helped by trained professionals. Simultaneously we are working on our policy document which will outline exactly what to expect from SWIFT in future situations so that we don’t experience a crisis of expectation, as we discussed.

In terms of a safe space being violated – this is something we are deeply sorrowful about as we have worked tirelessly over the last two years to create a safety net precisely for survivors. On this issue I couldn’t correctly articulate how the safe space was violated to the rest of the board. If you could kindly expand on how we ensure that a safe space that we create remains safe even after the event- so in future this doesn’t happen.

The board has made a decision that SWIFT will focus on the programmes we have developed around policy and strategies that structurally change the industry to make it better for womxn rather than create the expectation that we can help individual womxn through their crisis – we cannot deliver on this. We will be concentrating our efforts on the Pledge Campaign, the Code of Conduct we have developed being as widely adopted, lobbying government around these issues in partnership with CALS and SAGA as well as the Safety Officer Campaign going forward. We believe this is a critical intervention and one we can work on.

In addition to this we wil,​l continue to create partnerships and relationships with other organizations that can assist so that we can act as a referral – in terms of connecting these women to other resources that may be able to help them.

Finally,​ I really do appreciate you saying that we must clarify what exactly SWIFT offers so that all the good work we have done over the last two years does not get sidelined. We unequivocally support and stand with the victims and will continue to do so via statements and any other measures we can but we do respect your need to step back in this particular case. I’m so glad that we can work together going forward after this case is finalized and that the relationship is not lost as we value your knowledge and input and you as a person so much.

This battle has just begun and we will need each other to truly put an end to all the violence. We are so happy to have you in our corner.

Zoe Ramushu (On Behalf of the SWIFT Board)

Chiriseri Studios

My response:
On Thu, 23 Aug 2018 at 09:18, Rosie Motene wrote:


Thank you for the email.

I believe in transparency so I will be honest from the start. It was lovely seeing you the other day on the ​set of Daily Theta​, but I have to say I was rather surprised when you apologised for not responding to my mail. I was surprised as I had never addressed you as I was not aware that you are the spokes person. I had sent all of my emails to Aliki, Natalie, ​and Sara. I thank you for this mail and apology.

As per our conversation, my areas of concern were as follows:

1. Swift approach to the Khalo Matabane case, thank you have addressed it. I will not discuss this​ further as it is now a legal matter and I will only confide in my counsellor and lawyer.

2. Swift transparency with Carolyn Carew- I see you have not addressed this at all. At the meeting that SWIFT called, which was supposed to be a safe space for women. Carolyn opened up about her anxiety around the issue. I really felt her pain but was taken aback ​at the testimony. In our meeting at the Daily Thetaha studio, you even agreed that you were surprised by it and was not aware that she was going to speak. With that said, there was a lot of crucial information that had not been shared in her testimony. I say testimony as we were in a sacred space, created by SWIFT. She did not share that Khalo I was not an employee but actually a 33% shareholder​ in her company, she did not mention that her testimony was,​ in fact,​a statement and that it would be made public. These are also areas which were not shared with those present.
A few weeks back Ingeborg Lichtenberg included me in an email sent to Sara, addressing these iss​ues and I also responded stating that yes Carolyn spoke up about distancing her self but since it was in a safe space, it was not my permission or right to share the information. I have attached a scene grab of the email. I did not get a response on most of those facts and areas of concern. Since it was one of my major issues in our personal conversation and you have evaded it in this mail, sends major warning signs to me.

3. Regarding your set up as an organization​, as I said in original chat, perhaps you should position yourself as an organisation that can help and promote women in film, since you do not have the capacity to help women on other areas. Granted you have the contact with Lifeline and the lawyers but on request about the lawyers, I was told that you were working on the issue and waiting to get a collective group of survivors so we could have a united front. I said that I would try with a another lawyer. Since I did not get feedback from you, I have aligned with another lawyer, whom I will keep confidential, until the case goes to court. The reason for this is that one of my sources confided in me that she was aware of my plans, which means somebody on that email shared the information.

A few weeks back and as per the email sent to the other ladies, I shared that myself and Inge were going to open a case and we wanted support from SWIFT, the response was that the decision would have to come from the board. I respected that but did not receive any more feedback.

With the volunteers and people using their own time for the organisorganization​ally understand that. My activism does not bring in cash and is packaged with a lot of long hours, anxiety and trauma. It is something that not everyone can do and so do not feel bad if you cannot but my suggestion is do not pretend to do so. The activism space is a very scared and respected space. I gave off my time freely to SWIFT as I believed there was transparency, I will continue to do so with organisations that do so. The fact remains that at the second meeting that was held at Saras house, I spoke of the fact that I had called out IPO and I was waiting on a response. Once again, I was naive in believing that I was in a trusted space. Carolyn did not mention at all that she was in fact chairperson and that she would orchestrated the IPO response. I have attached that email proof.

On a personal note, I suggest that if any of your members have covered up on any sexual harassment allegations that occurred on their sets, they should come forward and acknowledge their wrongdoing​ and make an apology. I say this as there is a survivor who has claimed this and has proof, should this information go public, it could have negative implications for your brand. As I have been personally counseling​ survivors, at this point they are focusing on their healing, which I strongly advised the,. Let it be know there are many damaged souls out there, some who have tried to take their lives.

3. In response to how to engage with survivors, I respect your reply and once again as per our conversation, perhaps change your policy and let women know that you do not actually have the capacity, knowledge, ​and logistics to help women in those situations.
From POWA point of view. We had our quarterly meeting last Saturday and I presented my facts to the board and they stand with me and unfortunately we will not align ourselves with you, due to the lack of transparency and breach in safe​ space.
In response to your comment regarding safe spaces:
On this issue​,​​ I couldn’t correctly articulate how the safe space was violated to the rest of the board. If you could kindly expand on how we ensure that a safe space that we create remains safe even after the event- so in future this doesn’t happen.
As we discussed, I said that Carolyn’s testimony was never told to us that it would be shared as a press statement. This violates the aim of the safe meeting, which you had put on the invite. At the bottom of the invite it was written, NO press or recordings. That means that the information shared there would remain confidential.

In conclusion, I stand with my intention to distance myself from the organization​​n and as I stated, POWA will not be aligned either. I know that in our conversation I said that possibly in the future we could work together, unfortunately since you have managed to sideline my main concerns I can honestly say you do NOT have me in your corner. I will continue to do work with SAGA and I am sure our paths will cross but please let it be known​ that you can no longer use my name image or brand in any of your discussions, marketing etc.

In solidarity,​ I stand!!!
I still waited for the information​ to be shared but it was not. I then saw that SWIFT posted an additional post on Sexual HHarassment​but had not included any information on support from an NGO.

So what are my issues?

1. As Sara and Zoe have continuously stated that they are a ​bunch​ of filmmakers who are volunteering their time, they are not activists. This is despite the fact that Zoe accepted the title of an activist​t at the Joburg film festival panel discussion. I respect them as filmmakers and salute them for their accoldaes but they need to acknowledg that the sensitivity and sanctity of working with surviors are​ important and they need to take a stance on that. After all,​ when I originally​ came on board I volunteered​ my resources, shared our strategy​, used my own account to travel​ back and forth between meetings and interviews for them. As an activist,​ these are normal actions that we do plus we have to endure the intimidation​ and security aspects attached to the work that we do. It is not a glamorous​ job and often shows no immediate rewards but requires passion, commitment, ​and loyalty. I gave my ideas of raining finnace to host workshops, as that seemed to be the major concern.

2. In an interview​ on radio​ 702 with Joanne Joseph on Friday 30 November, Zoe said that she had engaged POWA through me, that is a lie as I had contacted​ Sara initially​​. They said that they have a connection​ with Lifeline, this is for one counselling session. Survisovrs of rape need​ more that​ one telephonic conversation.
The interview can be heard here:

3. I was told that I would have access to legal​ help and on two occasions, Sara informed me that they were​ getting a team together, that never transpired. The only time we s survivors received advice was when their rep said we should not talk publicly​ about our trauma. Due to the urgency of the matter, which is an important​ factor within the activism space, I then made use of my personal​ legal team. For the record the same person​ contacted​ one of the other survivors and advised not to report the case, there was no strategy​ attached to her comments. The survivor contacted me as she did not feel comfortable with the call.

4. I believe that SWIFT has​ excelled in the​ skills development and workshop aspect and we salute them for that. In terms of the activism​ space, they need assistance​ yet their argument is that they​​ are just filmmakers​. So as filmmakers​ do what you know​ best and do not try and undermine our questions and pain. This was mentioned a number of times at the acting indaba, which was held on 28 November in Johannesburg. In my talk at the same event, I pointed out to Sara that they had failed us as survivors​ ​and​ they needed to do what​ was right. The next day on the radio interview​, Zoe claimed​ that it was resolved. How was it resolved? At the same Indaba they bragged how they had traveled​ around the world sharing the​ work that they have done, this is fantastic​ as it has given them visibility but I​​ also see it as window dressing and​ dangerous as they have not begun to handle the sensitive​ and pressing issues that they claim to​ care about.

A way forward:
Continue to succeed in addressing the practical​ issues of the industry. Share their strategy​​ of how to deal with members​ who are involved and implicated​ ​in sexual​ harassment​ or rape cases. Please,​ could you stop claiming​ to be activists​ when it suits​ you then when called out call yourselves filmmakers who are volunteering​​g services?​ Choose your roles​ and battles effectively.

As I​ stated we all respect​ your accolades​ as filmmakers​ and perhaps stick to that and leave the activism to organizations​​s​​ that can effectively handle cases of rape, sexual harassment​, ​and abuse.
At the Joburg film festival panel, Gail Smith asked pertinent​​ questions about the particular​ case and addressed the concern around calling yourselves, ​activists. She also made an offer to assist​ you. I strongly​ suggest you take up that support as you cannot continue to fail survivors.

For assistance​ with abuse, shelter or counseling​ contact POWA

Aluta Continua!!!

​​ ​​​​​​

Sheila nyota kuangaza- Sheila is a shinning star.

13 Nov

sheila 1

The past Friday evening I attended the opening of the Joburg Film Festival which was held at the Hyatt Hotel in Johannesburg. The opening film was Rifiki Wanuri Kahiu.

Background on the film:
Rafiki, means Friend, is a Kenyan feature film that is directed by Wanuri Kahiu. Rafiki is the story of friendship and tender love that grows between two young women, Kena and Ziki, amidst family and political pressures. Without giving too much away, the story is about two beautiful souls who fall in love with each other but suffer abandonment due to the homophobic ideologies of their country. The film is set up against the colourful and vibrant streets of Nairobi, intertwining the beautiful landscape with the crazy and fast Kenyan lifestyle​. The story is beautiful, raw and real. Every character of the film tell their own stories and reveal their ideologies of life in Africa and their attitudes towards homosexuality. The writer and director narrated the beautiful love story in such a dynamic way, where you find yourself laughing, crying and feeling their angst, pain and emotional journeys. I love the way in which the director used the different elements of colours to illustrate the feminine powers of the two main characters. The love scenes were filmed in such a magnificent way that reflected the innocence and passion of the actors involved.
The story is not just about a lesbian relationship it allows us access into the politics of East Africa, how homophobic ideologies run through society and churches, the film is about friendship, jealousy and coming of age.


I was really taken by the two lead actresses, Sheila Munyiva and Samantha Mugatsia. I had the great pleasure of meeting Sheila as she was in the country for the festival.
We sat down a few days after the premiere to chat and see what synergies we could create as women, activists, ​and storytellers.
It is no secret that I have an obsession with East Africa, I think it is about the beautiful culture and etiquette that runs through their communities and lives. When meeting Sheila one on one, her beauty, grace, ​and intellect shone through her bubbly personality and smile.
Sheila is Kenyan born, who discovered acting​ by default as she was working as a casting assistant​. She was approached by the director to play the role in the film and like a true professional​l she threw herself into the role and position that it required. Sheila shared how she received assistance from an acting coach before diving into the role and like a true thespian, she did her additional research on her character by engaging in dialogue with the LGBTQI community of Kenya. I salute the bravery of the cast and crew for working on such an important project. The film was banned by the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) which stated: ”due to its homosexual theme and clear intent to promote lesbianism in Kenya contrary to the law”. The KFCB warned that anyone found in possession of the film would be in breach of the law in Kenya, where gay sex is punishable by 14 years in jail. The ban raised international outrage by the supporters of LGBT rights.
The film’s director, Wanuri Kahiu, sued Kenya’s government, to allow the film to be screened and become eligible to be submitted as Kenya’s entry for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards. On 21 September 2018, the Kenyan High Court lifted the ban on the film, allowing it to be screened in the country for seven days, therefore meeting the eligibility requirements. After the ban was lifted, the film was shown to a sold-out crowd at a cinema in Nairobi. The film has traveled​ to Cannes film festival and Sheila shared that when returning home, the cast and director all took different flights home to ensure they would not be arrested by Kenyan officials.

Now back to the dynamic Sheila. As I mentioned she is an actress but her interests are vast and include communications, writing, casting, ​and entrepreneurship. She says that she driven by making a difference. ‘Growing up, I would look around and see so many things that I thought were unfair and that if done in a different way, things would be better. As a child, there’s not much that I could have done but now as a young black woman, all the power rests in my hands and I can make a difference. 
My true passion in life is acting, activism and filmmaking.’

She knows that her brand can be used as a vessel to carry so many messages and create awareness in​ many communities.
She is motivated by her mother and grandmother, Sir Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Libya, our own Nomzamo Mbatha a great woman, actor and speaker and my friend Moana Luu who is the head of Essence magazine.

She believes in pushing women empowerment not only for Kenyans but for Africa as a whole. As she encompasses all my passions, women, Africa and the arts, my next step was to ask what synergies we could create.
I am honoured that she has accepted my offer to be part of the Waka family. We aim to promote her as an actress, speaker, ​and activist for the continent and the world at large.
With her passion, talent and drive, the brand Sheila Munyiva will definitely light up the entertainment world, challenge archaic ideologies and she will be the voice for so many voiceless women.

Sheila nyota kuangaza- translated from Kiswahili, Sheila is a shining​ star.

Patrice Juah: The humble voice from Liberia.

25 Oct

WAKA 1-1.jpg

According to the Urban Dictionary​, the meaning of the name Patric​e​ is a girl, who is humble, classy, meek, and wise. She’s beautiful in her own unique way, but her heart is radiant and blessed. She is basically without flaw that the human eye or ear could detect, but she doesn’t realize that, even though she has a healthy level of confidence about herself. She knows who she is and she chooses her words carefully before she speaks. She believes in uplifting and encouraging a sad and downtrodden or confused soul. She’s a peacemaker and a success at life and love.

This is an accurate description of my sister, and client Patrice Juah.

Patrice is a global citizen but reigns from Monrovia, Liberia. We first met in 2011, when our agency were casting in Accra for the Nigerian soapie, Tinsel. Patrice wears a number of hats from Radio personality, author, poet, activist, speaker, model and designer. This powerful warrior​ has a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications, an advanced certificate in Fashion Design, and a certificate in Business & Entrepreneurship. She is also a Mandela Washington Fellow of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI)

Patrice is dedicated to changing Liberia’s image within the international community. She strives to motivate and empower young women by supporting several local non-profit organisations’ efforts in educating women on topics such as HIV/AIDs, teenage pregnancy, education, and workforce development.
She is also the Founder and Managing Director of Moie, an ethnic brand promoting Liberia’s textile industry and creative sector, while empowering rural weavers and artisans


She has just completed her second book, titled Under Ducor Skies.
Under Ducor Skies is a reflective journey across lost childhood, war, arduous youth, and caged dreams, to a time of soaring peace, where bullets are finally silenced, with an even greater battle left to silence within. In a town that is a shadow of its previous self, and everything around you tells you that you’ll fail, how do you keep the shredded pieces of hope alive?

Under Ducor Skies mirrors life in its various forms—love, growth, adventure, everyday happenings and experiences of people, near and far – known and unknown. You’ll be entertained, inspired, provoked, and pushed to think beyond the layers of what seems ordinary. It is a voyage of dreamers and wanderers, who’ve held onto the tattered threads of their dreams; pushing beyond limitations and challenges, to make something of themselves.

Readers will be given a front row seat into Ducor, the city of dreams, through the author’s lens. They’ll enjoy the openness, depth, vulnerability, and ease with which she shares each poem. Together, they’ll open old scars, mend wounds, laugh, cry, heal and rise. The girl power-themed poems are particularly armed with the right ingredients to give any woman, or girl, back her power, and inspire her to elevate to her most authentic and exceptional self. Leave all your worries, fears and doubts at the door of this book, losing yourself in every page, exploring, rediscovering and emerging as a wholesome you. It’s time to weave stories we’ve long held close to our hearts; those that inspire, challenge, and keep us thriving, in spite of all the crooked paths we tread Under Ducor Skies.

To gain access to her work or services as a speaker or emcee contact​ us,


24 Oct

My three passions in life are Women, Africa, and the arts.

My activism career started over 15 years ago when I did my training through POWA, I have used my personal​ brand to create awareness on abuse and issues pertaining to women. I not only share my knowledge that I learned through the training but I share my personal experiences on how the abuse affected me. My aim has and always will be to create awareness, let others know that they are not alone and that the abuse is not their fault, all of this connected to the fact that it has been patriarchal ideologies that have supported and protected perpetrators. We have to redefine our rights and enforce gender equality.

Building​ my personal​ brand.
When I started my career we do not have direct access to PR gurus or marketing specialists who could guide us and those that did, paid top dollar for their services. I built my brand on knowing and understanding my craft, faith, discipline, dedication and passion. I made a tremendous amount of mistakes, partnered with wrong people, diluted my brand as I did not value myself enough and often second guessed my personal​ talent and ability. I value and treasure all those lessons. I have learned that building a brand and becoming an entrepreneur comes with a lot of challenges and frustrations but​ there are also many rewards. It has taught me to push through those boundaries, even when met with resistance. I remember when I was still acting on the soapie, Generations, I wanted to seek a car sponsorship and I naively approached BMW South Africa. My application was denied immediately and I was told that they do not sponsor non-sports people. So I then decided to visit a BMW car dealership in Bryanston, with my then partner. He suggested​ that I just buy one and forget about the sponsorship. I partly took his advice. As I entered the dealership I noticed that there were very few Black people walking in and out as buyers, I engaged with my friends who lived in that area and who drove BMW’s​ and asked where they had purchased their vehicles. Almost all of them directed me to the Black owned dealership downtown. As much as I wanted to support that dealership, I also wanted to prove a point. So I boldly revisited the​ dealership in Bryanston, sought out my vehicle and applied for finance and bought a vehicle off the showroom​ floor. I felt I needed to prove that as a young black woman, I had the ability and power to purchase the vehicle and perhaps the dealership needed to relook their strategy.
A year later I formed a partnership with a woman​ who could assist​ with a concrete​​ proposal and we approached the dealership that I bought my car from and we proposed a sponsorship deal, based on my facts and experience. This was in 2004 and we originally proposed the deal for six months, my contract was continuously extended till 2007. Every six months I upgraded my car to the new 3- series and had the opportunity of test-driving all the new series when they were launched.

The WAKA flame:
My love for the continent began when I started exploring Africa as a TV presenter and producer. I founded my Pan African talent agency, WAKA TALENT AGENCY in 2011. WAKA means to ​shine in Ki-Swahili​. I discovered that there was a gap for representation across the continent, I also saw it as an opportunity to create projects and synergies with other media practitioners in South Africa and globally. At present Waka Talent agency have a footprint​ in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Angola, Botswana, DRC, Uganda. Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana, Liberia, ​and Nigeria. We represent TV and radio personalities, speakers, emcees, ​and brand ambassador and influencers. A few of my clients are musicians and models in their own right but we do not handle those contracts nor do we search for that type of work. I often asked if that will be my next move and my answer is no. No, I do not wish to tackle that side of the industry as firstly, I respect that craft and with that aspect comes my second reason, I have no first-hand​ knowledge of it. As a manager,​ I,​ need to understand and know the craft, discipline​, ​ and experience that comes with it.

These are a few of our Pan-African clients

Nurturing the talent
Being an award-winning​​g actress, TV and radio personality award winning film producer, ​and a revered TV producer, I have the ability to provide concrete advice and knowledge in that sector of the industry. As much as I respect the model and music industry, I have never worked down the ramp (professionally) nor have I recorded a song. So why would I have the authority of managing that career?
The moral of this story is that you need to know your brand, work and be passionate about it. When creating collaborations​, always look at what value the two parties​​s bring to the table. There always needs to be a value added beefits to all parties involved.

Time to PASTE.
As we are still focusing on TV and radio personalities and building brands and connecting them with global brands, we also plan to work with other entrepreneurs and artisans who have the Pan African vision and believe in the artistic spirit.
Brand value is not just about designing a logo, it is about a philosophy and a vision. I see the two concepts as one. As my vision and passion is led and dominated by my Pan African dream, I have looked to work with entrepreneurs who seek and live by that. Moving forward, we will be working closely with Paste Studios.

PASTE logo
Paste Studios is a Creative Agency: Specialising in Design, branding and Brand Identity. I do understand that there are many agencies who specialise in these concepts but very few are innovative and keen to understand the Pan African market.
I met the CEO and founder of PASTE STUDIOS Manqoba Nhlapo, at a regular entrepreneurial spot in Johannesburg. We first engaged in conversation last year but as I strongly believe in Gods timing, we only engaged in business discussions this year. His entrepreneurial vision is raw and real.
Many people have this romantic idea that entrepreneurial lifestyle is sexy and cool, with your Mac laptop, you sit at a coffee shop and the work rolls in. Yes,​ you need the laptop as that is our life, we often sit at coffee shops as we need the free wifi. Let us be honest data in SA is ridiculously expensive. We may seem content and cute with our cafe​​e lattes or Americano’s or whatever it is that we are drinking, but often we are sitting with that one cup the whole day long.
So whilst randomly entering our regular space, Manqoba and I started chatting about these exact entrepreneurial challenges. We spoke about how we would see the same faces in the​ public​ workplace but we do to know what we all do. The conversation led to the fact the biggest challenges that small companies and agencies have is that they lack the finance and therefore the resources. We agreed that small entities need assistance from big corporates but we should also look at our smaller entrepreneurial partners for synergies and assistance. We began to understand what our respective agencies do and what our visions are and saw the scope for partnership.

WAKA TALENT will work in conjunction wit PASTE STUDIO on creating platforms and projects that can project to our Pan African audience and climate. They have the design, brand value and knowledge, we have the talent, expertise, ​and clientele, we both are passionate about the PAN-AFRICAN​N dream.

Manqoba’s passion to to create and design as well as connecting people from our continent. His vision is for PASTE to become the frontier of innovative​ design in Africa. Collaborating with the best designers and talent​ too​ bring South African products to a world class standard. Their leading factor is that they have the ability to create and design spaces that will to enrich people and optimise human interactivity.

Our first collaboration will ve revealed soon but should you require any additional information on with agthe ​ency, feel free to contact us:

WAKA Talent agency:
+27 0102861935

PASTE studios:


Slim slam dunks in Phokeng.

22 Oct

Slim the gift of givers.

This past weekend was an incredibly proud and beautiful experience for me, as my client Jerome a.k.a Slim Du Plooy traveled through to Phokeng. ​He was booked through The JR NBA to emcee an event and we participated in a number of accompanying events. Prior to the event​, ​I organised a special surprise for a few scholars at one of the local schools in Phokeng.

My Bafokeng pride:
I was born to The Bafokeng nation, my family​ originates​​ from a small village called Phokeng. Prior to my birth, my mother was a domestic​ worker for a white Jewish​ family, they were based in Johannesburg​. After my birth​, I traveled​ to Johannesburg where I lived with my mother. After a few months of living there, her employers took it upon themselves to raise me as their own. The arrangement brought about great opportunities for me but also many sacrifices as I was not brought up to know my tradition and customs and therefore did not grow up in Phokeng. Fast forward to forty years later, after completing my autobiography, Reclaiming the Soil. My book took over a decade to write as it took me through a process of trying to find myself, reclaim and understand my African identity and reclaim my African pride. Part of my journey and new life choices is to get involved in uplifting and empowering my community of Phokeng. I have participated in a number of events and project with Matale Secondary school.

So when Jerome Du Plooy a.k.a Slim called me to tell me that he was buying​ shoes for scholars and that he wanted to hand them​ over to a school I automatically thought of Matale Secondary School. I contacted the principal and we set up the logistics for the handover. Handing over the shoes was a great idea but it is important for scholars to hear from other about the stages of success. As Slim started his life living way below the poverty line, he speaks from a place of inspiration and empowerment. He shares his​ journey and celebrates himself. He is blatantly honest when it comes to teenage pregnancy and is very passionate about teaching the youth that there is a time for people to have children and that focusing on education is key.

Who is Slim?
Jerome Du Plooy a.k.a Slim a revered emcee and motivational speaker. Slim grew up on the dusty streets of Kliptown, where​ he stayed in a one-roomed​ shack with his single mum. For nearly two decades he only knew of a life of poverty where he was used to living without electricity and running water. On the streets,​ he was taunted to join the fast and dangerous life of drugs and gangs. At some point,​ he chose that life and joined a gang who were involved in drug dealing​ and crime. Through the grace of God, he pulled himself out of a gang whilst on a drug run. It was through assistance from the NBA and Boston City Campus he was awarded two bursaries and studied towards his future.

Slim is now an accomplished actor, after featuring as a supporting role in Generations, Rhythm City, ​and Hope. Through​ the NBA, Slim has travelled across Africa and all the way to NYC as an emcee for the global sporting brand.

A few years back he founded The Slim Cares Foundation, through the foundation he wants to uplift and empower underprivileged​ children​. The foundation aims to ensure that these youth will have the same opportunities as those who come from welathy and privledged backgrounds. The foundation aims at providing basic and necessary tools and items for these youth, such as school​ shoes, advice, food, ​and clothes.

Slim Care Foundation.jpg

He has emceed a number of sporting events and this year he was hired again by NBA to host the League Finals through the JR NBA.

What is JR NBA?
The Jr. NBA is the official youth basketball participation program of the NBA. The Jr. NBA includes a free, membership-based program for existing youth basketball leagues/organizations. The membership is to help encourage and support youth basketball participation at the grassroots level and improve the overall youth basketball experience for all participants. The Jr. NBA aims to develop a lifelong passion for the game of basketball in boys and girls ages 6-14 by teaching them the fundamentals of the sport while instilling core values including teamwork, respect, ​and sportsmanship.

The shoes handover:

On the day of the handover, Slim was accompanied by his two friends and brothers form the Basketball world, Thabo and Junior.
Thabo Marotola is form Hoops 4 Hope and Mmoloke Junior is the head coach from Royal Bafokeng Sports and operates​ from theRoyal​l Bafokeng Palace.


Hoops 4 Hope provides the skills and support young people need to play team sports and face the many challenges of growing up in communities plagued with poverty, crime, and the HIV epidemic. Their dedicated team of MVP volunteers and All-Star​ staff are on the ground and help achieve long-lasting community benefits

All three gentleman shared their views on success, laughter, ​and entitlement. These uplifting words were well received by the learners present, the videos can be found via the Waka Agency Youtube channel:
Shoes Handover at Matale secondary School.

Thabo from RBS

Slim talking at Matale Secondary school

For more information or bookings from Slim or if you would like to get involved with the Slim cares Foundation, please do contact us:

Neliswa and Anele Mxakaza I believe you.

18 Oct


Neliswa and Anele Mxakaza I believe you.

In 2017 South Africa was woken up to another horrific case of rape and sexual trafficking. In my previous blog, I spoke of the so called man of God, Timothy Omotoso.

Just this week, the trail started and we watched how the young Cheryl Zondi took to the stand and shared how she lived a traumatic life of being kept captive and continuously raped by this despicable excuse of a human being.
When the case broke in 2017, many press outlets interviewed a number of people who were part of the church cult. There were two young twin sister, Neliswa and Anele Mxakaza, who initially denied any form of abuse and rape. This year they changed their statements and confessed that they too had lived in fear and spoke out about Omotoso demonic ways. ​
They issued the following statement:

For immediate release
29 January 2018
We would like to share our hearts with the whole nation regarding our journey in Timothy Omotoso Ministry.
Firstly we wish to send our heartfelt and sincere apologies to all the woman of South African for we appeared to be taking Timothy Omotoso’s side when he faced rape and sexual harassment charges and mostly we wish to apologize to all the victims (all the girls that were raped) we know them all and we took them as our blood sisters, but when they came out we were made to turn our backs against them and support Tim Omotoso. We were even asked to go do newspaper interviews to protect Omotoso.
We wish to also apologize to all the people that love and support us and our talent.
We have been in this Ministry for four years and we have lived in his house in Umhlanga for about a year, it was the worst experience ever… we were actually pushed to please the man, we were told that God will punish us if we ever say anything against Omotoso. We lived a life full of threats and Fear.
The elders of the church played a part in making us run away/escape from our homes to stay in Omotoso’s house, serve in his ministry as kids we were made to believe that Omotoso is the closest person to God and we can never have a relationship with God but only through Omotoso.
We have hurt our parents by allowing a Nigerian man to rule and rein over our lives, however many things happened in spirit than on the flesh. We have been blinded and our spirits were controlled or locked up somewhere by this Man and his Spirits because we could see all the wrongs but never bold to speak out, we wanted to scream but had no voices. Omotoso caused divisions in many families and ruined many peoples lives, his church have the highest unemployment rate and young people who are not studying.
We were not allowed to go to any other church, we were not allowed to listen to any other Pastor and we were not allowed to sing anywhere else besides in his church, we were not allowed to study, but his kids were studying, we were not allowed to see/visit our families.
The rape allegations were not new to us when Omotoso was arrested, it is something that we knew long before he got arrested. The girls would talk immediately after it happened in the house and when one was called to the upper room we knew what was going to happen to them, we were made to keep quiet and never say anything. We escaped and ran away at some point because we knew what was happening. Even when we had left the church we were still not free to talk, we were afraid that something bad will happen to us or our families.
We are happy to announce that we are finally free. We want to thank God Almighty for saving us and delivering us from Omotosos hand. It is not for us to judge.
We are happy to have our lives back and without a shadow of a ​doubt, we are ready to excel in life and spread the word and power of God through our music.
For queries contact:
Mando Makhubela 0711799762


The Mxakaza twins are originally from Ridgeview in Durban, they were invited by the pastor to join his church in 2013. After moving into the house, their mother tried on a number of occasions to get the girls out of his house, Mme Mxakaza was quoted as saying: ”From the beginning, I did not like the idea of them living at the pastor’s house, I fought with him several times, at one stage, he [the pastor] called me a wicked woman because I demanded that my daughters should come back home.” Mxakaza said the pastor had been telling her that the girls were “safer and okay” with him than at home.

The case will resume in Port Elizabeth next week. The twins will be called to testify.